Putting an end to spiritual warfare

I definitely do not have enough time to tell the whole story.  But I’m so excited about it that I need to get some of it out there before I begin my day.

Last Wednesday at church, which is called the Going Deeper service, the pastor talked about spiritual warfare: How to detect it and a bit about how to put an end to it, which will be continued next week.  I have never in my life tried to see how spiritual warfare is going on in my life- I never knew how I could detect it.  But hearing that sermon opened my eyes.

He listed the ways that possibly indicate is there is spiritual warfare going on in a situation.  I couldn’t write them down fast enough, but the ones I did manage to get on paper were:

1) The attack arrives before growth in the situation can really take place

2) Practical solutions fail to address simple challenges

3) Inability to nail down root causes

4) Energy intensifies around non-missional things

5) Neglect of spiritual disciplines and spiritual leadership have created footholds – we get lax spiritually

6) Situation brings out the worst in everyone

7) Unholy positioning

8) Situation does not lead to personal repentance

9) Common mission gets lost in personal agenda

Through analyzing this list today at lunch, I realized that my situation with Jacob, the mean ex, is exactly like this.

And that’s as far as I can get right now, so I’ll continue after work.

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Why I go to church

Today’s Sunday sermon was a good example of why I like going to church despite not believing in Jesus.  My reasons for attending are worth explaining.  It’s not something I got into when I was working through the timelines, since I just wanted to get the most important things out there in order to catch up to present day.

My whole life I have been hungry for simple truth and reason for the way the world works, and WHY it’s happening.  Almost my whole life, I believed either that there’s no way to know, or that I’d already figured it out.  But I really don’t know why we’re here, and now that I’ve been listening to testimonies on why people believe in Jesus, I officially want to know for SURE what the truth is, so I can stop giving the wishy-washy response, “I don’t know what the truth is.”

Wisdom is important to me.  I have gathered a lot of it in my life and tried to apply it to my life.  I live for it.  Clear-cut reason and wisdom can get you very far in life, and get you through tough times.  Before I declared any belief in God, that was what I relied on.

When I first started going to church with Eileen in early 2015, I listened to the sermons for grains of truth, even though I didn’t believe every word said.  There was much to be gained regardless of my differences in faith.  And as for the things I didn’t believe, I was still able to apply nearly 100% of those sentiments in a symbolic way.  (Mostly mentions of Jesus, since I just see him as Love if he’s not a true physical figure.)

For some people, denial of God and Jesus is what they think is an obvious reason not to go to church.  But it’s so much more than talking about the bible!  You meet other people who want to do positive things in the world, and are truly working on themselves.  You know how hard it is to find people who do more than just TALK about improving themselves?  These people gather every week and focus on a higher power and fresh wisdom to sculpt their futures.  Those are the kinds of people I wanna be around.

Part of the reason I became serious about church was because I realized I need to be surrounded with more people that have similar goals as mine, and I have met many people at church indeed who are on a similar path.  Strength in numbers.  When you are constantly surrounded by people who are not moving forward, or are even bringing you down with them, you are not so encouraged on your own path.

The other church-goers and I may have a major difference between us- they declare Jesus as their lord and savior, and I am deeply inspired by the messages and communion, but can’t honestly say that I even believe Jesus existed.  Since I have been searching for the truth for months now, I find hard scientific evidence on the web for his physical existence, but it’s hard to just up and change what you believe in.  So I’m only beginning to accept that he actually existed.  The next step, if I get there, is to determine if he is God, and if the stories of his miracles are real.

It makes sense that I ended up at a Christian facility, because I simply happen to believe a lot of the things that I learn from that walk of faith.  Gladness, mercy, strength, humility, humble living… all these things, I already believed in, and I’m glad to have found a place that not only fosters what I truly believe in deep down, but also presents ideas that I hadn’t thought of, including things that were hard for me to have to face, but really needed to.  This place really makes me think.

The reason I said at the beginning that today’s sermon was a good example of why I attend church is because the pastor preached about exactly what I’m doing right now: He said to tell your story to people.  One great way to connect with others to your path is to know your own story and be able to tell it clearly when the right moment comes.  I found that very interesting since I am really getting this blog together now.

