A few months ago, I was a nursery coordinator for our church. I turned to God for everything. I prayed, I listened to Christian radio stations, I tried to remain diligent in my reading of the Bible, but there was something happening that I couldn’t ignore. I wasn’t happy. I never mentioned it to my pastor because, from prior experience, I knew the answer would be something along the lines of “God has a plan” or “Continue to pray and read the word, God will answer your prayers when the time comes.” To be honest, I got sick of waiting. I was tired of being told that I wasn’t “meant to understand” or that it was “beyond my comprehension”. I was tired of being told that everything that humanity has excelled in or done wrong is all because of an omniscient being who was kind and generous, but, at the same time, jealous and full of wrath (depending on which scripture you quoted). It just didn’t sit right with me.
So, I stopped praying and reading my Bible. I started spending my time with my family instead of God. I started being easier on myself when it came to letting a curse word slip here and there or when I wasn’t being a perfect “Proverbs 31 Woman”. I belly laughed at inappropriate jokes and starting listening to the music I grew up loving. My style began to change and my view of myself changed with it. I let go of my guilt of never being good enough. I just stopped being so “stuffy” and being more… Gwen. It was then that something happened. I was finally happy. I wasn’t stressing about being a biblical woman and became more worried about just being a good mom and wife on my own terms.
That led me to start really looking into Christianity and the Bible. I found somethings that I wasn’t okay with. (I’m not going to detail it out on here, but if anyone would like to discuss it, I would be more than happy to if you would like to contact me!) After looking into all of this I decided I was going to bring my doubts to my husband. This was a really hard decision for me. My husband grew up in a devout Christian home and was the one who really brought me to the religion in the first place. Words that should have never been said were (by both of us) and feelings were hurt. He was confused and I was wounded and angry. He blamed himself and I couldn’t understand why. Tears were shed and we parted sorely. The next day, things were better and apologies were made. He said he would try to understand and I promised him I would not keep him from going to church and worshiping if he still wanted to. At the time, I was still confused about where I was in my decision to leave the faith I had held on to behind.
The more I thought about it, though, the more sure I became. After bringing my reasons to my husband a few weeks later, he has seemed to understand more. We have made the mutual decision to take a break from church and we have spent the past three months just being a family and spending our Sunday mornings at home. I honestly feel like we are happier than we have been in a long time.
I now consider myself Agnostic and my husband, while he still considers himself a Christian, has his own reservations and arguments about the Church and the ideas that they sometimes convey. It’s understood now that we will teach our kids that there are a multitude of ways that they can choose to believe and that one way is not any better than any of the others. Our kids will grow up knowing that we won’t judge them for deciding that they may or may not want to practice Christianity, Buddhism, or any other form of religion, but they will also be raised to give everyone else the same respect. I feel like this decision has made our marriage stronger.
We haven’t made this known to anyone who hasn’t asked. It really isn’t anyone’s business, but, if prompted, we will explain our decision to them. I feel that our families will take this the hardest, especially his side. They are all completely immersed in the Christian life and, while I don’t hold this against them at all, I feel they will not be so accepting of our decision. My family, while they don’t attend church regularly or anything, still believe in God and Jesus and some of them are a bit more “old-school” than others. Our priority is and will always be our kids, though; so, regardless of how others may feel about how we choose to raise them, we will continue to do what we feel is the best for our family.
Leaving religion isn’t a decision that I made lightly. I knew it would change our family and that it would possibly change our entire dynamic. That being said, I can’t say that I regret it. There are times where I may question myself, but then I think back to how unhappy I was and it is solidified in my mind even more that I made the best choice. I can’t imagine giving myself over entirely to something like that again and not even being positive that I truly understood and believed it.
I think that becoming Agnostic has made me a better version of myself. While I understand the need for religion that some people feel (I’ve been there myself, after all), it just isn’t something that I find necessary nor something that I want to have a strong influence in my life. I don’t need someone/thing standing over my shoulder telling me, as my pastor liked to say, “You’re good enough isn’t good enough and your bad enough isn’t bad enough”. I have plenty of issues with myself without having those little whispers lingering in the back of my mind, thank you very much.
So, to those of you who struggle with this, whoever you are, you’re not the only one. Make the decision that is best for you, regardless of what others will think. Life is too short to live it for everyone else.