Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Tiring Battle with Faith

So recently, I've put more faith in my religion. (Just to warn you, this entry is a little long)

Let's start from the beginning. When I was young, I attended a Roman Catholic church that used so much incense my allergies hated me for a month, and chanted in Arabic. To each his own, but I did not get much out of attending that service. It certainly did not strengthen my relationship with God because I did not understand what that relationship meant as the church was teaching me nothing.

After my parent's divorce, and my dad's remarriage, we started attending a nondenominational church which I grew to like. However, I still didn't feel a connection with God, whether that be because I was rebelling against my family or because I just thought there was too much sickness in this world to really be someone up there. That lead me to high school, where I self-righteously dubbed myself an "agnostic" because I wasn't sure of my beliefs. "How could anyone prove there was really a God?" Those were my philosophical years. Everyone knows when you're a teenager you know everything.

After that, I just did not invest much time and thought into my religion. For a long time, I just didn't believe in anything at all. Which is really just sad. I mean, when you have faith in nothing, life seems a lot longer, or maybe even shorter, because you have nothing to look forward to afterward. I just don't want to live my life that way.

About a month or two ago, I went through a rough patch, in which my family and friends helped me through. I would pray to God that someone would help me through the night, because I was in such a dark place that praying to someone, anyone, was worth the chance that it might work. And miraculously, it did. The most random people would send me text messages, stay up all night talking with me until I felt better, and I felt I got more support within that month than I ever did before. Maybe someone was actually answering my prayers, and my resolution was that all I had to do was ask and have faith.

Which brings me here.

I decided I would start attending church again. If God was good enough to answer my prayers, I think I can be good enough to devote an hour to him each week. I didn't know where to start, so I chose the closest church to my apartment -- a Catholic Church. I have never really agreed with the rules of the Catholic church, so I figured I'd go there once to get in my weekly session with God, and find another place after. The thing is, the church made me so happy, and made me feel safe, so I did not want to stop attending.

So I kept going, and I kept feeling great.

Now, reality is setting in. There are all these rules with the Catholic faith -- and unfortunately, I think they are stupid. They suffocate me. They mold me into the perfect Catholic girl, when I don't want to be molded and I certainly do not want to be perfect. I want to be Monica, and I want to follow my own rules.

I have a good relationship with God, so why is that not enough? I know I can just find another religion, but it is more complicated than that since my significant other is a Catholic -- and he is strict in his rule-following, and expects me to be the same.

Anyway, any other religion is going to have their own set of rules -- I'll probably just let them down, too. But religion is supposed to be liberating, not suffocating, so what do I do? I felt so liberated a month ago, and now I feel like I can never be the perfect churchgoer. However, I think God is up there shaking his head at all these stupid rules. I don't think God cares what church you go to and what rules you follow as long as you put time and dedication into your faith.

So does anyone have any suggestions for me as to where to go from here? Comments are greatly appreciated.