It does feel as if every sermon I attend is perfect timing for whatever I am going through at the time.  That fact alone encourages me to continue going as often as I do.  It’s like the messages and I are in sync.  I get wisdom from it and can apply my current circumstances to what’s being discussed.  Today was no exception.

I don’t know when I’m going to die, so I don’t know if I will ever believe in Jesus the way my new friends do, or if I’ll know the truth before I die.  But the fact that good-hearted people with goals are entering my life, and the sermons are impacting my life in such a positive way, keeps me wanting to go.

When explaining how to tell your story to people today, the pastor described the three parts of knowing your story: Who you were, what happened next, and who you are now.  This blog definitely outlines that already.  A good sign that I am on the right track to learning the truth and being able to tell my story.

Fateful encounter with my ex-best friend

Yesterday I experienced one of those things that seem too perfectly orchestrated for some sort of intelligent design not to exist.

Fate is something I have not fully defined.  I feel like it’s a combination of free will and planned occurrence.  Whatever it is, I feel that when perfect design is in your face, and you feel like something was set up on purpose, that is evidence of whatever fate is.

So here’s yesterday’s fateful story:

Some time over the week, I bought a memory foam mattress topper from the mall, which is 15 minutes away from home.  I needed one immediately, so when the cashier said they will be 50% off starting on Friday, I still bought it.  She said I could bring my receipt in later to receive the discount still.  Awesome.

I couldn’t make it there until yesterday, Saturday, because on Friday, I had an outing planned with my friend Matt.  When I was with him, one of the things I told him about was the girl who used to be my best friend.  I told him vaguely how I ended up having to let go of her for good.  The way I told the story almost made it sound like we had been lovers, as “our song” came on in the car and that’s how the topic came up.  I clarified that we were just really close and so there was a song we considered to be ours.  The final line in that song is, “…and know that I don’t hate you, and know that I don’t wanna fight you, and know I’ll always love you, but right now, I just don’t.”

The next day, I was ready to head to the mall.  I took the receipt out of my bread box (I don’t use it for bread) and walked downstairs.  I sifted through the mail real quick to see if my paycheck had arrived.  It hadn’t.  I went to the car and drove to the mall.  I didn’t realize that I’d left my receipt on the kitchen table when I’d detoured to check the mail.  So I’m at the mall, having driven those 15 minutes, was standing in line, and decided to have my receipt out and ready since my turn was about to arrive.  The receipt wasn’t there.  I was like, what the hell, I know I took it out of the bread box.  I wouldn’t have done anything with it besides put it in my pocket or purse.  But it wasn’t there.  I searched the car.  Not there.  I remembered sifting through the mail and was like, it’s probably there on the table, though I don’t remember setting it down.

I started the 15-minute drive home.  This kind of thing can be irritating you know.  Wasted half-hour round trip.  But I’m trying to see things from a higher perspective.  So I told myself, It’s all for the ultimate betterment, even the bad things.  I willed myself to enjoy the drive home.  I liked singing along to music and not getting pissed off that I was “wasting time” and resources.  Sure enough, the receipt was on the table.  I drove back and enjoyed that drive too, just sinking into my music and trusting God/life.  Got back to the mall, redeemed my discount.  When I’d first been at the mall, I’d considered going shopping, but this time, I was over that idea.  I decided to get my hair trimmed at the salon that’s in the mall, even though my usual stylist was booked.  I’d waited too long for it and decided to just let someone else do it this time.

The new stylist trimmed my hair very nicely, and I officially now trusted another person to trim my hair.  I left happy and walked through a department store to get back to my part of the parking lot.

Not far from the exit was the men’s clothing section.  Browsing certain items there was none other than the ex-best friend I’d just told Matt about the night before.

Something to understand about this girl: I’d had to drop her many times in my life for the way she either treated or ignored me, and she’d always come back with sweetness and promises to be a better friend.  But ultimately she’d prove herself to not really be there for me, and I’d let her go again.  I haven’t seen her in… man, I don’t even know anymore, but it’s been many, many months.  No regrets in that decision.

So when I saw her there, her face turned to my direction, and she saw me.  I usually smile at strangers that look at me.  But I simply maintained a pleasant face and kept walking.

