I grew up in an independent, fundamental Baptist family. If you got sick, it was because you weren’t following god. If you struggled, it was because you didn’t love Jesus enough. If you did anything not praising god, then you were praising the devil. If you were sad, you weren’t reading your bible enough. If you weren’t perfect, then maybe you’re not actually saved.
It was hard. I got raped at age 10, repeatedly, by the man next door. I had to fight major depression to the point I tried to kill myself 3 times. I had anxiety to the point of multiple panic attacks a day. I didn’t eat, or leave my room much, and everything was because I was a bad Christian. I did everything I could to be enough, but I was never enough.
I was told nearly every day how god is perfect and wonderful. He made the whole world, knowing how everything would turn out. Even that he planned for things to “go bad” and planned how to “save” everyone. This God made everything so that it would be damned to eternal destruction, with the only way to avoid it being to constantly follow his ways and avoid all the pleasurable things in life. How is a God good when he purposely creates things to fail, with the only saving grace being misery?
I struggled to comprehend how this could be? There is supposed to be this all powerful, all loving, all knowing god who takes care of those who follow him, but he doesn’t. People credit him when things go their way, and “oh, it’s just god’s will” when it doesn’t. Whether or not someone prays about something, doesn’t change the circumstances. People just find comfort in false hope.
I once held that hope. The hope that says, maybe there is a higher power looking out for me, maybe if I pray hard enough, if I believe enough, if I’m good enough, then he will hear me and help me. He didn’t. I was alone in my battles. Being overwhelmed with loneliness and anger and sorrow, I began to cut myself. It numbed me; it helped me to dissociate from the life I was living, and the feelings which burdened me. My father’s response to this? “only demon possessed people cut themselves.”
After I turned 18, I got a little bolder. I was set to a line: make a big change, or just actually die. So, I moved away a few states in with my mother’s mother, but it wasn’t any better. Her husband tried to interact with me in sexual manners. She would threaten me daily, mostly about things I had no control over. There were good moments with my grandmother, but typically it felt like another version of home life. Most things wrong was due to lack of god, while a few were my own uselessness and just to spite her. As if my whole life must revolve around pleasing the feelings and ideology of those who would control my every choice.
These people who would claim this God of love, only ever sought to control my life without helping me to live my life. I abandoned this false hope so many years ago. I tried to claim that hope back in the few years after I moved, but it quickly dwindled. I cannot force myself to believe such a being exists when there is nothing to show it. A book of letters and rumours, rewritten countless times over, is supposed to be the proof of this god. This book of promises, a love letter, they call it, is empty. Every promise left unfulfilled, is a broken and empty promise.
I never found comfort in the Christian bible, nor in the Christian faith, nor in the Christian god. It was only ever empty. I would read this book which tells me how useless and completely corrupt I am. How I am completely helpless to the whims of this being who would reportedly nearly kill a people for complaining or being scared. How am I supposed to trust in this being when I am constantly told I’m unworthy to even be considered, to be a thought in the mind of this god.
I struggled with the burden of going against my family’s beliefs, knowing I would probably be near shunned for doing so. I struggled with the burden of a life purpose outside of pleasing my parents. I struggled. I struggled alone, until I took a chance on a man who taught me it is okay to struggle. Taught me that I am good enough, I’m worthy to live. He taught me I get to make my own choices, and that includes what I believe, and that choice is okay.
He encouraged me to seek professional help for my depression and anxiety. He encourages me every day to just be who I am, do what I want to do, and to follow my dreams and desires. I have gone on medication, in talk therapy, and I feel better. All the god in the earth and beyond never made me feel like living. I even searched into other religions and found nothing of great comfort to believe in, but I discovered how wonderful meditation is.
In the Christian religion I felt small and trapped, which is how you are supposed to feel so that you trust in the Christian god to fix it. I am not small, I am not trapped. I am a freed soul who seeks knowledge, the betterment of life for all creatures, and the enjoyment of living. I still struggle, but it’s okay. Struggle and mistakes are a part of learning; in life as a whole, it is learning who you want to be and who you are.