Choosing a Religion, a life story

Before the age of 14, I cannot remember what my thoughts on religion really were. I do not know what I believed. I probably at least thought that I believed in god–there’s a good chance of that. I went to a Southern Baptist private school when I was 14. They insisted that I believe in god. Since there was a boy I liked that believed in god–so did I. When I left that school, my father had been dead for 4 months. I was no longer dating that boy that found god. I met another boy, he said he was atheist. Guess what? I was too! What a coincidence. This went on until I was 20. When I was 20, I went to rehab.

Through the first few years in recovery, it became very apparent that although I may have believed in god, I wanted nothing to do with that business. When I finally got unhappy enough, I accepted someone else’s beliefs and it worked for a couple of years. Then it again became apparent that I did not know what I believed and I was no longer willing to bend to those around me.

I really wanted to believe in god. I really wanted to be Christian. Maybe I wanted to want to be Christian. It would be so much easier, so much more comforting, if I believed that a god had a specific plan and purpose for my life, and that I would live eternally after I died. I just could not get behind this. I tried mixing beliefs. Buddhist beliefs about an afterlife and Christian god. There may be a god, I obviously don’t know for certain. I have been floundering around, becoming fearful of thinking too hard on spiritual beliefs because this always led to death and what happens. I am a controlling person, I like to know what is going to happen to me.

Recently, someone introduced me to Taoism through a recommended book. Next, I heard a women tell her story and she said something about god taking her defects of character away. My mind snapped shut and the levy broke. I went outside with my best friend after and I began talking about how action brings consequence. I cannot ask a divine being to remove a character trait I have and not try to remove it with my actions. Furthermore, if I want to not be a liar anymore, so I stop lying, I feel this was me, not a higher power, changing this. I believe that I am the chess master of my life. I do not believe that there is a being in the sky with a plan for me and I am just fulfilling his desire for my life. That does not make sense to me.

So I admitted this. I admitted that I do not hold with the idea of a divine being. I also admitted that I have been internally struggling with my beliefs for years. I did not realize that I was experiencing so much guilt and shame about not believing, so I just kept trying to talk myself into believing.

I was scared to tell my fiance, he is Christian, as is his family. I told social media first. I remained fearful of the conversation with him.

I told him, he said we need a 4 foot statue of Buddha in the house and also stated that he wants to know more about Buddhism because he doesn’t know much about it.

So now I am in a place where I get to pursue the spiritual path that I want. The more I learn, the more I love the ideas. I can’t not eat meat, that will never happen. That is okay, though. I get to believe whatever I want.


Trust Marches On

This title is semi-stolen from the Tracy Lawrence song, “Time Marches On.” It’s an amazing song but has no relevance for me at this moment. 

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend was told that he needed to either buy the house he was in or move, so he proceeded to look for houses. I was scared that since this was something we planned to do once we were married, and not now, that the house buying process (looking at and picking out) was going to be a solo endeavor for him and I would just have to live with his decision. Again, my thoughts and fears were proven wrong by his actions. 

I’m not sure why I always expect the worst out of people. Much of the time, I expect them to be selfish and dishonest. The expected response to that is “you think that way because you are that way.” But I’m not. Ok, I can be selfish-very selfish. I’m typically not dishonest, unless it’s with myself. I’m not a backstabbing sort, I either like a person or I don’t and I generally don’t pretend otherwise (unless it’s politically necessary, and I don’t mean actual politics, like I’m running for office. I mean, like at work or with my boyfriend’s family or friends, where it would be awkward for me to openly dislike a person). 

The only thing I can fall back to is that I have been betrayed multiple times by people I trusted-the usual suspects: ex-boyfriends, friends, my sister once. I have a history of making bad decisions, which has made it nearly impossible for me to trust my instincts regarding who I allow close to me.  I say nearly because I do seem to be making better choices. My boyfriend has consistently been a good choice. I do have a couple friends that have consistently been good choices. 

What is interesting is that it is so easy for me to preach trust to others-friends, clients, family, etc-but very hard for me to practice. Someone told me once that in order for someone to earn trust, you must give them opportunities to earn your trust. Which sounds easy. For a person like me, who has been not just let down, but betrayed by every person that they have let in, it is nearly impossible. 

So I have tried this, and a few people have  consistently not betrayed me, they have stuck through my paranoia that they’re out to get me, that they aren’t who they say they are. Those people are teaching me to look for the good. They’re teaching me that, while I’ve made horrendous decisions in the past on who I ought to trust, I am capable of making good choices. 

This all boils down to a question. Is it others I don’t trust or is it my own judgement that I don’t trust?