Religion and Deeper Meaning
(my honest reflections written down over the last couple of weeks and shared with you today.)
What kind of religious person am I? Growing up in the mormon faith? What do I focus on? What do I value and where is my heart in life, relationships and religion?
I Focus primarily on relationship with God and Christ and spiritual growth & awareness
I make it a habit to continue to learn from Christ’s life and example and try to understand how to better be like him/emulate his example, the love and compassion he showed.
I see and hear church policies and procedures, guides, recommendations and encouragements given… I do my best to always see the bigger picture of it and try to learn more to understand where they are coming from, give myself space to ponder on things, ask questions and trust myself and the gift of personal revelation just to know what it correct for me.. Thinking, pondering and praying for answers are always very nurturing to my spirit.
I realize and acknowledge that a church is an organized structure with completely imperfect human leaders who put forth a ton of effort, but make a lot of mistakes, say the wrong things, make quick judgment calls, etc. And we also have that pattern throughout our flawed history. And even though teachers, leaders, etc. are trying their best to teach us, they don’t always do it “perfectly.”
And I think it’s ok to completely disagree at times and stay true to what’s correct for you, but still show up in love and faith for all of the good and amazing things that are there for you. Understanding that no one really “knows it all.” And that’s why we are here to try and figure it out together.
I enjoy and focus primarily on Sunday worship and making time to read and pray and connect with God throughout the week. I don’t enjoy, and engage very little in church related activities and events such as relief society super Saturday, etc. I also don’t enjoy ministering or callings. It’s not very nurturing to my spiritual growth (I think because it is assigned rather than truly volunteered and my heart doesn’t feel the same as doing something because I felt guided to do it) but I also understand why it’s like this.) and I think it makes space again for utilizing personal revelation. I enjoy giving and serving much more on a spontaneous inspired level.
I also don’t hold family prayer and scripture study daily. Not that we never do, but it’s not a “routine” for us. We’ve tried it, and none of us really enjoyed it and it usually felt “forced.” But we love teaching the kids one on one to pray and read a scripture or two and develop that personal relationship with Christ. We enjoy praying over meals, and an occasional game night/quick light lesson family night. It feels very supportive to our family and personalities.
My favorite Sunday is testimony meeting when I just get to just sit and listen to everyone else’s perspectives of the gospel and their relationship with Christ, where they are at, what they are learning, what the church, ward, temple, Joseph smith, Book of Mormon means to them. I see and hear more than words in these meetings. I learn a lot by observing with heart in these meetings. I also love sharing my current testimony and spiritual discoveries on those days.
I read the Book of Mormon, Bible, d&c, etc. almost daily for 15-25 minutes. I pray, and sometimes don’t say words. I give myself time to listen and feel and try to change up my prayers and the way I pray (helps me really think about It instead of going through the motions.) And being in nature is the most nurturing for my spirit. I think deeply, I feel calm and relaxed and just find myself having conversations with God, whether spoken or in silence… it’s like the perfect environment for me to connect spiritually.
So I guess you could say, my testimony of the gospel and my relationship with God is my primary focus… and my testimony is not so much of the “church” and it’s leaders and policies and practices, but rather of having more faith in God and Christ, and what kind of actions, behaviors and life practices follow those examples and teachings? But I do feel like many things about the church support and guide my relationship with my savior, and that is what I focus on. Because I feel so much truth when I truly pray on that question.
Someone once shared with me that, “when he was a Bishop, he’d say, put your cigarette out at the door and come in.” In other words, come as you are, just show up, put the effort forward and Christ will make up the difference. And I think in modern day times, we put far too much emphasis on being perfect. And you can’t be a member if you aren’t checking all of the boxes and doing every “exact”… but I don’t believe that’s it at all. I feel like that’s as far off as we can get. Because weare all human, and Christ knew we could never be perfect in this life. And that our only task was to have faith in and rely on him and simply put one foot in front of the other at times and come as we are, where we are… even if it means not doing “all the things.” Effort is still effort, and it all counts.
I also realize that many of us were brought up in the church in an extreme “letter of the law, my way or highway teaching” and it really left a lot of scars and lack of trust in self, in personal revelation and one on one connection with God and gave no space to feel out what was correct for us personally. And I think that’s still something a lot of us are striving to find.
I also believe there is so much we don’t know in this life, and for the most part we are just running around blind. But I also believe we are doing our best, and there is no one right path for everyone… that everyone needs to learn to trust themselves, find out for themselves and learn and experience what they need to learn in this life. And if all we ever do is truly learn to love God and love each other, we will be ok.
Grateful every day we have the opportunity to choose what is right and correct for us… and continue to learn and grow in faith and love. My deepest desire is to continue to expand my perspectives with knowledge and experience and faith…. And continue to grow and learn in compassion and understanding of myself and others as we all navigate through this life.
Much Love on your spiritual journey,