Losing My Faith Made Me A Better Christian

Losing My Faith Made Me A Better Christian

Finding my way back to God was hard, but worth it.

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I was raised in a household on Southern Baptists who went to church every Sunday. I participated in vacation bible school every summer and went to Sunday school each week. Despite this, I was never baptized or even asked if I wanted to be baptized. I never thought it was a big deal until middle school. I went to a Catholic High School, not because anyone in my family was Catholic, but because it was the best school in town. In my religion classes, we were basically taught that people who aren't baptized won't get to Heaven as easily. I couldn't understand this. I was a good person who made good decisions, so why couldn't I go to Heaven when I died? This was where I started questioning my faith in God.

After I transferred school and moved to a different town, I tried out new churches with my boyfriend. He was also raised in a Southern Baptist family, so we automatically went to the local Baptist church. I went with him every Sunday, not for myself, but for him. I didn't want him to know I was questioning everything, or that I didn't feel like I fit in at any church. Eventually, I broke down and told him how I felt. He respected my feelings and continued going to church without me. I stopped trying to force myself into churches and focused on learning more about different religions. I struggled to find one that I identified with. At that point, I didn't even know if I believed there was a god or higher power. I also started struggling with depression and anxiety around this time. I felt like my life was falling apart.

Fast forward to my first year in college, when my boyfriend and I had our first big falling out. I hadn't made any friends yet, and I felt like I didn't have anyone to turn to. One night, after we got into a huge fight, I sat on my bed and prayed for the first time in years. It wasn't a prayer like I was used to. There was no structure, no "Dear Heavenly Father" or memorized words. I prayed unlike I had ever prayed before, like I was talking to a friend. I told God about my struggles and begged for a solution, then told Him about my lack of faith and asked for a sign.

I don't know exactly what I expected to happen. Maybe I wanted to hear God tell me everything would be okay. Maybe I wanted an immediate sign from Him. I was frustrated that I didn't get these things. The next time I felt alone, I prayed again in the same way I had before, but this time I didn't ask for a quick fix or a sign. I asked for guidance and patience. This is when I truly found out how amazing God is. Suddenly, I felt at peace. I had a feeling inside of me that everything would work itself out. I reevaluating the way I viewed God and prayer. I learned that He isn't going to magically make all of your troubles go away, but He will guide you through it. After I changed my point of view on everything, I was exposed to a breathtaking relationship with God.

No, I still don't go to church every Sunday. No, I don't follow every rule in the Bible. Despite this, I feel closer to God and closer to my faith knowing that I found my way to Him on my own. He showed me love and forgiveness after I came back, begging for help. I'm still on my journey to becoming a better Christian, a better friend, and a better daughter, but I know that He is there for me, no matter what.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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My Dad Is A Priest, But Surprise, I'm An Atheist

After 19 years of being raised as a believer, the only thing I am sure about is that there is no God at all.

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I feel like every high school has that guy who is always super active, always makes stupid jokes, and is always ready to party. My friend was like that. He was always down for any stupid or fun thing. And I remember one time hanging out we had a discussion about parents when suddenly he goes: "Oh, my dad is actually a priest."

What?

He told us that although he was raised in a religious family, he didn't believe in God at all. He said his parents have dedicated all their lives to the Orthodox Church, and tried to educate him the same way and make him a faithful believer. But after these 19 years, the only thing that he is sure about now is that there is no God.

"Every little thing that was happening in this world was a God's plan in my parents' eyes. Every day would start with a prayer where we thank God for life, food, and anything good that's going to happen to us. Growing up in the atmosphere of endless fasts, commandments, and attending church services, little me didn't have time even to doubt this kind of life's arrangements.

"I was always supervised by my parents at those times. My mom used to be a principal of a Sunday school, which I, of course, attended. The Sunday school's mission is to teach children how to be faithful. It works just like the normal schools do, but the subjects do vary. We were taught the Church Slavic language, the Laws of God, the Old and the New Testament, the orchestra. We even had a gospel class, where we were taught to sing in a choir at the church. Basically, we were taught everything that young churchmen need to know.

"I was playing with all the kids after and between classes like in normal schools, but most of the non-religious themes were prohibited. We all were scared that if we talk about something else we will be punished by the 'powers from the above'. I did really believe in that.

"Teachers were pretty good in persuading us that God is everywhere. The whole class would repeat in unison that God sees everything, knows everything – he is charitable and sinless.

"As a result, we were scared even to think about breaking any rules. We were obligated to pray before every meal, we couldn't miss any of the church services, couldn't condemn our parents or teachers, be aggressive any time, even to protect ourselves, because 'The Lord Jesus says if you're struck on your right cheek, you offer your left' (Holy Bible).

"It was perfect for handling kids. We were scared of punishment even when we knew no one could see us. We remembered – God knows everything.

"As time went by and we became the grown-ups, we started to notice our parents' or other adults' flaws. None of them were following all of the commandments as we did; they didn't have that fear of the 'Supreme.' Even my parents that were iconic to me allowed themselves to have their hands in their pockets while being at church or leave the services to talk on the phone. They could eat all they wanted, skip fasts, or even smoke. Watching them, I lost my aspiration in following all the rules perfectly. It seemed unfair that they could be freer but I couldn't. So I started giving myself indulgences…

"For example, one of the real orthodox believer's obligations was the oblation in front of Him every Sunday morning. Every single person had to come to the church early with an empty stomach and tell all of his/her sins in order to be forgiven. And it made me sick how many 'faithful' adults used it as the excuse for not following God's rules. Not to mention how many times the money donated to the church was stolen. They would sin and then just ask for forgiveness and become sinless again.

"When I started realizing all those things, my life started changing."

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