Yesterday morning, I told my mother that I was going to stop going to my home church as well as other churches. I told her that I do not believe in the Seventh Day Adventist Christian doctrines anymore. I don’t identify with the beliefs and because of that I feel stifled and fake. I could tell that she was surprised and confused. So I tried to explain to her that I’ve been attending church more out of a responsibility as an eldest daughter and out of obedience rather than out of a commitment to God. I told her that if I do attend church that I want to go out of the willingness of my heart. We ended the conversation with her saying, “if that is what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do then so be it. I will be praying for you” (code for: I’ll be praying that you will reconvert to Adventism so that you won’t go to hell). Nevertheless, I was pleased and surprised as to how well my mother was taking this revelation from her daughter. Yes, I thought! Thank God, my mother is accepting my freedom as an adult to critically think and to decide!
That was until this morning when she said that she had a few questions. She basically asked me what my beliefs were (I’m still figuring that out.). I told her that I believe in God or at least some higher power. I don’t think she understood that because she kept asking me, “so, you believe in God but not in what he says?” Rolling my eyes….
She goes on to say, “I’m trying to understand because there is a dichotomy.” I replied by saying that she is asking me this question with the assumption that what God says is found in the Bible and at this point, I’m unsure about the Bible so the statement is irrelevant.
“What type of question is that, Ma? So do Muslims believe in God but not in what God says simply because they don’t believe in the Bible?” She really didn’t have a comeback.
Then she went on to advise me not to tell people that God told me to leave the church but rather that I decided to leave the church. She reasons that I should say this so that I don’t confuse people. This reasoning is coming from her belief that God wouldn’t tell me to stop going to church. I told her that I’ve been praying about this for a while and that I believe that God is telling me to at least take a break from church. She disagreed.
“How did God tell you to stop going to church? Did you read something in the Bible?”
“No, Ma. I just know this is what God wants me to do.”
At first, I was annoyed and frustrated by her advice because I felt that it was coming from a biased place. I started to feel real anxious and when I arrived at work, I locked my classroom door and prayed (I might be taking a break from church but I’m not taking a break from praying). And that is when I realized the truth of my mother’s statement.
I have decided.
There is a song that is popular among many Christians entitled, “I have decided to follow Jesus”. The lyrics to that song finally ring true to me. For the first time in my life, I am “deciding” to follow Jesus….. or not.
So Ma, I will follow your advice. I’m not going to tell people that God told me to do this but rather that I have decided to stop going to church so that I can decide to go to church.
This is such an empowering and beautiful feeling! That is why I’m grateful for this gift from God; the freedom to decide.
I’m going to share the outcome of this decision through my spiritual journey on this blog.
Please share with me what you’ve decided.