Why I left the church

So today, I went to Bible Study at the church that I have been frequenting on and off for the better part of a year or so.  The study focused on why people, millenials for the most part, are leaving the church.  There isn’t one specific reason as to why I left, or why others may have left, but discussing this in a group setting, really had me thinking, why did I leave?

I grew up in the Brethren Church, It’s what the Czechs brought over, Jan Hus was our founder, that’s all I got…Anyway, my great grandma was the one that took my sister and I to church.  For the most part, that was the only church we attended.  Then, I got to be older and started working on Sundays, and kind of stopped going, I really stopped going once she passed away, and I really never went back.

So why did I stop? Work, boyfriend, busy, life, excuse after excuse to tell you the truth.  I wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore, sad to admit it but I wasn’t.  It seems to me that I grew distant from my faith, distant from the church and it has taken me a decade or so to even begin to revisit when I lost that want to attend and be a part of an organized religion.  My dad was really sick during my high school years/college years, perhaps that played a large part too?  I’ll never forget the church of my childhood, the congregation that was made up of the older generation where a lot of those members felt like grandparents and extended family, but at some point that all changed, and it’s hard to pinpoint why exactly I left…or why anyone leaves.

I have a tendency to be very shy, like on the verge of socially awkward in public situations, and that keeps me from going out and exploring on my own, more than I would like to admit.  When I don’t find myself comfortable in a situation, or a place, I either never attend, or I remove myself completely from the equation.  Perhaps that is the real reason I left, I didn’t feel comfortable anymore.  But, I am trying to teach myself to step out of that comfort zone of isolation, and not be so scared or shy to where I can’t experience new things, new churches and instead of asking myself why I left the church, or feeling ashamed or embarrassed about leaving, actively seek out a new place of worship.  Time and time again, I have been telling myself that this is what I am missing, the missing link if you will.  Tonight I felt really comfortable, and even spoke up, which again kind of a big deal for me.  I am challenging myself to go this Sunday, Mamaw or no Mamaw.  She is an excellent crutch, but I have to find my own way, and the vibes of this place are good.  I am excited to see where this particular path takes me.


But, how do we make ourselves happy?

I haven’t posted in awhile, because I’ve been in my feels lately.  I’m usually this easy going, carefree, messy hair type of gal, but even with all of that, I am constantly in my head.  The weight of the world gets kind of heavy, and it’s really hard to put into words just what I’m going through.  Basically, I’m a sad kind of girl, sad for no real reason I suppose.  I seem to have everything going for me, but I’m constantly feeling a void, and I can’t fill that void no matter how hard I try.

I know what you are thinking, easy fix, JESUS.  Well yes, and no, my spiritual well being has a lot to do with my mental well being, and my mental well being has a lot to do with my physical well being.  When I get down in the dumps, everything shuts down on me.  Literally, everything.  First, and I hate to admit this, but when I’m in a funk, the first thing that stops is, my devotionals.  I’ll be the first to tell you that journaling over the past three years or so, has saved my life in the sense that I’ve found purpose, I’ve found something to live for, that’s not to say my life was going to end, or that I have nothing to live for, it just changed my life for the better.  If I know how happy this makes me, and how wonderful it is to have a special bond with our savior, who wants us to come to Him at our lowest, why does it stop, why do I stop?

When the journaling and time with Christ stops, I get really really guilty, and I feel so low that I think no one cares, then the isolation starts, and then the skipping of my workouts occur.  Being a bigger girl, you can always tell when I’m upset, as my weight always fluctuates with my mental state.  Now no, I’m not over here with all these things wrong with me, on my death bed, world is so cruel, can’t get better, just let me rot in pieces kind of mentality, but its more like please won’t you please turn the lights off in my room, lock the door and leave me alone to sleep as the world turns.  Let me tell you, the easiest way I ever stopped devotionals, is my having a date on the top of each one.  Do you know how hard it is to be a day behind, a week behind, a month behind, it can be very disheartening.

Back to Amber, lights out, blankets on top of her, world tuned out.  What happened to my friends?  I don’t even have the want or strength to text them back, or check on them, which really and truly it’s amazing I still have friends.  My energy level is so bad, that I can’t even pick up my favorite book, or do much of anything but stare off into the distance for hours at a time.  Lowest of low, and this isn’t like a once a year type of thing, this is happening more frequently where I can’t really just shut it off.  So, where do we go from here?

My intentions with this post, is not to make anyone feel sorry for me, or worry about me, or anything to that nature, it’s meant to put a face to the fear I feel inside, the constant need to just shut the world out and hide.  Because, quite frankly dealing with this world, and people in this wold, can be exhausting.  I sometimes wish there was an off button, just so my brain would stop thinking for five minutes, just so that instead of isolating myself from everyone around me, I could just shut them out and take a little break.

That being said, this post poses a question, how do we make ourselves happy.  When I’m not feeling all that great, I want to look back, and remember that these things make me happy.

Christ, He is my salvation, my biggest fan, even when I’m not a fan of myself.  He is always here for me, even when I push Him to the side.  Without Him, where would my life be?  Who would I be living for?

2. Children that really love, and admire you for just being you.  Brutally honest you, kids are the true MVPs.  They let you know quite honestly what they think of you.  I have a gig every Friday night with two of the cutest little boys you ever saw, and they brought me so much happiness in a time when I didn’t even know I needed it.  They are the sunshiney rays of my week, every week and I kind of hope it stays like that forever, or as long as it can.