The last communication we’d had, through a Facebook message, she told me that I seemed like I was on drugs the last few times she’d seen me.  She’d sent this message after I’d blocked her from my phone.  (It wasn’t immediate; it took a few weeks or something for her to reach out on the Internet.)  I barely had a response for her because it wasn’t worth it since I wasn’t going to try to be friends again.  But in my head I was like, Yeah it really seems like you care, since you waited ’til now to say something with a hateful approach, and not with love when you actually thought it was happening.  I hadn’t been doing drugs, and was simply exhausted from the manual labor job I’d had at the time, and love-drunk over my new boyfriend Jacob.  That’s the only way I can explain why she thought something was wrong.  It was a difficult time that she didn’t bother to address until she just wanted to make me feel bad through an impersonal Facebook message.  So it was nice to walk by her with my freshly-trimmed hair, clean clothes, and the aura of someone who definitely is taking care of themselves.

Someone else I had to let go, much more recently, is that guy Jacob that I’d been love-drunk over.  It was the same deal as her, where he’d treat me like shit and then come back with such sweetness to lure me back in.

When I walked by the girl, I didn’t look back or change my step.  I simply thought to myself, I need to be able to walk by like this when I see Jacob.

If it weren’t for accidentally leaving my receipt at home and choosing to get my hair done instead of shop around, who knows if I would have seen her and learned that I can just walk on by?  I’d just talked about her the night before!!  Perfect timing, as she usually shops at Goodwill and Kohl’s, so it was pretty out of place to see her not only at the mall, but in the department store that I always walk through to get to my car when I’m at the mall, right along the route I take to the exit and not in some other area of the store.  I remembered my sentiment, that every little thing that happens has purpose, even the bad things, and was glad the moment had been orchestrated, because it really was time to face her and realize that I CAN just walk on by and not look back.

And now I need to be able to do that when I see Jacob.

So you can see this blog won’t just be about finding God.  It will also be about my personal and spiritual development, because it all ties together, and I am learning the role God has in our lives.  I am thankful for having the wisdom to remain patient and for the fateful encounter with that girl.  The question now is if I can apply the same principle the next time I see that mean guy that makes my knees fucking weak for him.

Using lucid dreams to reach God and/or Jesus

I am 27 years old.  Since attending church over the past year, I have really wanted to know the truth about if Jesus is real.  I genuinely believe that God is a natural, spiritual force, within and around us all.  But people at church are constantly talking about Jesus, and I’m tired of telling myself and others, “The idea of Jesus is wonderful, but there’s no way to prove he really existed since it supposedly happened thousands of years ago and his miracles don’t happen anymore.”  I’m tired of not having an answer.  I figured out a good way to find the truth: Through lucid dreaming.

Being a self-proclaimed spiritual person consistently for years now, I have definitely had some interesting experiences that strengthen my faith in the supernatural.  From an amazing supernatural experience at my grandma’s burial, to ghostly encounters in haunted buildings, to coincidences that are too amazing to be just that, there’s been no doubt in my mind that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

As a kid and teen, I’d randomly have lucid experiences in my dreams, but in those early years of it, I’d wake up as soon as I realized I was dreaming.  I described it as, it’s like I’m not allowed to know I’m dreaming.  That’s how I explained why I’d wake up right away.

I don’t remember what got me interested in harnessing my lucid dreams, but the year was 2009.  I was just shy of turning 21.  I was on vacation with my family in Orange Beach, Florida.  I’d been telling myself for days that I wanted a lucid dream- I’d read that that is one way to become lucid.  Just remind yourself when awake that you want it to happen at night.  Easy enough, and no funky ritual with candles as seances required when I was little (which never worked, though I pretended they did).   We were only at the hotel for 2 days, and the second night yielded what I’d been waiting for.  I’d been having lucid dreams lately, but hadn’t been strong enough yet to actually use them consciously once the lucidity hit.  This night, I finally made conscious choices once it hit me.  I’m going to share it with you because it has a spiritual message, as all my lucid dreams are going to have.

