Tag Archives: faith

Why I Became Agnostic

Disclaimer: This is my personal journey. In no way do my words reflect the whole of the Christian experience.

It hurt. The cycle of expectation/praying/waiting and reward/punishment/trial had a huge psychological toll on me to the point where I hated being alive. My mind was a hall of screams with fingers scraping for a way out of my head, a way out of my body. The expectation of something good that accompanies having good faith collapsed into anguish and personal disappointment when things went awry. One day, I prayed too hard, fasted too much, and subjected my reality to the deepest and most intimate form of God’s existence. The result? A near nervous breakdown. I cried all day and night, so paralyzed by anguish that my mother had to change my clothes. I had taken faith too far and doing so almost cracked my mind.

After that episode, I made a conscious decision to step away from faith and religion. I stopped expecting. I stopped expecting both good and bad things. I expect nothing. If something good happens, I celebrate it. If something bad happens, I mourn, but I mourn without being crushed. I move on quickly, knowing that this is life. Good and bad things happen. This allows me to live more in the present instead of in the future. With faith, it was always about living in the future: future life, future rewards, future home, future everything. I was so deeply ingrained in the future that I was unaware of my own hatred for the present, and this hatred disturbed my mind and poisoned my desire for living consciously, for living in the now. Death took on a different role. Death was truly the end. How can I say that? Because it is. Death is the end of this life, and although it’s not a perfect life, it is still my life. And I want to appreciate every day of it. I couldn’t do that with faith. My present state of mind doesn’t think it can. Doesn’t want to if I am to be honest.

I’m not going to say things have become easier since becoming agnostic. Life is still an asshole. As always. But it also has some good things. And those good things have magnified in importance because death has also grown more important to me. I will say that being free from the cycle of expectation/praying/waiting and rewards/punishment/trial has given me more peace of mind. I still pray. I know, sounds contradictory, but I pray in another way. I pray only for protection for my family and friends and to express gratitude. To whom do I pray? God, the universe, life, nature. I still believe something greater is beyond the sky, just not in the same way that I’ve been taught.

And what about salvation? That my soul will burn in hell if I reject the blood of Christ, more so for me since I knew the truth? A greater punishment awaits people like me as written in the Bible. Truly I have committed the greatest sin: grieving the Holy Spirit. I no longer function in that reality. I don’t believe in hell or heaven. Maybe when I get older and the gravity of death proves too much for me to bear, I will shift back into that reality and seek solace from it. Or maybe I won’t. I only know the now. And that’s enough for me.

Stay Amazing,

Sammy

A Question of Healing

Where do you go for healing when what you once used to heal yourself no longer exists? This question has been harassing my mind since I lost my faith, my main source of self-healing. I’m trying to figure out whether I can still keep the parts that helped and let go of the parts that didn’t. I don’t know what that would look like, but I think I have an idea. Maybe I can run with it and find some answers. I’m considering Buddhism. I just need an outlet for all the negativity and hopelessness that life piles on day after day. A conduit or vacuum that can suck it all out and refresh my soul for a time before the next boost.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t lost my faith. I could just let go all of my problems and leave them at God’s doorstep and let Him take care of it. The Psalms would give me solace in the darkest of times. However, despite it all, I feel and believe it was necessary for me to lose my faith to grow as a person. I’ve become more aware of who I am such as identifying my deepest fears and weaknesses. I see things in my character that faith use to keep me from noticing and understanding. And what’s the benefit of knowing thyself? Better interactions with people. Better decision-making for the future overall in many of the important aspects of life—career paths, relationships, and general attitude.

I think in some way I’m letting the bad things that happen just be sometimes. For instance, my bike was stolen at the hostel where I live and although I’m angry at myself for not locking it because I didn’t think anyone staying at a hostel would steal a bike, I told myself worrying and being sad about it wouldn’t bring it back. I’ve taken the necessary steps of alerting the front desk. If it comes back, it comes back. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ll get a new bike in the future and learn from this mistake to prevent it from happening again. Be a better person. I want to take each bad thing that happens and turn it into something that can improve my life in the future. I don’t want to let any event cripple me in anger, sadness, or self blame. Life already sucks without me adding more negatives to it.

