You believe in God. You're religious. You go to church. Isn't that enough?
Too often people confuse being religious with having a relationship with God. A relationship with God is so much more than just simply going to church and being a good person. It takes a real connection and understanding of who God really is to even begin to comprehend the complexity of our creator. Religion should be the stepping stone to getting to know our savior. The traditions and practices are a waste of time if you don't fully understand what they represent. Giving up temptations for lent is an amazing thing but only if you fully understand the reasoning in doing so and give that time back to God.
At church, you put on a mask to become the person you wish you were, to become the person you think you should be. Don't be late. Don't be different. Sweep all of your impurity under the rug. Fake it as best you can in order to be accepted by the people that will also have to someday answer to the Lord. At the gates of Heaven, God isn't going to be counting off how many times you skipped church or judge you for how much money you gave. God is nothing like the judgmental, "religious" people that criticized your every move in life. When you shift your focus from religion onto him, everything becomes more clear. It's no longer a burden. You no longer feel the shame and judgment. Praying becomes second nature. Rather than confessing to your priest, you speak directly with the Lord, and you feel his mercy like a weight taken off of your shoulders. It is through him and him alone that you will find peace.
Ultimately, God knows your heart. He isn't fooled by the mask you hide beneath. He sees the difference between the person you are in church and the person you are when no one is watching. Religion is nothing without God playing an active role in our daily lives. Don't get caught up in the cycle of religion only to forget what it's all about. Religion means nothing without a relationship and understanding of who God really is. The next time you find yourself mindless reciting bible verses in church, ask yourself, "Why am I doing this and is it really connecting me closer with God?" All he wants is a chance to know you and have a relationship with you, and in doing so, he will completely transform your life.