Before I went to college I was a God-fearing Sunday-dress wearing Christian girl. I never missed a service and I shook my head in disdain at all the one-day-a-year Christians that feasted greedily on Easter dinner at Grandma’s house. You couldn’t tell me nothing that the Bible already taught me and downtown was closed for business until my wedding day.
I loved my faith. And I still do.
But then I got to college and I wouldn’t say it was the people that changed me. But more so the culture and environment changed me. I allowed it to change me. I remember the first few weekends as a freshman, trying to find a good church around my school that I would be able to call home. It was hard. I was attending a good-sized public university down South. A place where my roommates slept in on Sunday after getting nasty drunk on Saturday night and didn’t wake up until two in the afternoon the next day. It was hard for me to find a good place that would appeal to me as a young African-American woman. I went to almost all the churches around my college. But nothing seemed to fit.
So I thought to myself—maybe I can just do it on my own. I’ll just make do with what I’ve got, grab my Bible, make some magic happen on Sundays. I could watch some television services, listen to Joel Osteen on my podcast. Or better yet, my home church has a streamed service. I can just watch it on Sunday. Go to church in my jammies.
Well, I did that. And it started off great. I’d wake up Sunday mornings, singing the songs, reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Getting my panties all up in a bunch over a great sermon. It was good.
But then there came the weekend when I had just stayed out the night before a little too late.
And the weekend when I ended up staying over my friend’s place on the other side of town.
Oh, and the Sunday morning I needed to study for a big exam the next day.
And the weekend when I was just…well, tired. I was just too tired to go to church. Virtually.
I saw my faith waning, slipping, right before my very eyes. I still believed in what I believed in, but I just couldn’t encourage myself to hop out of that bed and get back into the groove. And with my slipping faith came the taunting thoughts, the gravitating pull of my self-esteem, the underestimation, the lack of belief in myself.
I was stuck in a groove. And I didn’t know how in the heck I was going to fix it.
I’ve come to realize that it is my faith and that dedication to faith in my life that is missing. It’s what’s keeping me from feeling good about each day, like I used to. I wasn’t depressed. But I had come to feel a little lost in the world, lackadaisical unsure of my purpose.
With everything you love, you must make the effort for. And I began to wonder to myself, “If I love my faith so much and it has done so much good for me, then why can’t I make time for God?”
If I’m a hypocrite, shame on me. But I wasn’t entirely. I just felt fallen.
It wasn’t until two years later during my junior year that a friend in the community invited me to her church one day. She asked me if I went on Sundays and I replied apathetically, “Yes.”
“Oh really, where do you go?”
She ended up taking me to the best service I had ever experienced in my life. Well, as far back as I could remember. And it was on that day that I knew it was my faith that I had been missing. Without faith, I felt lost in the world, I felt affronted by too many questions that in a humanistic sense seemed to have no answers. I was unsure of myself, who I was, and no longer really valued life in its essence.
But when I found my faith again I began to live life more carefree. Flying free like the wind. I became…happier. I began to value and enjoy life more and took chances and gave thanks and praise for all life had to offer me with its ups and downs.
If life has got you down, think about what might be missing in your life. Some reassuring words of faith perhaps could be all you need to turn yourself around.