In the dream, an old friend and I were running through the corridors of a house that was crumbling down all around us.  The feeling of needing to escape was intense.  Suddenly, it hit me that I was dreaming.  I remembered to let the fear drop, knowing it was only a dream.  And I didn’t wake up.  I followed my instincts.  My friend had been following behind as we ran.  So when lucidity hit, I turned around, walked up to her, and said, “Just hug me.”  We hugged.  The house continued to crumble.  I felt very accomplished and didn’t have much time to think about what to do next.  I looked over her shoulder, and there was a full-length mirror.  In the mirror, there was a figure in a black hooded cape, like the grim reaper, with a skull for a face.  The figure held out his hands, about to open them up to show me what was being held.  I felt fear for what he might show me.  In that moment, I thought, okay fuck this, I got this far, and I don’t want to know what he’s holding, I’m satisfied with at least having gotten this far.  Still hugging my friend, I dipped my face down into her shoulder so I wouldn’t have to see.  But in the split second before I couldn’t see the figure anymore, I saw what he’d wanted to show me.  I don’t know exactly how to describe it, and I don’t know exactly what it was.  But in his hands was a psychedelic, beautiful array of colors, crystals of bright, neon colors- something good, whatever it was.  And I’d been too scared to see it.  Dipping my face down had caused me to wake up, as I’d wanted to, regretting it in the split second that I saw the gift he had for me.  But I’m so thankful that for that split second, I saw that the gift for me was a pleasant one.

After a few more nights of lucid dreams that I no longer remember, I stopped trying to have them for a long time.  But that first dream has really stuck with me.

It was that type of experience that made me realize in present times that I can possibly use my lucid dreams to learn the truth of existence.  Lucid dreams are very raw.  They tell the truth about things, in my experience.  They reveal who you are and what your goals are.  If Jesus can be found anywhere, he can be found in your dreams.  And I’m going to find out if he exists, and if not, I’m going to learn all about what the force of God is, and the meaning of life, and share it with you.  This includes what I garner from when I’m awake and when I dream.  Both are equally important.

There are two more past lucid dreams that I need to share with you before we are caught up to where I’m at in my journey.  They are not the only spiritual ones I’ve had, but for now, you don’t need a play-by-play to understand where I’ve ended up.

After I had decided that I will use my lucid dreams to reach God, I planned that once lucidity hits me, I would call out to Jesus and see if he comes out.  So when the first lucid dream came, to my surprise, I actually remembered to call out to him.  I was on a beach and I looked up at a blue, clouded sky.  I yelled out, “Jesus!” several times.  The sun in the sky was breaking through the clouds slowly, but abruptly stopped and didn’t come out all the way.  I looked at the people around me and said to them, “I know he’s here, but I can’t find him.” I gave up and proceeded to use the lucid dream as I usually had: Have sex with anyone and everyone I can grab.  I stayed lucid for a really long time, it was wonderful in that itself, but when I woke up I remembered the crack in the sky and realized I had given up too soon and given in to my lust, which has done me wrong in life.  Despite the strong lucidity of that night, I didn’t have even a regular dream for at least a week, which makes sense since I wasted the gift on my weakness, thus creating a spiritual block.  But it was good that the gap in dreaming happened, because that has helped me to focus on not being as lustful.

Finally, after trying for a week, I began having dreams again.  After about one additional week, I had another lucid dream.  This time went better.  I had planned to reach out to Jesus or sit and meditate, but I didn’t get that far.  Once I realized I was lucid- and my dad had been sitting there in the dream- I knelt down to hug my dad, and said exactly this, knowing lucidity could slip any moment, “Dad, I just love you so much and I don’t want to lose anyone I love.  I want to know the meaning of life.  No one’s ever figured it out before.  I’m going to figure it out.”  In the middle of that last sentence, my alarm woke me up.  But I realized then that my mission had been stated.  I hadn’t even realized before that it had anything to do with not losing people, but it makes sense.  Part of the point of spirituality is wanting to stay connected to the souls we love.  My friend Derrien had died just days before that dream, and the loss was fresh in my mind.  So that is my mission: Not losing anyone permanently, and knowing why we’re here, and if Jesus has anything to do with it.  That dream was maybe a week or two ago.

Now we are caught up.  I was sick with stomach flu over last weekend and it took some time to recover.  I have been weak and not sleeping well, and did not have any lucid dreams since that one, until last night.

