This year has brought a lot of spiritual growth for me. Here’s how I’ve started finding spirituality and coming back to God, and how it’s changing my life.
I have a pretty good “God story.” So cool that if you would have asked me my views on church and religion a year ago, I would have laughed. And now, here I am, telling you all about finding my faith, getting my kids baptized, and getting plugged into a church.
My story spans a solid decade and now that it seems to have come full circle, I see so many ways that God has been calling me home for years while I fight Him.
I’m not going to share the whole thing with you today, because it’s long. Complicated. And I want to give it the attention and space it deserves. But…it’s a cool story, and one day, I’ll tell it.
For now, though, I hope you’ll settle for the highlights. The story of me finding my faith again after over 15 years. It’s a story I want to document, both for my own personal benefit and the benefit of anyone else struggling on this journey.
You see, I grew up Catholic, participated in my church’s youth group, joined my school’s Future Christians of America, and was all-around your typical young, white Christian female.
At 17, something shifted in me, though, and I completely walked away from the church. That’s also a story for another day, but it’s the catalyst to this one.
I lived the next 18 years calling myself spiritual. I believed in something, I just wasn’t sure what it was. In fact, I distinctly remember telling someone in my early twenties: “There are so many religions in the world, and they’re all 100% positive that they have it right. How do we know ours is better than theirs? What if we’re all right?”
It all started with my anxiety.
After I had Charlotte, who’s now five, I started suffering from anxiety. At first, I thought it was postpartum hormones, but five years later, I think it’s just my new normal.
The thing about anxiety is, I can recognize it for what it is. I know when it’s my anxiety making me irrational, but I can’t do anything to calm myself down. Reminding myself that it’s anxiety does absolutely nothing to quell those feelings. It’s taken some really intentional growth and self care to get my mental health back to a semi-stable place, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know it’s something I still deal with.
One of the ways I’d found to combat my anxiety was yoga. I started practicing a few years ago, and when I first started, my biggest priority was to calm the chaos I was feeling inside. Of course, yoga is not a religion, but for me, I do think it helped bring me back to religion. It helped me in my journey for spiritual growth, and I think the reflection it brought into my life helped me pinpoint exactly what was missing.
Another way I started combating my anxiety was with a journal. I wrote furiously every morning. I poured my heart out into this notebook, because I had to let those thoughts flow somewhere. Looking back, I guess you could say those journal entries were kind of prayers, but I didn’t look at them that way back then. They were just reflections, gratitude, and comforting words. I’d journal my feelings, work out problems, and write daily mantras.
Those daily mantras started with “I am enough,” evolved into, “be still,” and eventually, “trust.” I look back now and realize these were messages to me, but at the time, they were just words that got me through the day.
My Focus on Spiritual Growth
Two years ago, I heard about this whole lifestyle called “OOLA.” It seems to be a mostly Young Living thing, but I was intrigued. I read their book, OOLA for Women. It’s all about finding balance in 7 key areas of your life. At the end of the book, you give yourself a little quiz to see which areas are out of balance. (Read my review and more info on the book here). Guess which one of mine was the most off-kilter? If you guessed “faith,” you’d be right.
I set a goal in that moment to find faith in something and find a community that supported it within five years. Crazy how that happens, right? At the time, I wasn’t expecting it to be Christianity, or faith in God. But…He had other plans, apparently.
I read anything and everything I could get my hands on to help me find what I was looking for.
As time went on, I found that I was getting a lot of comfort out of reading scriptures. Not in the bible. No. I wasn’t reading that, and I don’t think I’d have been ready for it if someone even suggested it.
But, a lot of the people I followed on social media shared them all the time. Gradually, it felt less awkward to stumble across those messages, and more comforting. I started writing them in my journal without even realizing it. Those scriptures are still the ones I turn to when I’m having a bad day.
Now, I’m studying the Bible for the first time in my adult life. I’m keeping a prayer journal. We’re going to church as a family, and the kids are even getting baptized in a few weeks. My journey really has come full circle. I feel like I’ve fit that final piece into a puzzle I’ve been struggling with for nearly two decades.
Devotionals and Books that Helped me Grow
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I’ve been reading books on personal development for years. The last six months or so, I noticed the books I was choosing were focused on helping me grow spiritually.
Going to church has been great for me, don’t get me wrong. But my real spiritual growth – the part where I develop a real relationship with God – has been happening at home, during my quiet times in the mornings. Bible study and devotionals have become a vital part of my morning routine, and I feel like something is missing when I skip it.
Some of the books I feel have helped with this growth are:
- Seamless: Understanding the Bible as a Complete Story
- 100 Days to Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self
- Epic by John Elridge
- Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Elridge (I’ve cried several times reading this)
I’m not going to lie. This post has been sitting in my drafts for over a month. I’ve been feeling called to share a little bit of my story, but let’s face it, the idea is intimidating.
Part of my hesitancy is because I don’t want to alienate any readers who don’t feel the same. I know 2 years ago, I would have felt really uncomfortable if a blog I’d been reading suddenly started posting a lot of religious content when they weren’t before.
Another part of my hesitancy to share is because this is so personal. It’s my story, and it’s not for public consumption. I didn’t want it to become part of my platform, because that just feels icky to me.
But, I’m making an effort to be more open about it with others. I hope it will not only help me strengthen my own faith, but also encourage others who have been walking the same path as I have. Something about being publicly vulnerable about something so deep and personal is kind of magic. The burden lifts, and you become free to really be yourself without worry.
I want to show this side of myself to my readers, because it’s a part of me. A big part, and an important part. And I want it to encourage others to seek out their own faith journey, whatever that means to them.
Of course, I’m well aware that my God is not the god that everyone worships, and that doesn’t matter one bit to me. I personally think it’s fantastic that we all have such different walks of faith, and different ways to worship. So, if your version of finding faith is different than mine, that’s amazing, too. Like one of my favorite quotes says, “We’re all climbing the same mountain. We’re just taking different paths to reach the top.”