It happened without my understanding. I was in before I even knew I was in, or that there was any other way to live. From the time I was a very little girl, my parents took me to church on Sundays. I went to youth group, church retreats, even got volunteered for years on end by my father to teach Sunday school. From the age of 5 to the age of about 20, I was so in to being a Christian. I was involved in all the right things, showed up to the events, and built a big circle of friends and family surrounding my religion. It defined who I was.
When I got to college, everything changed. I met really smart, interesting people who became some of my closest friends – people who were not Christian, and not only that, they hated Christians. I started wondering if I really knew what I believed in. I had never even read the Bible on my own and yet I was basing my entire life on it.
The mental conflict grew more when I continued to travel internationally, and got into my higher-level classes about history and the spread of global religions. It was like getting hit by a freight train; I remember sitting in my Medieval History class my sophomore year, realizing I didn’t believe in what I had considered the truth for so many years growing up.
When I stopped going to church, I felt an instant worry from the people I used to see weekly on Sundays. I would constantly get questions investigating my lifestyle, people asking me things like, ‘How are you and God?’ People would ask to come to my house to visit my terminally ill mother to make sure she was saved, and to reel me in along with it.
The more I distanced myself from the church, the more awkward things became. For people who knew why, I would repeatedly get comments like ‘Don’t worry, we don’t judge you because you aren’t a Christian anymore.’ Or they would come to me in tears, worrying about the future of my soul.
Throughout this transition, I have come into other practices and beliefs that I deeply find truth and divinity in. Yet, I can’t put into words how hard it has been to try and express myself and who I am now, because I constantly hear judgmental voices in the back of my head and all of their negative thoughts to my ‘lost way.’ I don’t fear hell, I don’t even believe in the classical interpretation of it, and I really shouldn’t care what any one thinks, but it has been a huge challenge for me to move past the worries of others thoughts on where I stand with my spiritual beliefs.
In time, I know that I will come to a place where I am comfortable to express my beliefs and myself. I know that I am not my apostasy.