|Lost, Found, Fallen
Author: Katie Nicole PM
Now you know why.Rated: Fiction T - English - Spiritual - Words: 1,088 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-22-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2625366
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: A real essay I wrote .. a cause and effect paper for Senior English, haha. All true. And no names have been changed.
Jan. 7, 2009
Lost, Found, Fallen
What would you do if, at a time when you felt crestfallen and insignificant, someone told you that your life was important? That you meant something so great that your significance could not be summarized in any earthly language, because you alone are worth more than the earth? Like me, you would probably be sucked right in, entranced by the idea of a meaningful life. This was the proposal that lured me into Christianity.
I was not always a Christian. In fact, ideas such as faith, religion, and purpose meant little to me when I was fourteen. What did matter more than anything was my boyfriend at the time, Ethan Brown. I was entranced by him – more than any girl my age should be entranced by a boy. But things at home were not too great, so Ethan became my best friend and my refuge – literally the center of my life.
While we were dating, Ethan invited me to his church. I was wary about it, but since he wanted me to go, I did. I was sort of nervous, but the people in his youth group were kind and welcoming, and we had a good time. I began attending simply because it was fun and the kids there were nice, not to mention any opportunity to spend time with Ethan was worthwhile.
That is, until the unthinkable happened. After a continuous pattern of on-and-off dating tracing back to the sixth grade, Ethan broke up with me for good. I was stunned. It felt as if my whole world had come crashing down around me.
However, traumatizing though it was, I lived through the experience and took on a completely new identity. By this time I had been attending Ethan's church for some time and it was officially my church, too. I had been "saved," and although it had never meant much to me before, I needed something to depend on, then more than ever.
Thus I began my deep, close relationship with God. I became one of the most determined, devoted Christians in my youth group. I studied the Bible, brought it to school, tried my hardest to live for God and was not ashamed to admit it. When everyone else had let me down, I at least had my God to fall back on.
My non-Christian friends noticed this change in me (it was impossible not to notice) and did not quite know how to feel. I was no longer the Katie they had known all their lives, but that did not matter to me at the time. Instead I longed for praise and approval from the leaders in my youth group, particularly my pastor and his wife. I liked having positive, loving role models to look up to.
Being a faithful Christian was never easy – I was serious about being a good Christian, and fighting off temptation and sin was difficult. It is hard to say where exactly I began to lose the battle. At some point I did not quite like whom I was becoming; I felt like I was losing my personal identity to fit the universal mold of "perfect Christian." For instance, my Christian friends and church elders encouraged me to rid my life of anything that did not glorify God – I found myself discarding movies and CDs of bands I had once loved. I saw my non-Christian friends less and less because they didn't help me further my career as a Christian, and I began to take on the political opinions of others in my church before I ever had time to form those opinions by myself.
For a long time the sacrifices I made to be a good Christian seemed necessary and even normal – until I took a step back and reexamined myself. I realized that I hated battling normal teenage desires and interests because my church had declared them to be sinful. I was repressing my own wants to please the church. I missed my movies, my music, and my friends. I missed making choices for myself without having to check with my pastor. I felt as though I lost myself. And although I maintained a close relationship with God throughout my entire Christian experience, I wondered if being loyal to Him was supposed to make me feel so unhappy.
Perhaps my decision to leave the church was easier because I did not need it anymore the way I needed it after Ethan broke up with me. It was as though Christianity had become my crutch, and since I was healed, it was just weighing me down. Maybe that sounds selfish or wrong, but what seemed more wrong to me was that I had to compromise my entire lifestyle to impress the people I had begun to associate with. I felt pressured to be someone I was not. "Positive" peer pressure is still peer pressure.
So I started new a second time, this time a recovering Christian. I began to live life the way I wanted, making decisions for myself, both good and bad. I did most everything my pastor warned me not to, and I have learned from my experiences and cannot say that I regret them. Just because I am no longer a Christian does not mean I am no longer a good person, because I am. I do not need religion to make decisions for me when I am perfectly capable of making them myself.
I have come a long way since my experience as a Christian. I am more independent. I have my own opinions and my own reasoning for them, I make my own choices, and I am happy with who I have become. I do not have a set of guidelines that give my life purpose; rather, I choose my purpose in life. Though I do not associate with the church today, I do not regret the time I spent as a Christian. I learned very much about the religion; I also learned that it is simply not for me. I learned about God, and am now able to ponder the likelihood of His existence and what He means to me. Though many Christians will say I "backslid," I like to think I matured – in the sense that I now think and decide for myself.