Until I can figure out what I need to do to address the spirituality hole left from my losing my faith, I can take comfort in one true thing: writing heals me too. Writing heals. Something about pouring out all my troubling thoughts in writing cleanses the pain and emotional gunk stuck in the gears of my heart. Once I write it down, I feel like I’m restarting again, capable of moving forward. It’s an understatement to say that writing saves my life everyday. It does in ways that I have yet to understand. Maybe that’s what makes me me.

How about you? How do you reboot your soul?

Stay amazing,

Sammy

Reset to Zero

I’m not exactly sure how I ended up here. I had imagined my life to be different, to be elsewhere right now. But life has a way of surprising you with detours when you least expect them, and you find yourself living in a hostel in downtown Boston instead of somewhere in Southern California. I’ve been madly craving the west coast for a while now, but I can’t seem to get myself there. And now I’ve decided to go to grad school here in Boston. As if I needed any more reason to endure another New England winter. My life is in a total flux, and only I can save myself from whatever impending doom awaits me before the fall semester. I’ve got only one hope now. My writing. I’ve written a book, and I think it’s good. I just hope I can get some agents to bite, just one person to give me a chance. That’s all I need, I believe, to propel myself forward to the future my heart desires. It won’t be easy, and I never for one second thought it would be…okay, I did once. When I had faith.

When I had faith, I thought the world would fall at my feet. I must have been delusional or something. I was delusional. Illogical. Naïve. And with eyes so bright that I was too blind to see myself stumbling down a dark hole of stupidity and failure. That’s one of the main reasons why I gave up my faith. I believed too much. I had limitless faith that God would help me as long as I did my part. Wrong. There’s no one there to do the extra 50% to my 100%. I had to do it all. 150% and then some.

I can understand why people would cling to their faith, however. It’s scary to accept that there’s no one out there beyond the sky looking out for you. That you’re all alone and that your life is left to chaos. Sometimes even random events. Nothing is for sure. And the only eternity you experience is death. But I’m not afraid of death. I know I’m made up of the stuff of the stars; that I’m made up of this earth. When I die, I simply return to where I began. And that’s okay. All I can do now while I’m alive is make the best of this life by loving my family, friends, others, and myself. And making a lasting change that benefits society in some way. That’s the meaning I have in life. The meaning I make.

The road stretches before me, beckoning, asking, “Where will you go?” I answer, forefinger pointing toward the horizon, “To where beauty lives.”

How about you? Where will you go?

san diego mountains
Mt. Woodson Trail, San Diego, CA

 

 

 

Stay amazing,

Sammy

 

Doubt

“If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ― Yann MartelLife of Pi

“Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.” ― Frederick Buechner

 

“Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together.”  ― Søren Kierkegaard

“Life is doubt, And faith without doubt is nothing but death.” ― Miguel de Unamuno

Why am I posting all these quotes on doubt? I’ve been struggling with doubt lately, and quite frankly, it scares me. It’s not my desire to give in to the void, to give into to a world where there is no God. I don’t want to live in such a world. I would much rather kill myself now if I knew I existed in such a world. I don’t want to fall into the black, cold, and heartless void of nothing. To see life as a random event. To accept that the universe in all its glory, vastness, and complexity is also just a random event. It chills my bones, and grief overtakes me at the thought. Why live? Why struggle? Why run when the end of the race leads only to eternal death with nothing thereafter?

Death. I don’t want it to have the final say. I want it conquered. Eternal life. I don’t even know what that means but I do know I prefer it to eternal death.

I talked to God about my doubt. I told him I felt that He was in the process of abandoning me. I told him I was tired. Alone. Jaded. And worst, losing what I had once believed was a reserve of endless optimism. I have a whole blog dedicated to uplifting and encouraging the soul, but sometimes I feel nothing I try can win.

