Good morning my loves - happy day 26 of dry January, I am so happy you are meeting me here.
Here is today's prompt:
"Have you ever had to unlearn something because you learned that it wasn't true? Has learning new information about something ever changed your life?"
7 years ago, I stopped going to church. I stopped believing in the biblical god then too but I was too scared to tell anyone. I didn't want to have to defend my beliefs because at that moment, I didn't have it all figured out. I just knew I didn't want to be a part of the church that I knew anymore.
Losing your faith is such a strange thing. It's not a choice - and to be clear, no belief is. You can't make yourself change your mind, your mind must be changed and convinced in order to believe something new. Sure - you may search out the information that could help change it but still, you are not in charge if you get convinced or not. Try to make yourself believe something new, be passionate about it right this second - you can't, right?
That's how my faith was too. All of the sudden, I was trying to convince myself that I believed. Even though my entire life, I just had. I prayed and went to church and read my bible and lead mission trips and went to church camp and knew all the songs. I believed.
Until I didn't.
Until it just stopped making sense. And everyone tried to help me. And give me answers. And pray for me. And when they couldn't convince me, they got frustrated and I did too so we all just gave up on the endeavor.
I was still willing to give the idea of god a chance but I realized that it's not my job anymore. If there is a god, they will make themselves known to me and I will not have to "try" to experience them. I finally freed myself of other people's ideas of what it means to exist on this earth and have a human experience. I finally realized that there are 8 billion people on this planet and that there wasn't a right way for all of them.
Because that is so many fucking people. And so many different experiences. I just couldn't believe that any experience could be one size fits all. There's no way one religion and one way of thinking could work for everyone so that's why there are so many. Not because there are "false" and "true" religions but because religions are just groups of beliefs. And some people will believe them and some people won't.
This is truly such a freeing feeling when you've spent your entire life thinking that there is a supreme father watching over your every single move and every mistake you make will be remembered and counted against you. I actually used to add up my sins in my journals. I would also add up the good things I did in hopes of the good outweighing the bad.
Unlearning the shame that was engrained in me is something I am still working on. What I've realized is that when I make mistakes it is not because I am an evil person, it's because I'm a human who is learning and growing. I give myself the freedom to get help for my problems now because I don't rely on just hoping they'll get better. I do the work to get better.
I was so scared when I first started deconstructing. I didn't know anyone who wasn't a christian and I was so worried that my friends would abandon me for my beliefs. My beliefs weren't harmful to literally anyone but so many people I knew disagreed with me so intensely that they just stopped talking to me instead of hearing me out.
This turned out for the best, as most things do. This time in my life feels like when you are sifting sand from the beach looking for shells and such. You will shake out so much when you use the right filter. It will feel like you're losing more than you're gaining but you forget - the things that are staying, those are the keepers.
Losing sand ain't shit when you see all the shells you get to keep.
Unlearning harmful things can be so uncomfortable. It will force you to change core beliefs about yourself and your life. And you will lose people. When you say goodbye to parts of your life that aren't serving you anymore, you will lose some stuff.
That's ok, too. Look at the version of yourself from 10 years ago, you lost stuff then too, right? And you survived? You made it to now? Yeah, you did. We all did.
Even with all the painful change and the unlearning and the growing, we somehow kept going.
Expressing our beliefs, our truths, and our authentic selves is always going to close doors that our old self was keeping open, that's necessary. We are allowed to grieve the people we used to be and also embrace the new things we're learning too.
I was in between for a very long time. Not religious - not atheist...just like "I don't know what I believe!" because I didn't want to be accountable to a belief system. Didn't want to explain myself.
And you know what I do now? I say agnostic atheist and I still don't explain myself. I realized I didn't have to have the perfect answer, I just had to be sure about my boundaries. And my boundary is that for the first time in my life - my beliefs are all mine. I can be vague about them but there are no rules to my beliefs anymore.
What a life, huh? We can unlearn and learn as many times as we want. We are allowed to learn new things and grow as many times as we want. I personally hope to learn forever.