I’m sorry this post is super long, but since it’s kind of about my life’s story, I felt like you needed the details.
When I was in elementary school, I always went to Sunday School and thought of Jesus as the “Guy who forgave everybody, no matter what we did wrong in our lives.”
Today, I’m not so sure.
I would like to think that I still love the Jesus I fell in love with during my single digit years, and I do. Everything that Jesus stands for does match the bulk of what I believe, in terms of being a good person morally.
But my problem started in high school. I have Autism, and I totally struggled with that when it came to youth group and unintentionally blurting out answers. The youth pastor challenged us in 2011 to read your Bible everyday, and I did. But it doesn’t feel like a spiritual accomplishment when I look back at it.
As time went on, I felt more and more excluded, even when the youth pastor talked to me. I dated a bad news guy in 2012, which was a turning point in my life. From there, I questioned my beliefs. I got into a lot of trouble, but I learned from my mistakes.
My dark years didn’t stop after my 2015 graduation. I cheated on my boyfriend of about 18 months that year. Looking back, I daily regret my actions. I’ve been told that I was so much better morally when I was going to church regularly, but I wasn’t feeling it.
Fortunately, he’s forgiven me and it’s made us so much stronger as a couple. He’s truly my best friend, and I pray that God declares him The One.
I also feel like the people I admired from church (adult-wise) had beliefs that didn’t match my’n. I also look at examples of Christians that aren’t exactly “godly” as my example of what part of Christianity represented. Kim Davis, the Duggar Family. I hated those values. I hated the side of Christianity that showed itself as “hate this, hate that, not love others as God commanded.” That’s not what Christianity was to me.
I love the gay community, and I have no problem with accepting that other people have different beliefs than I do. I also don’t identify with the desire to become a mother, because of my Autism.
But I still love the Jesus I was raised with. My main concern is whether or not I have to sacrifice some of my values that I really don’t want to. I’ve realized I’m very liberal in a world where most Christians are conservative or republican, and that concerns me a little.
I truly prayed for the first time after the longest absence of prayer the day after the Pulse nightclub attack. Fifty members of the LGBT community were killed in such a little span of time. It literally tore my heart in pieces.
For me, what helped me mourn was knowing that God loved me and the fifty people who passed away from one of America’s biggest modern-day tragedies. That feeling is still there, but it’s very minute.
I want to go back to church consistently, but I don’t think I could ever go back to my church because of my bad experiences and have no idea what church to go to.
I hope you girls can relate and lend me a helping hand.
|June 18, 2016 at 17:05|
I may not be answering all your questions, but I relate to some of what you said, so here are my comments 😉
I agree with what you say about there being too much hate in “Christian” groups. Above all, we should focus on loving what God loves (and that includes other people, even if we don’t agree with them!!). We also should stay away from immorality and so forth, but that doesn’t mean hating anyone who doesn’t have the same moral code; on the contrary, we should extend our greatest love to them.
“My main concern is whether or not I have to sacrifice some of my values that I really don’t want to.” —> Will you have to change? Yes. Change the way you think about things? Probably, yes. Looking at the changes that likely lie ahead of you, you might be turned off by that, but at the end of the day, we all want to become more like God, and sometimes that means compromising things we previously thought were good or morally right. I see this in myself: before I became observant of my religion, I had developed my own moral code…that has changed a lot now, and “the old me” thought very differently. I heard a quote one time, and it was something like “God loves you so much that he can’t bare to leave you the way you are” (I totally misquoted that, that it was something like that :P)
About being liberal…honestly, I do not understand why so many Christians are republicans (I guess it’s because republicans are generally for “traditional values”, but other than that, I really don’t get it.. Especially with some of the republicans we have today, who clearly don’t exhibit Christian values..ahem..you know who I’m talking about 😉 ). I’m a socialist, so don’t feel bad lol 😉
Personally, I believe gay marriage should be legal. Why? Because I live in the United States. This isn’t a theocracy (oh thank goodness), and I have no right to dictate, according to *my* belief system, how someone else lives.
