I was raised in the United Methodist Church. My mother is an active lay member of our local church and serves in the conference. Therefore, I grew up playing in corners during church meetings. Watching my parents, I learned about various expressions of faith-service, friendship, worship. I wasn’t raised to think of church as an option-when sports interfered with Sunday morning we found alternate services, when traveling we found a church along our route, or sang a hymn. While my parents were involved and attendance at church never truly up for discussion, I never felt forced into it. I enjoyed church, service and meetings.

I began to really take ownership of my faith in high school, but going to college was the first time I had absolute control over my movements. No one was waking me up on Sunday mornings, no one was going to a meeting and inviting me to tag along. My relationship with God and the church were up to me. I found navigating this freedom fascinating. I reevaluated my beliefs about what  faith looks like. I began this process of determining what traditions I wanted to carry with me, what I felt comfortable moving on from, how God was speaking to me. This process will probably never end-at least I hope it doesn’t.

These past three years of constant re-imagining and redefining of my faith life have been exhilarating and life-giving. They have prompted deeper study of my bible, of my church, of myself. They have led me to new opportunities. They have made me uncomfortable. They have taught me that I find God in sunrises and sunsets and walks and empty sanctuaries-things I never indulged before. They have led me to new spiritual practices, like journaling. Most importantly, they have allowed me to see old things in a new light. The past few years I have been captured by sabbath practices-because I am not good at keeping them. I prefer motion to stillness, but I have found more and more that I NEED stillness.  My parents are absurdly busy,  I picked up my addiction to movement from them as much as I did my faith. But in the midst of their running around, they always found ways to pause and allow God to fill them up. Yesterday, a friend told me to find my sabbath and protect it and I immediately thought of driving on some highway with my mother singing Amazing Grace. It was an old lesson that I had to learn again in a new way. I relearn it multiple times a day, week, month, year. I think that is a lot of what I have found about faith in recent years, it is a constant process of discovering and re-discovering, learning and re-learning. I am learning to be open to that cycle, appreciating how God hits me differently at sunrise and at sunset.


n.yasin posted on June 13, 2023 at 12:07 pm

Kudos to your parents who raised you with the church…

mixing tank posted on June 16, 2023 at 9:45 pm

You’re a master!

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