I ask God what I’ve done wrong? Tell me how to make it right. I get a response in my heart that surprises me.  It has nothing to do with right or wrong, but rather it has everything to do with character. At the end of this dark period in my life, who will I be? A woman who has given up on her faith because it was too hard, or a woman who has acknowledged her weakness and chose to persevere, coming out with more strength she never knew existed?

I want to be the latter. I see myself as the latter. I know it so deeply in my heart. I still believe in God. My soul cries in anguish but hope lives on even if it’s small. I won’t give up. But in the midst of pushing myself, I need to find my joy because somehow I’ve lost it. Maybe it’s not that I have to find it. Maybe I just have to create it again. Yes, this is what I have to do.

How about you? What experience do you have with doubt? Please do share.

Stay amazing,

Sammy

I think You’re Amazing. No, really. I do.

So, by now you should know that I’m a tad obsessed with encouraging people. And then it hit me. I do it for myself too. Here’s an old letter I wrote in my old blog for those not familiar with it. 

 Image

Dear Friend,

Do you know that YOU ARE BEAUTIFULAMAZINGand a BRIGHT explosion of LIGHT in the darkness that surrounds?

Do you know how much YOU ARE LOVEDIMPORTANT, and SO PRECIOUS, oh so precious that to lose you would bring so much pain and tears?

Do not be afraid.

Stand tall because you were meant to sit a top a mountain and SHINE BRIGHT, brighter than the sun. YOUR SMILE is needed; your love, your strength, your thoughts, YOUR WORDS, and the sound of YOUR LAUGHTER create bursts of HAPPINESS and JOY all around.

I know how it is.

I too have felt the on going frustrations of this life, the push of darkness against the chest, and the rejection that comes with being different, being other, BEING YOURSELF.

I understand the pain of waiting, the conditions that say nothing will change, that you’re stuck or worse, trapped in a dark, cold pit with no way out.

I too hear the voices that whisper criticism and negativity

one.

after.

the.

other.

The whispers that tell the lie, “You will not be loved.”

NOT TRUE!
They are all but illusions that dissipate when you shake them with the earthquake of power that lies within you. 

Yes, YOU

You possess boundless strength, a heart that sees eternity, and a soul that sings melodies more beautiful than heaven’s angels.

No one on this planet can BE YOU.

No one can create the life written in your footsteps and inked in the hearts of those who:

have met you,

shared meals with you,

laughed with you,

cried with you,

dreamed with you,

danced with you,

hugged you,

kissed you,

heard your voice,

and held your held.

Do not lose HOPE. Hold on to FAITH. And do not give up on LOVE.

Continue to create DREAMS that surprise you and lift you higher without end.
Don’t let hurt from the past cramp your heart and keep it from loving again.

LOVE again.

And again.

And again.

Yes, you really are that amazing.

And it’s okay to see some things like love, friendship, failures, victories, and dreams through a simple lens. Overthinking tends to bring more harm and confusion than good.

And if you must be afraid, take a step forward anyway because you never know where you can go, who you can meet, what you can accomplish, and all the things you can see, taste, feel, and know. 

 

Life is an adventure waiting for you!

And if someone should dare belittle you or sound off all your weaknesses and make you feel less than the amazing individual you really are, know that it speaks more loudly about their insecurities, failures, and shortcomings than yours. It’s not about you, but rather them. The truth is they’re jealous of you, your dreams, your power, and the light within you that pierces through anything and anyone.

And always be true to yourself and your voice because anything else or less would be a true tragedy and a great loss. This world already has enough of both.

So please, BE YOU and share the beauty that comes along with it.

And, always remember like my amazing friend Geo once said to me, “Never, never lose your sense of HUMOR.”

Loving you,

A fellow human being  Sammy

 


Know someone in need of encouragement? Please share this with them! 🙂