3.My happy place, that is currently under construction.  My bedroom was so dreary and down, it was easy to get lost in isolation in there.  Now, I’ve painted the walls yellow, and invite only good vibes in.  I can’t wait to move back in, and finally take pride in my home.

4)The fact that my friends understand that sometimes I just need to be alone, but still check on me to see that I’m not hurting myself by being alone for too long.

5)Writing!  Dearest Amber, do you know how long you hid from your written thoughts, and do you know how much you miss it, and how even if you never do anything with what you write, it is your gift, and you not embracing it, is wasting your God given talent.

6)Reading!  A good book takes you out of your mind and into wherever the author wants you to be.

7)Shopping for books!  Nothing better than randomly finding something you want to read eventually, even if you still have 100 books from your previous shopping trips to dive into.

This bloggers eyes are getting heavy, but I’ll leave with this little bit of knowledge that I gathered from this post.  I will never come to terms with the short lifespan I have in this world if I waste the gift of time given to me by not using my talent to serve others.  My grandpa left this world at 68, do you think he wasted his time moping around?  No, he was too busy living his life, and providing for his family both financially and spiritually.  Maybe I’m able to come to terms with what I’ve been dealing with since life became a little more precious to me after losing my Papal, or maybe I’m just ready to come to terms with what is holding me back as I grow older whatever the case may be, something has to change and I have to find out on my own, what makes ME happy.

Time, is it on my side?

The thing about life, it goes pretty fast.  One minute you’re 18, thinking that you have it all figured out, running away from your dad being sick and then the next minute, you’re 29.  But where did all those years go?  I keep thinking about life and living.  It scares me to think about the limited time we have with our loved ones, and the fact that they could be here one day and gone the next with no warning.  I’ve been blessed with an amazing family and with amazing friends.  I’m not good with emotions, and I’m sometimes really selfish but I don’t know where I would be or what kind of person I would be without them.  They each hold a special place in my heart.  I strayed from my parents during the typical teenage rebellion years and I’m glad to say that the relationship we have now is something that I never thought would be possible back then.  They are the ones that taught me how to be a decent human being.  I didn’t know how to deal with my dad being sick when he was doing really bad 10 years ago.  I was too busy following a boy.  My dad was in and out of the hospital, dialysis, open heart surgery and I was running from it all.  I guess that was my way to deal but to this day, I can’t really think back to those days without feeling such awful shame.  I wasn’t the best of daughters back then, and maybe I’m not still but my dad is such an important part of my life.  I couldn’t imagine my life had I lost him when I was running away from his mortality.  But that’s the thing, we all are mortal.  Anything could happen in the blink of an eye.  When I finally moved on from that boy I chased around for 7 years, I was worried that something might happen to me especially living by myself so my Papal bought me a gun to protect myself with the promise that I would go get my CHL.  That was 4 years ago and I only recently got serious about going to get that, I was going to surprise him soon with it but that’s one thing I won’t get to do, because I waited too long.  Instead I’ll always carry his CHL with me just so he’ll always be with me.  The truth is, we do not get enough time with our loved ones and we only realize this after they’re gone.  I don’t want to wait for that.  I want to look back and know that my parents, grandparents, sister, etc, all knew and know how much I loved them and how much I appreciated them.  Then, when we meet again in Heaven, we just pick up where we left off.  I spend a lot of time in my head saying things like I cant, I cant, I cant instead of trying.  Maybe, if I tried then I could clean my house, I could get a resume going, I could get back to my gym routine, I could get a better job instead of playing it safe like I have been.  My parents and grandparents worked hard for everything they have and we kids, never went without.  There were so many times and so many years my moms wardrobe didn’t change because she was buying for me and my sister before herself.  I know a lot of parents that are not like that, they see their kids as burdens and are more about themselves which is one of the reasons we have so many problems in society.  I strongly believe that your upbringing has a lot to do with who you are.  I am strong because of how my parents raised me.  I hope they always know that.  No matter what happens between us, they will always be my parents firstly, and my biggest influences secondly.   We all make sacrifices in life, but are we making them for the right reasons, for the right people?  I want the things I do in life to change people in positive ways.  I’d like people to think that I am a positive and that anything is possible if you work for it, but to do that I actually have to work for it.  How many times have I took time off from work to go to a concert, or travel with friends, but I don’t make time to spend with my family?  What sense does that make?  I guess that I am getting older and I’m getting scared about the time I have left to enjoy my family, is what it all boils down to.  This week I’ll be going to New Orleans with my family and I’m really excited to take a few days off from work and be with them.  I can’t honestly remember the last trip we took together.  We will have to take two vehicles because I have to get back to work Wednesday, so I’ll probably get to road trip with my sister and that hasn’t happened in years minus our houston to austin trips which, are hardly a road trip.  This post kind of all came from the movie “Wild”  I’ve been watching it off and on for a few days and she’s flashing back to her mom dying and I can’t even imagine nor would I ever want to be in a world without my mom or dad.  That shit is super scary to me.  I know its life but I don’t want to think about it, which is why its taking me so long to get through the movie.  It all boils down to the fact that we aren’t promised tomorrow, we need to let our loved ones know how much we love them, live life to the fullest and know that the best is yet to come.  Embrace the life you live, starting now.  What you get out of life, is all up to you.