Once I realized I was lucid during last night’s dream, I did not think to verbally reach out to God.  Instead, I ran to a computer and typed my words to him.  I don’t remember anything specific, but I was typing a long-winded prayer, and I really don’t remember if it was for things I wanted for the world or myself or if I was simply praising him, but I remember the words coming up on the screen practically faster than I was actually typing them, and hearing the words being echoed to me.  I’m surprised that I don’t remember even a single sentence of it.  Only the essence.  I just remember the sense of getting everything out there that I wanted to tell God, and that it was all being said with absolute love and praise for him.  I said everything to God that I wanted to.  So many words, addressing his name often, and just getting everything out there.  So I did reach out to God, but not the way I’ve been imagining.  Now that I’m over the flu, my dreams will get better.  That was only the beginning.

So when I woke up and remembered the incessant typing of prayer, I was like, okay it’s officially time to get the blog updated, before I get too much further.  I feel like that dream was to remind me that I need to get this blog up to date so I will be on track in sharing my journey with others.

So there we are.  That’s where we’re at.  I’m going to church tomorrow morning, and I’ll let you know what I gain from that.  It will be wisdom, and who knows if anything else.  As lucid dreams happen, I’ll let you know.  As strange “coincidences” happen, I’ll let you know.

As I figure out the truth, I’ll let you know.  I’m committed more than I have ever been in my life to learn the truth of existence, whatever it is.

Catching up

Okay, before too much more happens I need to get caught up.  From there, I will be updating you regularly, so you can actually follow the journey.

So far you only know my roots.  That I was born into a secular approach to church, where it was treated as a social outlet rather than spiritual connection.  That I have spent most of my life disbelieving in God.  I’ve explained things up to age 11, when we stopped going to church and I let go of God and Jesus, having hardly touched the subjects in the first place.

Let’s continue.

It was easily one of the most difficult times of my life.  I had issues that would be easy for me to deal with now, but as a pre-teen, it was devastating.  Socially outcasted and never pretty enough.  And I’d never been taught what it actually means to trust in God and allowing myself to fill with the Holy Spirit.  Why believe in God when he allows me, an innocent child, to suffer, and be so seemingly random with the people he does bless?  No purpose, no intent, no meaning.  Randomness.  Simple survival of the fittest, and I was low on the totem pole.

Though I had let go of God, and had never trusted him, I strangely prayed from time to time.  The prayer was always for myself, and only when I’d gotten to a point of desperation and no other choices.  Things like, “God, please don’t let this be horrible.”  “God, please make my parents let me go to Deidre’s house.”  I noticed that all my prayers were answered how I wanted them to be, despite my selfishness.  This should have been faith-building, but instead I continued to curse God when things didn’t go my way.  I didn’t want to have to pray for a good life.  I wanted it handed to me, without having to make a relationship with God.  Give me everything, but stay the fuck out.  Here’s an example of something I wrote at that age:

“I decided to give God another chance. I mean, it can’t hurt, right?  I saw a sign on the trip to Peoria that said, “Let me into your heart and I will give you rest,” and it was a caption of a drawing of Jesus.  And then on like every bridge we went under, somebody had scrawled, “Trust Jesus” with green spray paint.  I thought/prayed silently, Okay, God, what do you want?  How could you POSSIBLY help me now?  Where were you when I did all these bad things to myself?  Where were you when I thought of suicide?… and then I realized why I couldn’t settle myself… and I also realized that I never really stopped believing in God or Jesus… I always knew they were out there… I had just lost all faith and hope when things got hard.  I was convinced that they were too busy with other people to help me and I could only be angry because of that.  So then I prayed, Okay God, I’m letting you become a part of my life again… just promise you’ll help me.

Despite such a strong proclamation, I am known for getting serious about things and then dropping them.  So that feeling didn’t last beyond the day I wrote it.

By the time I was 12 and at a new school and feeling like a total loser- and being treated like one- I gave up on him altogether.  I decided to be an atheist.  No more praying.  No more thinking God can be real.  This is just a ball of Earth and we have free will.  Nothing to believe in but ourselves and our surroundings.  Time to swim in my ocean of tears.  I wrote really sad stuff back then.

Things got better as time went by.  After I had accepted my social status and stopped trying to rise up in it, some of the kids who had shunned me suddenly flocked to me.  My environment affected my personality and sense of self-worth, and thus my confidence grew.  I lived for the opinions of others.  I was not happy unless I was popular, and I finally had it.  Who needs God when the world is in your hands?

