I don’t know if there was ever a child who loved Jesus with more passion than I did. Growing up in a Christian home, attending Christian schools and essentially living at my church on the weekend meant that I was fully engrossed in what I was taught from an early age. Singing, learning scripture, and serving others to lift up the cause of Christ as a child was a real joy for me. And when I was 9 years-old, I answered the call to be baptized into the congregation I loved.
Before being baptized, I had to stand in front of my church to make a confession of faith. Even though I was the smallest in the group, what I lacked in stature, I made up for in zeal. I went into the “watery grave” that day as a sign that I had given my heart to Christ. Upon coming out of the water, I was met with thunderous hallelujahs and amens from my loving village who had nurtured me.
It was such a happy day, and I’m blessed to have grown up with something to believe in. But what happens when your beliefs shift?
I’ve always been a questioner, but oftentimes in Christian circles, we are raised with the conviction that the community that we start out in is the one that we should always be a part of. It is encouraged for others to come to us, but never for us to leave and join another group. In my twenties, it became clear to me that I was going on a spiritual journey, but I had no idea where I’d end up. And a lot has shifted in what I believe.
Now, I consider myself to be a progressive believer. Since moving to this side of things, I have read and listened to new voices. I have worked to decolonize my faith. I have fellowshipped with people with various views. And since, my views on women, marriage, sexuality, holiness, and even obedience to God have all changed. I feel confident in where I stand now, but this journey did not come without its pains. There were years that I was depressed because I was convinced that God hated me because I was no longer a member of my childhood church. The damage and trauma from these experiences takes a long time to undo.
Thankfully, I found freedom from this line of thinking before it caused me to give up on my faith all together. And recently, I heard something profound that confirmed that I was making the right moves.
The affirmation was simply, “there is no shame in evolving.”
Many of us have been taught to hide our new found thoughts on things to maintain the approval of others, but that only stifles our own growth and joy in the journey. I am encouraging you to stand boldly in what you believe this year, and to live fully in your truth. And if you’re struggling, repeat this until you believe it: there is no shame in evolving.
How has your faith changed since leaving your parents’ home? As always, this is a safe space for you to be honest.