Funniest text of my LIFE:
Aunt: hey, kendrick told me you’re a JEW?! Is dat 4real?! :-O
Me: lol what?! Where did he get that from?
Aunt: khetty! He said you’re not SDA anymore and you converted to Jew.
Me: oh wow. No, not a Jew.
Aunt: den what? Allah?
Me: no….jesus. But I do love buddha. Maybe that’s what they meant. Smh.
Aunt: u a muslim? Hindu?
Me: woy. nope, christian
Aunt: what kind?
Me: that’s it
Me: I don’t claim it. You gotta be a christian before a denomination.
Working on that first.
Aunt: oooooookkkkkk! Nice 2 hear ya
Me: lol. That is so funny. I hope everyone is enjoying the trip.
Aunt: u comn
Me: nah. I can’t take off work. My sister is later, though
Aunt: aiight. Ko nee she wa! Chow!
Me: lol bye
That was sincerely sent to me by my aunt. SMH.
Disclaimer: this post is not to offend anyone practicing the SDA faith. please, if you feel that it is the religion for you, press on. these thoughts are solely from my own experiences and have no reflection upon the religion itself.
I’ve stalled on writing this post for a very long time for several reasons:
- It’s awkward talking about religion. It makes people uncomfortable and no one will comment on this post.
- It goes against how I was raised and what I was raised to believe.
- Guilt. I feel like I’m letting my family down.
- My thoughts were just jumbled.
- I’m still unsure. This is a transitional/learning phase of my adult life.
I can’t remember the exact date but it’s been almost two years since I’ve decided not to call myself a Seventh Day Adventist. I may be “out” to a lot of my friends but I’m not out to my parents. Way to put it out there on the internet, right?
*Waits while some crazy Haitian calls my parents*
I figured that my personal relationship with Christ means so much to me, I should share what I believe with you all. Especially for those, like my aunt, and other people who can’t seem to ask me directly (I don’t bite or get offended easily).
I got baptized in the Seventh Day Adventist faith when I was 14 years old. I was actually born in the faith. I’m not sure why I got baptized at the time. It was a very large crusade going on and it seemed like the most appropriate thing to do. And for a while, I was very happy. Of course I went back to my teenage ways after the newness of baptism wore off.
“I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on the water.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
I moved to Atlanta in 1999, the middle of my freshman year of high school. PISSED. Fast forward. I met some cool people from church that I’m still friends with today. But church itself was not fun. Back home, we had Vespers on Friday nights. We had potluck style lunch after church on Saturdays or we went to a friend’s house to take a nap before rehearsals and AYS. We stayed at church ALL NIGHT on Saturdays. We’d have game nights and fritays. The ice cream truck even came to the church parking lot after Sabbath closed. It was fun. And on Sundays, there was Adventurer Club and Pathfinders. We actually went TO THE STREETS to collect money. We held car wash fundraisers. I mean, it was a real fulfilling weekend. So much so, I dreaded school just so that I could do the weekend all over again. Not only did I get to spend time with my closest friends but church was actually fun. But I didn’t get that connection in Atlanta, truthfully. Loved my friends but I wasn’t feeling the churches here. I guess it didn’t help that I chose not to participate in anything but I honestly didn’t feel moved to do so.
As I got to explore myself in college, my disconnect with organized religion became more apparent. Until finally about two years ago, I realized I couldn’t call myself a Seventh Day Adventist when I didn’t even know what that meant, or desired to. I struggled between wanting to live a worldly lifestyle and still being a cool Christian. I didn’t want to be extreme on either parts. Elizabeth Gilbert described what I was feeling best in Eat Pray Love:
“So when the old man asked me in person what I really wanted, I found other, truer words. “I want to have a lasting experience of God,” I told him. “Sometimes I feel like I understand the divinity of this world, but then I lose it because I get distracted by my petty desires and fears. I want to be with God all the time. But I don’t want to be a monk, or totally give up worldly pleasures. I guess what I want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also devote my life to God.”
Now, my focus has changed yet again. GROWTH is SO important, y’all. After reading The Shack (and several articles, books and motivational blog posts), I’m more convinced (and convicted) than ever that my journey right now is the ideal one for me. Structured religion is not for me. I’ve tried it and I did not feel God there. I felt like I was being taught to fear God as this meanie who would strike me dead if I didn’t follow the rules. All that did was confuse who I was beginning to understand I was with who I thought God wanted me to be.
I started attending Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church with a friend and was immediately drawn to the openness of the service. I was struck that people came in regular clothes to church. You mean no huge church hats? No itchy stockings? No modest length skirts and dresses? I can actually come in with jeans and a t-shirt and worship and still be accepted?! WHOA. Sign me up. I recently also began attending Buckhead church after watching a Love, Sex and Dating series. Even more laid back. In these two churches, I experienced a deeper understanding and respect for Communion and how we are to be as children of the King.
But most importantly, I’m starting to desire that relationship with God. Sometimes I don’t even go to church, and that’s okay for me. Because God is wherever I am. He lives in me. I can’t go to church Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and expect to be complete based off of a service. I didn’t. It is the work and life I lived when I stepped out of those doors that I realized God was concerned about. I had to stop worrying about what other people would think (although this is STILL difficult). Let me tell you, people will judge you and have their opinions all they want but guess what? The only opinion that matters is God’s. I love my parents with all of my heart. They brought me into this world. But when the time of judgment comes, my parents won’t be able to save me. Salvation is a personal journey. God Himself gave us free will.
In essence, I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m changing. I’m developing into the person that I want God to be proud of. I’m drowning out the noise of people who don’t agree with my walk. But in all honesty, I’ve never felt more closer to God. And that’s all that matters to me.
“Look for God. Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love