High school continued the new trend of growing confidence and feeling secure about myself.  At this point, I considered myself to be spiritual, but was in the thick of not necessarily believing in God, and I definitely didn’t believe in Jesus.  My best friend at age 16 was a Christian, but we didn’t ever talk about God.

By the time I was 19, I still didn’t believe in Jesus, and I referred to God as “life.”  Life is god, death is the devil.  Symbolic.  My spirituality had turned into symbols, and it greatly is now.  We’re almost caught up to present day.

My spirituality continued to grow.  I continued to make good and bad choices like everyone else.  Prayers were creeping their way into my mind though, and I’d decided that prayers do have power.  I’d accepted that they were answered when I was younger, and though I didn’t know for sure why, I knew they were worth using and that they were powerful somehow.  I didn’t use them often.  They still were only for moments of needing something myself.  But spirituality was definitely becoming a stronger point in my life.  When I prayed, I’d pray to “Life” rather than God.  I got into numerology and believed in astrological power.  I believed in whatever sounded good or right to me.  And I still think that’s the way to go.  Sometimes we are faced with difficult choices, knowing we don’t even want to make the right choice, but we still know what’s right, and we believe in it whether we choose to use it or not.  Ultimately, free will is very important to me; you must do what feels right in your heart.  I always strongly believed that if there is a God, the way Christians describe him, that he is forgiving of your untrue convictions, so long as you are genuinely trying to live in truth.

That’s how a lot of my pondering went.  I liked to think about what God really believes, based on what Christians say.  A lot of my thoughts started like, “If God is who they say he is…” and draw a conclusion.  The idea of having to follow strict rules didn’t make sense to me.  I believed that if God were what they say, then he wouldn’t want us to struggle to follow him.  His love is supposed to make things easier.  Being condemned for not praying every night before bed, or for taking the easy way out sometimes, did not sit well with me.  So, if God is who they say he is, then who is he?

The numerology and astrology lost their glimmer in my life after I’d accidentally read the wrong chart a few times and realized that all of its messages can apply to everyone.  I gained a ton of wonderful wisdom from those ventures, but by the time I was like 20, I didn’t care to look into any of it anymore.

For some reason, I found with just a little bit of time, maybe a year, that my praying to Life didn’t hold the same weight as when I prayed to God.  I do think there are a bunch of good approaches to praying, but my best guess is that my brain is just so wired to say “God” instead of life, that my prayers to Life weren’t as strong.  So I reluctantly switched back to God at some point.

My spirituality continued to grow as I hit mid-20’s.  My faith at this point was understanding that I’d always believed in the ways of Jesus, whether he existed or not. I had no proof of his existence.  I only knew that there was nothing he’d supposedly said that I didn’t agree with.  Everything he supposedly said and did were righteous in my eyes.  And the things like, “The only way to the Father is through me,” I read symbolically.  Lots of symbols in my faith.  For this example, I interpreted that line as something like, the only way to be enveloped in true love is offer your own love.  Jesus’s example was perfect as to how we should live our lives, and we can apply it to our individual personalities and circumstances in all kinds of ways.  If the story of Jesus is merely a story, I enthusiastically applaud whoever wrote it, because the world definitely needs more people who think that way.  Love is life!

We’re so close to being caught up now!  My entries might be shorter once we’re done with this, since you’ll get updates as they come.

Here’s the picture of where I was when I was first invited to a faith-related function.  I was either 25 or 26 and living at my boyfriend’s house.  I was laying on the bed alone, in the middle of the day, and I don’t remember what I was thinking about, but my life was unsettled.  I was not happy living there, as hard as I’d tried to be.  That guy wasn’t right for me and I felt simply unsettled.  I received a Facebook message from a girl named Sarah, who had been my friend years ago but things had gotten weird with, and at some point she had added me on Facebook.  Things were different for her now; she was married, had a daughter, and had given her life to Jesus.  I wasn’t sure why she’d added me, but she’d been on my friends list for a while now.  So I opened her message.  It was long.  She said she’d been following my posts lately and was really touched by them.  She thought I’d enjoy attending a bible study at her friend’s house.

Being so hungry for spiritual advancement at this point in my life, and being an open-minded mid-20’s girl who no longer rejected any walk of faith, so long as it contained grains of truth, I decided, what the hell, sure.  I’ll go.