As for the “not knowing where to go”, just go to a bunch of churches in your area. If they have some kind of “coffee hour” afterwards, stay and get a feel for the community. Personally I love visiting different churches; it’s fascinating to see what others believe 🙂 If you are anxious about being in a new social environment, try taking a friend with you so you don’t feel so on the spot 🙂
And this post might even be longer than yours ahaha 😀 Hope I could help a bit!
|June 18, 2016 at 20:39|
Sorry I’m just now replying! I just have been trying to read over your message and couldn’t think of what to say until now.
As a Christian growing up in the church, I’ve heard it said a thousand times that you “change for the better.” I think what was missing was the transferring into a sinful lifestyle in order to make said Change. The trials I went through ultimately made me stronger and wiser.
The beauty with life (especially my Autism) is that I’m continually learning. And with that, comes change in a pattern of development instead of an instant. My relationship with God isn’t like throwing on a new outfit everyday, but more like creating an wedding dress. It’s going to take dozens of hours of deliberation and perfection to create the final product.
I too am personally glad we are not a theocracy, because America is this glorious melting pot. Thusly, I constantly feel obligated to support the different religions, the LGBT community, and the diverse because that’s what we were founded on: uniqueness. Freedom of speech. And today, freedom to love. I may not agree with your views or how you feel about yourself personally, but I will certainly understand them. If I expect you to feel that way about my Autism, I would only imagine you want the same from me. (Also, democratic socialism for the win! Hahaha)
A friend actually posted a status the other day saying she was church searching. I feel like God was opening a HUGE door for me right there, and I need to go message her and have her take me with her to go church hunting. (In fact, I just messaged her right now. 🙂 )
So, I guess what needs to be done is just a lot of prayer, a lot of reading on Project Inspired (this website has been SO detrimental in my faith!), and a lot of Bible reading and fellowship.
I don’t know what the next chapter has for me, and I love that. I always have. One day at a time, just like Jesus said. (“Do not worry about tomorrow.”) ♥
Love and Chocolate (Which for me means both the candy and my sweet little terrier rescue.)
~ M ~
|June 22, 2016 at 21:06|
Hello girl! Let me just tell you how much I loved reading your posts on this topic. Mainly because you seem to attempt to go deeper into what you believe and truly understand your beliefs and values. That is a wonderful quality! Secondly, I feel like I am completely in the same boat as you because I, too, have Autism. Throughout my life, I have struggled so much as a Christian girl and a missionary kid on the spectrum. Because despite my Autism, I have always desired to live out my Christian faith, love on people and be the light and the salt – as well as, pursue my calling as a missionary. I have gone through a lot in life including bullying and abuse which only seemed to make my Autism worse. But no matter what, I’m still pressing on. Because I know that no matter what, Jesus is with me, He will never leave me, He will never stop loving me. Like you, I’ve also struggled with the entire ‘wife and mother’ thought because as a girl with autism, I’m so different from most ‘normal’ girls. With much prayer and contemplation, I came to the decision of taking a vow of celibacy and I love it! I couldn’t be happier.
As for the LGBT community… Honestly, I’ve never been one of those who openly bash this community. I have had some incredible gay and lesbian friends in my life and I love them to death. I do not believe in forcing Biblical beliefs or values upon people at all. I completely agree that it’s only the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and our job to love.
I love how you said your journey with Christ is like creating a wedding dress. I could never put this better myself. As a person on the Autism spectrum, I completely relate to all that you say. Also I’d just like to stress that you definitely are a Christian. With all of my heart I believe that no one’s journey with Christ is like another, that God leads and guides all of us individually and deliberately. If you believe in Jesus and seek Him with your heart, it’s the Holy Spirit working in you and Jesus lives in your heart. That makes you a Christian and a precious child of God. <3 To be honest, my family has been through so much pain in the church (even though we are church planters) that we currently barely ever go. However, that does not change the fact that we know for certain that we are Christians and love The Lord.
If you'd like to chat more sometime, feel free to email me (my email is email@example.com). I figured we might have something to talk about as we are both Christian and Autistic. Anywho – much love to you girl! God loves you and so do we!!
|June 24, 2016 at 07:56|
I am out of words. I am so going to email you right now.
|June 24, 2016 at 20:10|
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