I’m a church girl. I grew up in it, sang in choirs, danced, and recently accepted another calling (more info on that later). And to this day, I still am an active member of a church.
Church has always been in me, but I have to be honest, it took a while for me to find God. I knew God existed; I would not have survived in my house if I didn’t say it was true. But as I grew up I struggled with finding my place as a believer and having a relationship with a supreme being that I was comfortable with. I started realizing that the religion I knew was not the relationship I needed.
I began a search. Actually, it began regardless of my feelings. I knew that I had to figure out my place in religion if I wanted to move forward in a few areas of life. So I let it happen, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself.
I was in college, struggling mentally, and newly diagnosed with depression. I needed something to center myself on, something to believe in. I found it.
I realized that God is what I need for myself, and how I need it. I made a conscious choice to believe in God and practice Christianity not just because that’s what I grew up with, but because I wanted to and I had begun to feel a connection that had not been so obvious to me before.
I am a member of a church that I love as well. I understand that everyone does not feel the need to be a member of an organization (because that’s really what church is) but, I do. For my spiritual growth it is important for me to be around other Christians and learn from a minister that I trust to give me the truth about the Bible.
It is sometimes still a struggle; as a black feminist I constantly have to reflect on my beliefs and how they intersect and/or clash. But, that is a part of the journey that I now realize does not end with Baptism. As I grow older I realize that my beliefs fit into all of my personality traits in their own ways, and without each part I would not be who I am. And, I love who I am, finally.
I have learned that religion and spirituality are not one and the same, but they can and do go together. They are necessities for me, and in their own ways have helped me to be more understanding of others and their beliefs. I have learned how to be more than tolerant; I have friends that do not necessarily believe what I do, but I respect them and they respect me. I do my “Christian Duty” by inviting them to church and trying my best to live a life that reflects the positive aspects of Christianity that often fall to the wayside in light of other, more unpleasing things. I know that I am supposed to share God, and that is what my goal is through my career, my relationships, and everything I do.
God is good to me and is the good in me, and I would be wrong to not share those things with those I encounter. That’s what Christianity is to me, and it helps me love me, others and everything else as fiercely as I possibly can.