You know the phrase: Don’t talk about religion or politics are the dinner table. Well, I enjoy challenging rules and this technically isn’t 1) a dinner table or 2) a post solely about religion.
I’m sure most of us have experienced how the word religion and the word church can be triggers for people. I know when I say I’m Catholic and attend Mass regularly, I get a range of interesting reactions. Shock, amazement, admiration and disgust are a few I’ve seen on people’s faces recently. It’s a personal topic for sure, but if we don’t talk to each other about it, how will we really know what we each believe? I’d argue that organized religion is one form of church.
In the last three years or so, I’ve reconnected with my Catholic faith. The catalyst for this was my sister’s Confirmation as I was her sponsor. I’m grateful that opportunity arose so I could examine my belief system. Yes, I go to church most Sundays, I don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent and I get ashes on Ash Wednesday. Does it mean I believe everything the Catholic Church preaches? Nope, not one bit.
One size does not fit all when it comes to church. I got to Mass on Sundays as a form of meditation and to express gratitude for the beautiful life I’ve been given. It’s not the only form of church I participate in. Listening to Jen Hatmaker earlier in the Fall and similarly, listening to Michelle Obama last night, I felt connected to something bigger than myself. That, to me, is going to church. It’s about connecting to a higher power and having your faith restored in some capacity.
Faith, hope, love and peace are somewhat abstract concepts. Yet, when I go to church, whichever kind it is, I can feel and even embody those words. I am repented, I am renewed and I am ready. It’s a part of my spiritual well-being that must be replenished so I can show up each day at 100%. It also helps to build my resilience muscle so when things do go wrong, I have a place where I can draw strength from. It’s powerful and necessary in my life.
No one should tell you what or who to believe in. AND there is something powerful and almost magically about faith. It gets you through the toughest situations and brings peace. Faith, much like church, can be found anywhere within anyone at anytime. You just need to be paying attention and open to receiving it as a gift.
Regardless of how you were raised, I encourage you to pause and reflect on your spiritual well-being. How do you renew in that space? What does going to church look like to you? It only matters what you think and where you find faith, hope, love and peace. Remember, there’s no right answer and it can be a combination of places, people or things.