“Free, like a river raging. Strong, as the wind I’m facing. Chasing dreams and racing father time. Deep, like the grandest canyon. Wild, like an untamed stallion. If you can’t see my heart you must be blind. You can knock me down and watch me bleed, but you can’t keep no chains on me. I was born free!” -Born Free (Kid Rock)
I remember very vividly not liking church when I was a child. I might have liked Sunday school, but church itself never thrilled me. I didn’t like sitting there listening to the minister talk, because I found it too boring. I also didn’t enjoy the singing of the choir; the songs sounded so forlorn. And…even at a young age, I had this sense that people were attending a service for one hour on Sunday to make up for all the ‘bad’ stuff they did the rest of the week (like gossiping about others in the community). It never made much sense to me.
Yesterday, I went to church for the first time in years (for a baptism). I found it very difficult to listen to the minister because almost everything he spoke about was fear based. He talked about how we can’t allow people to think for themselves or make their own rules because then things would get out of hand and how we must follow the bible because it’s the “absolute truth”. (Never mind that each religious group interprets it a little bit differently.) He then went on to say that they (as a church) weren’t judgemental, although he was condemning those who don’t attend church every Sunday. It felt like hypocrisy – ‘do as I say, not as I do’. It certainly didn’t inspire me to go back.
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” ~Abraham Lincoln~
I’m not saying people who attend church are bad; I know lots of amazing people who go on a regular basis. And I don’t have anything against people who believe in God either (or those who don’t actually). I personally don’t like using the word God, although I do believe in a higher power/spirit/angels, etc. But most of the experiences I’ve had at church make me feel shackled, and I’m a girl who enjoys being free to think and do what I want. My philosophy on life has nothing to do with praying in a certain building on a certain day; it has everything to do with trying my best to be a good person every day and treating people, animals, and the planet with kindness and respect.
Am I going to tell you that you have to believe what I do in order for you to live a good life? Absolutely not! You get to choose what you believe. What would I invite you to do? Remove limitations, and replace judgement with acceptance. It’s ok if someone has a different way of living than you. Live your own life by following what feels right for you (and allow others to do the same). You never have to feel like you ‘can’t, should, shouldn’t, have to’ do something. Those words are blasphemous. If something resonates with you, great! If it doesn’t, great! Think for yourself, align with your soul, take the shackles off, and be free!
“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ~Robert A. Heinlein~