This is a topic that I have always wanted to write about while conversely, I cautioned myself about the delivery as to not alienate my readership.
I have never wanted to come across as holier than thou.
I respect everyone’s view points surrounding the lives we live, and I’m always open to hear everyone out regarding their belief system.
I promise you, I don’t have all the answers myself.
All I have, are my experiences which led me to where I am today.
Like many African-American’s from the south, I grew up a Christian, attending Baptist church most Sundays.
Grandma had my cousins and I attending church with no AC in those scorching summers; all you had were those fans that ushers passed around with the funeral advertisements on them.
Grandma would sit quietly, twiddling her thumbs, sucking on peppermints and those fruit candies that came wrapped in strawberry paper with the filling in the middle.
I LOVE THESE FREAKING THINGS
Later on, when I lived with my dad and stepmom (who was all about the Lord), I would be in church what felt like 3-4 times a week.
Bible study on Wednesdays, Sunday School before church, Usher Meetings after church.
Revivals. Homecomings. Bake Sales. Plays. Speech Competitions (came in 8th place out of 8 once).
You name it, I’ve attended.
Participating in church was . . .ritualistic for the most part.
I understood the general principle behind Christianity, but I hadn’t really taken it in. From a child’s perspective, it felt like an extra subject to study, than an embodiment of religion.
My time in undergrad muddied the waters a bit more.
I was a sociology minor in college, and I had learned there were a sect of philosophers that believed Christianity was merely an institution created to make society behave.
But it wasn’t until I graduated and got out on my own did I really begin to internalize all that God stood for.
Experiencing some very dark moments in my life.
I remember when I first got divorced. I was in my bare apartment, with just an air mattress, and a trunk full of clothes.
I looked in the mirror and for the first time I really reflected upon what I had just done.
Conducted myself in a way no man should.
Made a mockery of a bond for which I trumpeted vows before God.
Not only that, I had no clue how I was going to make it on my own.
I was making decent money, but I now had rent, and child support on top of student loans, car repairs, etc.
I was lost.
Moments where I was dwelling in the deepest, darkest parts of despair, and my only option, was to get down on my knees and pray.
Not the type of prayer you recited as a child before bed, or before a football game.
REAL prayer, with tears coming down my eyes, confessing to things I wouldn’t dare utter in public.
See. I was like a lot of people. I thought the type of Christian you had to be, was like my great-uncle Earl, where ALL you talk about is Jesus.
Or the ones you see on the street corner, preaching, where you roll your eyes and say, “oh boy, here this guy comes.”
That is the view many have of the followers of Christ: That you have to be peerless.
Then, when a preacher gets caught up in some scandal, its “oh look at this guy, I thought he was perfect.”
I follow Christ’s teachings, because I am imperfect.
I follow because, I know what my life was like when I didn’t.
I still struggle to figure out the type of Christian I want to be.
My reasons for being successful were secular in the beginning, but now I believe I want to attain and leave a legacy that speaks to Whom my help comes from.
To create a platform that helps others, that doesn’t look down on anyone.
An environment that engenders a resonance, an ambiance of drive, and ambition, and clarity.
I believe I have written on a similar topic once before but just to reiterate. I believe every man and woman becomes a higher version of themselves when they adhere to a code.
It doesn’t have to be the same as mine, but one that is respectable nonetheless.
My journey has been a long one. But a much-needed road of self-discovery spiritually.
I don’t expect everyone to attain that level of awareness.
That’s not even a diss to anyone. There are people who have attended church their entire lives and never REALLY let God in.
I tell people my favorite book is “The Confessions of St. Augustine”, which is a memoir from a philosopher that talks about his journey to God.
The best thing about the book is the conviction and passion for which he conveys his personal relationship with his creator.
Which brings me to my final point.
Its your personal relationship with your beliefs that matter most.
Spend time with that spiritual side of you.
It will unlock an identity you may not even know you had.
Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign -E.