I grew up in a very strict Seventh-Day Adventist household. We went to church several times a week. There was no consumption of alcohol, pork, shellfish, nor anything else “unclean”. The women did not wear makeup, hair extensions, jewelry, no embellishments whatsoever. Although, I still hold onto a lot of the principles and practices from my very unpermissive upbringing, over the years, I’ve found that I have become much more spiritual than religious. I’m not as religiously observant (and rigid) as I was before, but I’m at spiritual peace with where I am in my faith walk.
People tend to use religion as a crutch; giving them a false sense of hope that the simple act of physically going to church will “save” them and spare them from an unpleasant fate. Religious dogmas will not save you. Simply abiding by the laws of the church, and attending weekly service, just to save face, do not automatically give you the keys to the kingdom.
Spirituality stems from within. Spiritual self-awareness causes us to become more loving, healthier, happier, more understanding, and more inspirational individuals who can connect with others on a more spiritual plane.
I believe in God. I pray all day everyday, but I have “church” wherever I want and whenever I choose. I’ve had some of the best meditation sessions just sitting in the sauna at the gym! I have figured out what works for me and I have accepted it as my truth.
But of course, my spiritual open-mindedness has caused me to become the topic of many family discussions; I’m usually a top priority on everyone’s prayer list. Lol! Through all the judgment (masked as concern), what has given me comfort and strength is knowing this:
There is no one size fits all approach to faith and spirituality. You have to discover who God is to you and live your life according to what you believe. First and foremost, you have to realize that religion and spirituality are two different things. It is quite possible to be on a different spiritual frequency than those who may have the same familial and/or religious background as you. Don’t judge; their faith walk and practices may be different from yours and that’s ok. Salvation is personal. Focus on getting yourself right with God, and let Him take care of the rest.
So, when it comes to the question of religion or relationship? I’m not saying you have to choose. Just understand that religion without faith, without spirituality, and without a deeper connection to an inner belief system is null and void. Know who you are, and be at peace… Be blessed ?