As a child I was raised in the Catholic Church, attending service most Sundays. I would put on my Sunday best, make sure my hair was combed, take off any traces of nail polish, and attempt to look my absolute best. I hated it.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against religion and have a deep belief system in God as I walk along my own spiritual path respecting all religions and belief systems. What I’m referring to in my opening statement is the feeling of judgement I would personally feel before having even left my home to attend Sunday service.
From the moment the Sunday best clothes had to be worn, the energy of worry, judgement, and fear would creep in. Why did it matter what I wore? Did God not love us all? Did Spirit really care about the wrinkles on my dress or my shoes that still had a trace of dirt on them from just playing like most children do? Was anyone really checking under my fingernails to make sure they were clean before I could enter through the doors of worship?
The pews felt hard to sit on, the image of Jesus nailed to the cross hanging at the front of the church breaking my young heart every time I dared to look in its direction. “Why did they do that?” I would ask, and time after time would hear back from so many, “He died for YOUR sins. You need to repent. You need to confess. You need to be ‘perfect’ or you will burn in hell.”
My young mind may have over exaggerated the messages received, but just like the manipulation at Christmas time, telling young children to behave or Santa would bring them coal, church for me brought the same fear, and it just felt wrong.
Was not God about love and forgiveness? Was church not about acceptance, community, and devotion? Then why were the teachings focused on messages of going to hell, repent your sins, don’t do this, don’t do that. Honestly, it felt like a place of fear and judgement, and the constant reminder that we placed Jesus on the cross in such a horrific display of pain and inhumanity was just too much!
I would find myself closing off my ears to the sermons and instead focusing on the beauty in the stained glass windows. Noticing the way the light would pick up the colors adding a magical sparkle and casting colors down upon surrounding parishioners. Oh how I wanted one of those lights to find me! The beauty of Angels offering protection, Mother Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms with eyes that radiated nothing but love. Ah love. The emotion that was always intended by God to be given freely to all without judgement, without restriction, without having to ‘earn’ it. Pure love.
Today, as I walk my Spiritual path that is what I hold deep within my heart. There is no judgement and no set religion for me, for what ever made my church so right and the others so wrong? There is only acceptance, tolerance, and grace. A respect for multiple belief systems, cultures, and a desire to learn and understand. I have come to see church as not the ultimate authority (the law) but rather as a place of education, where one can observe, listen, take in what ‘feels’ right, seek answers, and disregard information that just doesn’t sit right in the heart.
I now have a healthy curiosity and am hungry for knowledge. I wish to learn about all religions and belief systems. I want to understand another’s point of view and see through their eyes. I honor the diversity that is found in the human race, and choose to focus on the common theme within all – we are all just trying to do our best!
That is love! To work towards being the best version of you, in whatever form that may be. Regardless of race, religion, sexuality – it doesn’t matter, for love does not judge. Love simply accepts us all, wrapping us in its beautiful light.
The more I learn, the more I forget all I have been taught. I am becoming a blank canvas, one with unlimited potential to create and manifest dreams into reality. The slate has been wiped clean for after all God is the essence of unconditional love and forgiveness.
Today, I simply vow to be the best version of me, to open my heart, and let love lead the way.
Lisa is the owner of Loving Energy Recharge, a Level 3 Reiki Master, Emotion Code Practitioner, Human Design Guide, Business/Life Coach, and current Level 3 student within the More Than Existing™ self actualization certification program.
Photo credit: S. Hermann & F. Richter – Pixabay