I Put Religion On The Back Burner And I Don't Regret It

I Put Religion On The Back Burner And I Don't Regret It

Such a big change became one of my best decisions.

I grew up very religious. I lived in a Modern Orthodox home in a primarily Jewish neighborhood and attended an all-girls Jewish day school. Religion was present in almost every aspect of my environment.

I had always been skeptical about religion and the idea of a God. From an early age, I found myself often questioning certain practices and seeing flaws in them, things that just didn't make sense. For a long time, I wished I could abandon certain practices simply to make my life easier. I had to dress modestly and only eat kosher, for example.

But it wasn't just the skepticism of a teenage girl learning to think critically. Religion became suffocating to me. I lived in a household with parents who were very observant and expected their kids to do the same. My school was strictly religious and expected their students to observe on a specific, higher level. It felt like religion controlled every aspect of my life: what I wore, what I ate, how I behaved, the numerous things I could and couldn't do. And as a kid, I had no way out.

I remember the exact moment I stopped believing. I was in ninth grade, and my great-aunt was battling cancer. I put aside my doubts and prayed harder than I ever had, saying special prayers in her merit daily. I even gave her Hebrew name to my school's morning prayer group so more people were praying for her recovery. My great-aunt was a fond part of my childhood and I had only good memories of her.

But she lost the fight. I remember crying in my room: for her loss, and for the broken faith that lay before me.

To me, it felt like God had heard all those prayers and threw them out the window. I didn't believe when people said, "If God didn't use your prayers this time, then He's saving them for another time you'll need them." It sounded like a load of crap.

If this were true, why didn't He use them when He saw me struggling to make and keep friends? Why not when the anxiety and depression took over? Where was He at my lowest times?

I switched schools my junior year of high school. This new school was significantly less strict about religion and had students from all levels of observance. Religion slowly began to loosen its hold on my life as I began to wear jeans and short sleeves, hang out with the other gender, and become more learned about the pop culture and the secular world.

I chose to live on-campus for freshman year of college. I could have commuted, but I needed out of the religious environment and to escape religion's suffocating hold.

In my first two years, I only observed at home. But elsewhere, it was like Judaism didn't exist in my life. I dressed how I wanted, ate what I wanted. I didn't celebrate the holidays and broke almost every rule I had grown up with my whole life.

It was the most freeing experience.

I finally had a chance to step back from the only life I had ever known and think. Think about what I wanted for myself, who I wanted to be as an individual away from the religion. But most importantly, I gained a chance to discover what my religion meant to me.

After growing up in a 24/7 religious environment, it was impossible for me to completely cut religion from my life. At first, I thought that's what I wanted to do. But as time passed, I realized that I do love Judaism. The meals on Shabbat and holidays with family and friends, the traditions like lighting a menorah on Hanukkah and the insanity of Passover.

I don't regret my decision. Those two years helped me evaluate what relationship I wanted to have with religion. The experience and my decision helped me develop my individuality away from something that had dominated most of my life.

There certainly were some awkward moments between my parents and me when it came to explaining my decisions to no longer uphold certain beliefs. But in the end, my parents understood. They saw how much better off I was without the weight of religion keeping me down, and have continued to support and love me.

And now, I'm the happiest I've ever been.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!

I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!

1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"

A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.

Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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My Relationship With Religion Will Never Be Black And White

and that's okay!


I was raised Christian let's get that out the way. Growing up in a small town I went to Awana (a children's church group Wednesday nights) and then once I was in middle school started youth group that night instead as well as a normal church on Sundays. If you would ask me from me being really young to probably around 15 I was all about church and building a relationship with God.

After leaving public school and growing my presence online and meeting so many people from all walks of life, I started questioning things.

Suddenly, I was immersed in this community with the best people who just loved everyone regardless of gender or sexuality or race and it was the place I was able to come to terms with something I had always repressed, my feelings towards girls.

I knew the moment I started talking to a girl named Laura that I had feelings for her I would normally have for a boy and because of the people I now had around me I just didn't suppress it. I identified online and eventually to family and friends as bisexual.

My questions started with wondering how my god this loving all knowing entity I had always known was un-accepting and promoted the exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community from the Christian faith. I knew that this community was full of the most loving and creative and beautiful people I have ever met and that was the start of me knowing my relationship with God would never be the same.

As I grew up and have become an activist for the things that mean a lot to me I have stopped attending church and have begun to see that I do not want any part in ANY religion that takes part in shunning anyone based on how they identify. I have been vocal about this to many people some more excepting then others but regardless I will never again take part in something that I myself am not 100% accepted within

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