The Beginning of A Search

I’m starting to feel the need for God in my life.

As a bit of background: I was raised Catholic. By-the-book, never-miss-Mass-on-Sunday Catholic. Rain or shine, you’d find my family walking into our local church at approximately 8:06am every Sunday morning without fail. I could (and still can) say all the prayers in my sleep. I know the names and miracles of some of the patron saints and can explain to you the significance of most Catholic holy days. I was an alter server for five years or so, and I still could do it, if need be. Other than college, I’ve been in private Catholic school all my life (well, except preschool… which was Presbyterian).

All during elementary and middle school, my faith never wavered, but during high school I started really questioning my beliefs. Since then everything about religion in my mind has been rattled. I know I believe in God, but after that, I don’t have any idea of what I believe. Jesus as Son of God? That’s what I’ve been told all my life, but I can’t say I actually believe that for myself.

Since coming to college I go to church on and off. I’ll go to Catholic Mass with my family, but I can’t say that I relate to the priests very much. The sermons and rituals don’t do much for me. While at school I sometimes go with my boyfriend to a local nondenominational church, but recently we’ve gotten busy and don’t always get up to go (a common excuse, I know). I can tell you I connect with the messages there a lot more than I do with those at Catholic Mass, but it still isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.

Between losing most of my faith in high school and now, there have only been a handful of times that I’ve really enjoyed and actually looked forward to going to church. The services I’ve liked the most are the ones that my boyfriend’s family goes to, the ones he was raised on. Both times I’ve gone up to visit them I’ve gotten to go to church with them, and it was unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. It was so real. I felt like their messages were pertinent and relatable. The people there were so open and nice. And they had amazing music, which is something that all the Catholic Masses I’ve been to have been lacking. I find that I feel closest to God through music, so this is a definite plus. I’m so incredibly excited when I get to go to church with them, which has never happened to me before.

I want to find something like that here. I want an opportunity to really find a God that I can love and know, and get to know Jesus as well. I want to truly believe in something and have a concrete idea of what that “something” is.

I’ve never been someone that’s open about my religion. The way I was raised was that religion was something that was assumed of a person but never actually talked about. When it comes to finding out more and learning about worship, I ask more questions than a five-year-old. I always want to know why, why, why. I’m so shaky in my beliefs now that I just need to open up my mind and heart and give religion a chance. I’ve never had “church friends” – again, we’d go, we’d sit for an hour, we’d leave and continue with our day. To me, church always felt like a chore, something that had to be crossed off the weekly to-do list, not a choice. I want religion and church to be a choice. I want to truly choose to go to a service each Sunday, not feel like I have to. And I want to have friends who have similar beliefs to me, so that I can turn to them when and truly reassure me when I have doubts. I need a support system; I can’t do this alone.

So how do I find something like this?

I’m thinking about listening to the sermons that my boyfriend’s church back home puts online. I want to see if it’s something I really like and to try to learn something from it.

I also want to experience God through music. I’m definitely not a “Christian music”-type of person – I really don’t like sappy songs about how wonderful God is. Instead, I like seeing God in music – something upbeat and really eye-opening. I’m going to see if I can find something like this too, to somehow help me in my search.

I’m not sure how to go about trying to find a church, especially when I’m back home. I think I’ll work on that…

I’m hoping to write to discover what I do think and feel. Writing always helps me, so hopefully it will here too.

Lastly, I want to pray. Sometimes I feel weird when I pray – a lot of the fears I have about religion are about what others will think of me, but I have a feeling that praying will help. I’ve often felt judged by my religion, and I think that played a big part in me losing it in high school. I want to get over this fear, because my religion and my God is something that’s just between He and I.

So to whoever is reading this: please pray for me along my journey and let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m always open to new ideas and could definitely use help and advice.

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4 responses to “The Beginning of A Search

  1. Reading this made me inexplicably happy =) Like I just got a dose of joy from your thoughts! We should grab some time together today or tomorrow. I can give you music you will like (I think =) and I can help you figure out church finding. I love you a ton!

  2. Dear Dreamsofwakingup:

    It sounds like you are asking good questions, and that you are on the right track to find the church community that suits you best.

    One group that you might want to consider is Unitarian Universalists. UU congregations are, at their hearts, collections of seekers who come together to love and support one another and do good in the world, even as we struggle with the same kinds of questions you are asking now. Many of us have stories similar to yours, so if you visit a congregation near you, you will likely find yourself among friends.

    As for wanting to pray, I would say that what you have written here is as heartfelt a prayer as I’ve ever read. Prayer is calling out for God, and hoping for an answer. That seems to be exactly what you are doing.

    There are many, many strong, loving religious communities out there, UU and otherwise, so I am sure you will find one that suits you. Hopefully, that will be the real start, and not the end of your spiritual journey.

    • Thank you so much for your support and suggestions! I’m excited to begin this search, and while it is very personal, I know I’m not alone in it. I’ve bookmarked your blog too – I find hope in your posts. It’s really comforting and awesome to see how God can work in everyday life. 🙂

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