The bible study was at her friend Eileen’s house.  I went over with the decision to be open about what I believed in, and thought I’d even convince these people that they didn’t need to believe in the bible as God’s word or anything like that.  It didn’t go over that way.  They listened to what I had to say, and had good responses, and while it didn’t change how I felt about Christianity, I for the first time understood how people could believe the way they do.  I saw what it did for them, and the logic behind their faith, and I stopped trying to convince them they were wrong.  I learned to simply learn from each other.  Eileen and I became very good friends.

Such good friends, in fact, that after months of her gentle prodding, I began to attend church with her.  I only went when she went, and often I didn’t go.  I did not prioritize it.  But after she’d had a slew of not being able to go, it had been almost a month since I’d been there, and it hit me that I really liked the messages of this church, and wanted to go whether she was there or not.  So I started going twice a week, regardless of having someone to go with.  It was a great spiritual journey, and still I left Jesus out of it.  I still do.

So now I can get into what I am doing to figure out whether God is real, and whether Jesus is real.

Early on, I decided God is a lie

Okay I’ve ended up with a little extra time tonight. So I’ll start from the beginning, whether I catch up to present day or not.  If you know where I’ve come from, you’ll be a better judge of why I’m here now.

I grew up going to church until I was 11.  It was a Presbyterian one. (USA.  Apparently, there are two different Presbyterian church types, and the Roman one [I think it’s Roman] does not allow women to have their own ministry, only men can.  USA type allows women’s ministries.)  I always assumed my parents believed in all of it, simply because we went there every Sunday, and my siblings and I had no choice in the matter.  We also attended the vacation bible school things over the summer, participated in the youth clubs that were for our respective age groups, and both my siblings, older than me, completed Confirmation.  But I was too young to be confirmed before we stopped going, and it was because of me that we stopped.

Before that fateful day that I permanently halted our church attendance, I believed in Jesus and God just because I was born into that faith.  I didn’t question it.  I looked forward to Christmas for the presents like any other typical American child, and Jesus was just a side-note.  I knew the story of Jesus, right down to the resurrection, but didn’t apply it to my life or ponder the miraculousness of it.  I’d been told the story my whole life and thus was not amazed.  And over time, I simply realized I didn’t even really believe in it.  It sounded fake.  Especially after learning Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy weren’t real.  God and Jesus naturally began to fall into the same category, since I had no hard evidence of their existence besides word of mouth, which I’d learned not to rely on anymore.

I skipped Sunday school for how long?… I can’t remember now, but it was for a long time, at least in my point of view at the young age of 11.  I’d hide in one of the corner stairwells (seldom-used, and therefore never encountered anyone in the staircase when I hid) with lemonade and donuts until Sunday School ended.  I’d watch through the window on the emergency exit door, knowing that when I saw people walking to their cars, it was safe to come out.  On the drive home, Mom would ask what we’d done in Sunday School.  At this age, my brother was old enough to have made the choice to stop going, so only my sister, two years older than me, would tell what they’d done in her class.  I would make up a story every time.  The only fake story I remember telling is that we’d made a Noah’s ark out of a roll of newspaper or some shit.  Which is a pretty cool idea.  But it wasn’t true.

So anyway, one day my Sunday school teacher caught me trying to skip, and told my mom.  Mom took me for a drive and asked why I’d been skipping.  I finally came clean and explained that I basically didn’t believe in the religion.  I had thought I’d be in trouble, but was pleasantly surprised when she totally understood.

We never went to church again.

It turns out my parents didn’t believe in it, either.

They’d met at that church as teenagers, in a day and age when anyone who’s anyone goes to church.  It was just something you did, and their parents attended that church.  My parents were married there, even.  It was a special place due to all the nostalgia it held for our family, but once I realized that even they had not believed in it, I took to believing that everything having to do with God is fake.  After all, I’d come to the conclusion all on my own, and had it confirmed when my skipping resulted in none of us attending again.

So I was church-less for about fifteen years.

I’ll continue later.

Welcome to the first post.

No time to get into detail right now, just wanted to get this started.  I’m looking for the truth in life.  I’ve been back and forth in life – Christian, atheist, agnostic, spiritual, nature-loving, skeptic, curious… always searching for truth, ultimately.  I’ve made interesting headway in recent years and decided I should lay it out in hopes to connect someone in a similar position with more details in their search for the truth about existence.  More later ❤