From the cradle I believed in God. I went to Sunday school and church all my life. The first time my faith in God gave me true comfort was at the age of nine. I was lonely I didn't have any friends I was by myself alot. Praying was a comfort for me. I prayed alot. I got into the habit of praying incessantly. I thought about God constantly. I desperately wanted to be baptized although I was in a Presbyterian church that didn't preach baptism for salvation. I read the Bible cover to cover when I was twelve years old. I loved Jesus. He was my best friend.
As I grew into my teens I became more and more involved with God. We switched membership to a Baptist church. My mother felt that I should have friendships with Black kids. She also felt like I needed to be involved in a youth program There was one at the Presbyterian church but she felt it was inadequate. She had other reasons but I don't remember them right now. As a teen I learned about baptism and wanted to be baptized but I was a little embarrassed to ask. I read my Bible and found comfort in my faith. I didn't have any friends even though I was involved in the youth group. My interests in music and books was labeled "white" and I couldn't relate to the kids in the youth group. This drove me to have an intense desire to have a relationship with God especially Jesus.
I was in love with Jesus. I wanted to be like Him. I wanted a genuine relationship with Him. My senior year in high school we went back to the Presbyterian Church. I don't recall why. People at the Baptist church gossipped alot and were difficult. My mother sensed that I didn't fit in at the youth group.I didn't fit in with the Presbyterian youth group either because I had been away for four years and didn't have friendships with the kids who were ready to go to college. This lack of fitting in intensified my desire to be close to God.
My relationship with my parents was estranged during my teen years. I didn't feel that they loved me. I felt like a burden to them. I felt like I was a disappointment to my father. I think this contributed to my desire to find acceptance from God. I wanted to be baptized but I didn't know where to go or who to ask. I wanted to obey the Bible and have an authentic relationship with God. When I got to college my sister asked me if I wanted to visit her church. I went and was impressed. I liked the singing and fellowship and the sermon and they believed in baptism. I went to a campus Bible talk and was further impressed with the teaching and the enthusiasm of the members.
I thought I had found the perfect place to be as a Christian. I studied the Bible and was baptised. I was ecstactic. I was happy and content. I loved the church, the people, and the teaching. I was fiercely loyal to the fellowship and wanted nothing more than to be an active member.
I started struggling with depression and couldn't understand why I wasn't happy any more. I continued to get worse and became suicidal. After I burned my apartment down in a suicide attempt I felt far from God. I felt like a spiritual loser. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This confused me. How can I please God anymore? I can't always be joyful. I have to take medication to stay emotionally stable. I didn't understand about God's grace. Grace wasn't taught at my church. It was a works-oriented doctrine where one needed to attain perfection on one's own to prove acceptance from God. People failed to understand my struggles. The didn't understand why I had to take medication and not just rely on God for my emotional health.
After twenty years I questioned my involvement with my church. The doctrine being taught was unforgiving and incompatible with my struggles as a person with a mental illness. I felt constant guilt,shame,condemnation,dread,and unhappiness because I couldn't please God the way I was taught. The last manic episode I had was esepcially intense. I had delusions that were scary and powerful and full of things that I couldn't understand.
I felt that for my mental health to recover I needed to leave my church. I still had faith in God. I still wanted to please Him. I felt like God was like my father in that I disappoined Him and couldn't please him. The more I read the Bible on my own the less love I felt for God. I lost my love for God over the year after I left the church. The main question was why would a perfect God create imperfect beings and expect them to behave perfectly all the time with no grace?
Arguements that Jesus never existed and that God doesn't exist piqued my interest. After reading on the internet and interacting with former members of my church my faith in God slipped away. I lost my faith after a year out of the church I was attending. The energy I spent following God was so intense I believe I became spiritually exhausted. I was burned out. I couldn't maintain my faith anymore. I didn't have any energy to support it anymore. I greived over this decision. I was so depressed I could barely function. I spent a year in bed. I was full of anxiety and fear. I dreamed about demons and hell. I thought I was going to be punished because I didn't believe in God anymore.
I don't fully undestand why I lost my faith. I feel like I lost it rather than deciding because the love and affection I had for God was gone. I just didn't love God anymore. I didn't believe in Him anymore. That was sad but I feel I lost my faith to retain my sanity. I couldn't be sane and a Christian at the same time. I couldn't support my faith anymore without letting go of my sanity. I have been delusional and insane and it's the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I couldn't give up my sanity.
I'm open to believing in God again but righ now I do not. Maybe over time I will heal enough to believe in God but I doubt it will be the God of the Bible. I still belive in spirits and ghosts and maybe even angels. I believe people have a soul and a spirit. The spirit dies with them but the soul lives on to inhabit another being. I don't consider myself Hindu or Buddhist. I like meat too much.