(Views expressed herein are solely mine. Influenced by no one else, and not meant to influence any other person. Neither is this article meant to spark debate. It is just about my beliefs. Don’t throw stones)
I used to be a church goer. I say used to because ever since the year started, I have not set foot in any church whatsoever. I have so much wanted to go, but I have always had a heavy heart, or an endless list of excuses. I am afraid I moved into a new place, and the church I will choose to go will not give me the same peace I am used to getting in churches.
A few of my friends go to church. The rest believe in God but do not remember the last time they went to church. And they all have their reasons as to why. And it is not in my position to judge them. But sometimes, I try to understand them. Something close to this.
Me: You going to church tomorrow?
Them: No. Why should I go and give someone else my money?
Me: Who told you it is your money they want?
Them: Why do you go to church?
Me: Because the level of peace I get when in there is unmatched.
Them: Then you go.
And I love to end these kinds of conversations there because just like them, I don’t think going to church depicts in any way how religious a person is. Myself, I go to church because I pray harder when in church. I sing from the depths of my heart. And sometimes, it just feels good to listen to someone speak, and you seated there taking it in.
I don’t know whether I am religious. I am still struggling to find my stand in all this. After high school, after constantly having someone on the look out to ensure I went to church, I stopped for a while to think what all that meant. Whether I even had a connection with God Himself in the first place. Did I believe in His existence? Yes, I did. And what did that mean? I honestly did not know.
So, I let life take its own course. Then this one time I was reading my Bible and noticed there was somewhere written people should be baptised, and it really hit me. I was twenty-one years old by then, and I was sure I was not yet baptised.
Me: Why haven’t I been baptised yet?
Mum: That is your question to answer. Not mine.
Me: I am serious. Why?
Mum: I think because you have not yet attended baptismal classes. Those require time. And you clearly have none.
I will talk about that some other day, but at that time, I really felt I needed to be baptised, and nothing was going to stop me. I don’t know why, but my father came in handy and organised everything and within a week, I was immersed in water.
I remember the feeling to this date, though it faded out as quickly as it came. Part of me was happy I was baptised, but a greater part of me was scared that I had been baptised in a different church, yet I go to another one.
But years later, I let go of all that was bothering me. I realised spirituality only lay between myself and God. Slowly, I learnt how to talk to Him. How to cry to Him in silence, how to trust Him even during the most difficult situations. To believe that He meant the best for me, even when my prayers went unanswered.
I developed a more sincere connection with God over time. I realised I could easily ask for forgiveness whenever I wronged. That I could pray and He would be willing to listen. That I was still His favourite despite all that I have been through. That at the end, the only person responsible for my life will be me; not my mum, not my friends, not the church.
I pray. Not much. But I do get on my knees and pray. When I go to church, I don’t bother to listen to whatever my neighbour is praying for. Or what they are wearing. Or what the preacher wants us to do. Sometimes, I give offering according to what I have. There have been weeks I have survived with only one hundred shillings on me, and I have had nothing to give as offering. But that did not stop me from praying.
I know there is God somewhere, watching over me just the same way He watches over everyone else, regardless of religious affiliations. I know because there is no time He has disappointed me. He has often kept me waiting for quite some time, but has never failed to deliver.
And I love Him from the bottom of my heart.
See you tomorrow!