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My Spiritual Journey

Blog: My Spiritual Journey: From Religion to Spirituality

My Spiritual Journey

From Religion to Spirituality

I’ve always considered myself a spiritual person. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a relationship with a Higher Power, whether it be God, Jesus Christ, or a Power greater than me. Growing up in a relatively small town, I lived a sheltered life. My spiritual foundation was wrapped around Christianity. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of things, including other religions, until later when I was in my mid-twenties, in college and out on my own. In this blog I’m going to share my spiritual journey. I want to stress that this is MY journey and MY experience. What I have found to work for me, might not work for others and vice versa. My hope is that you read with an open heart and open mind.

I was raised a Christian in the Episcopal church with my family. We weren’t regular church goers though. We would attend Christmas and Easter mass. It wasn’t until middle school and into high school that I started to go to church on a regular basis. My mom would go with me a lot, but often, I went by myself, especially when I was able to drive. My parents never pressured us kids when it came to church or religion. They shared with us how they felt and what they believed spiritually. It was extremely important to them that we find our own faith and beliefs. I appreciated that so much growing up. I think it really empowered me to explore my spirituality and to figure out was IT was.

For most of my childhood and early adulthood, IT was Christianity and Church. I even made the choice to get confirmed in the church when I was 25, and I started teaching Sunday school to teens. I absolutely loved our priest. He was very loving and open to all, and I mean ALL. We had a lovely woman who happened to be a lesbian in my confirmation class and a divorcee. In other churches this would never be accepted. When it became an issue for me was when money got involved.

Every Sunday, when the gold plate came around, I would drop money into it. First it was $2, then $5, then $10. The struggle for me began when I was “pressured” to “give” 10-20% of my annual income. I was still in college, getting ready to graduate with a mountain of student loans. I was coming to church three times a week between Sunday service, confirmation classes, Sunday school, and Teen activity night. Plus, I was “giving” every Sunday. I couldn’t understand how what I “gave” to the church financially had to do with the kind of Christian and servant of God I was. I was starting to get resentful.

Was I not a good enough Christian because I couldn’t/wouldn’t give the Church that much money? Was my relationship to God predicated on my contribution? In my heart, I knew my relationship with God was not based on how much I financially gave the Church. I also understood that the church needed money to keep the lights on, heat the building, and provide income to the clergy, office staff, etc. But to what end? And why the change in perception of me? There was never an outright question to the amount I was putting into the plate. Never did anyone come out and say directly to me that it wasn’t enough. It was the innuendos and insinuations. The inclusive and non-inclusive way I was spoken to by elders in the Church.   

Slowly, I started to go to Sunday Service less and less. I resigned from the Teen Sunday school and eventually stopped altogether. It was hard for me for a while. I felt lost for a long time. I still felt that I had a relationship with God, but missed communion, weekly gospels and that “Feeling” of being close to God when at Church. I did a lot of praying and reflecting, and eventually came to realize, it wasn’t about the Church. It was about me, and my own insecurities. I literally could not afford to give the Church that kind of financial investment and I felt ashamed of myself, like I wasn’t worthy or good enough to be a member. How Ridiculous!

But it was more than that. I was living in Chicago and becoming friends with people from all walks of life. They had different religious and personal beliefs, different cultures, different politics. We had great debates, mutual respect, and a shared love for a Higher Power. What I learned was that through all our differences, whether it be race, culture or religion, one thing was always the same. Be Kind to one another. Love one another. Be good person. Do good things. Don’t judge others. Live with an open heart and open mind.

When I was in Grammar school, I had a wonderful principal. His main rule for all of us was simple. The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That always stuck with me.  As a young adult, I thought more and more about this. Then I learned about the Principle of Karma – The spiritual principle of cause and effect. Basically, Karma is when the intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).  I feel like the two complement each other and together have become the core of my spiritual foundation.

My Spiritual Higher Power (God) surrounds me.  It’s around me and within me. It’s in the bird’s song carried on the breeze, the cool blades of grass at my feet, and shade bearing trees stretching into the sky. It’s the sound of a baby’s cry and the smell of a puppy’s breath. It’s the feeling I get every time I hug and kiss my husband, and the look in my dogs’ eyes when I pet them. It is my humanity and what gives me my humility.

In closing, I have come to live a spiritual life through meditation, prayer, patience and living with an open mind and open heart. I try to be kind to others and to be good person. Every day I try to do good things and not judge others. I try to live with an open heart and open mind. As a result, I have never felt closer to my Higher Power than I do now.

Spirituality is personal. My spirituality may be different than yours, and that is okay. We can all coexist with one another as long as we are open minded, understanding, and demonstrate compassion and empathy.  Thank you for reading this entry. I wish you nothing but peace and love.


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