Fear vs. Love: How Religion Has Influenced My Life

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by religion.

My mother took me to a Baptist Church nearly every Sunday. I spent a good 20 plus years in that church, and I learned a great deal about religion there. My parents also enrolled me in a private Lutheran school where I spent 10 years of my educational life. I then went on to attend a private university that was affiliated with the Brethren Church.

So, my life has been immersed in religion and to be very honest, I enjoyed it. The truth is that I wanted so badly to have a full understanding of God, that I was glad to have experienced different variations of where this God was supposed to be found.

After college, I began learning more about Jehovah Witnesses, Pentecostalism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism. Since I was a little girl, I felt the desire to learn about God and understand as many religions as possible to ensure that I was in the “right one”.

Although I enjoyed learning about different religions, something always felt unsettled inside of me. Back then, I was unsure of what exactly felt off, but I knew without a double that something was wrong. It wasn’t until I began to face different situations and obstacles in my life that I really started to question this God I grew up worshiping and learning about.

Questioning God

For instance, I couldn’t understand why a loving God would punish a man or woman that enjoyed the love of someone of the same sex. Why would they go to hell for honoring something that comes from within?

This question came about because a man I loved dearly was gay. This man was my uncle. It wasn’t until after his death that I learned he was gay. I was so deeply hurt because based on what I was taught, he lived in sin and was going to hell because of it.

I was hurt to know that I would never see this loving soulĀ again (in this world or the next) because he was going to hell–and I didn’t have any plans on going to hell with him. I questioned God–the God I was taught to worship. The crazy thing is that I was only 6-years old at that time.

Another instance of questioning came during my freshman year in college when I had to do a speech on suicide. This situation had me thinking a great deal about suicide and what I learned growing up. I went back to the teachings of the God I was taught to worship and recalled that everyone who commits suicide goes to hell. Immediately, I questioned it.

I’d been taught that “God would never put more on you than you can bear,” and I believed it for a long time without questioning. It wasn’t until years later when someone very dear to me lost their daughter to suicide that my belief process started to waver. I knew this girl when she was little, and had been able to see her grow throughout her young life. It hurt me to the core to hear of her death, especially because it was apparently suicide.

Her death made me question God. Why is it wrong to not want to bear the life you are living? Why is it wrong to want to end it, and to end it because it’s unbearable? It was at a point of time when my own life came to be unbearable that I took a deeper look into a quote I’d been hearing all my life, “He will never put more on you than you can bear.” Funny to say, but that’s a lie.

Nowhere–and I mean NOWHERE–in the bible does it say that God will NEVER put more on you than you can bear. The reality is that He just gave us a choice to stick it out and make the best of it or to choose another alternative.

So, I Stopped Believing

At that point, I somewhat stopped believing in this God I was taught mainly to fear. I questioned everything dealing with Him. I knew I believed in a higher being, I just wasn’t sure his name was God. My life was so fucked up at that time, to put it frankly, that I wasn’t sure there was a God. Why would the God I was taught about want me to experience this pain and agony? Things got so bad that death was more appealing to me than life. But at the time I had 4 beautiful babies to raise, and wouldn’t dare put that responsibility on my parents.

So, I decided to tough it out. For a period of time, about 7 years, I stopped talking to God.

It wasn’t until my oldest son, who is not born to me but my son nonetheless, asked me a very important question: “Do I love God or do I fear Him?”

Wow, I said to myself. What a powerful question!

The Question of Fear vs. Love

That conversation was the beginning piece to this God puzzle I’ve been trying to put together for so long. As it turns out, all these years I did not love God. I wasn’t taught to love Him. I was taught to fear Him.

I was taught that He loved me, but I was to fear Him. It was with this conversation that I began my journey to find My TRUTH. I said to myself, “I would rather die believing in something to find out there’s nothing, then to believe there’s nothing, to find out there’s something.”

I started attending church again, faithfully hoping to learn to love God. During a Sunday service, a guest speaker said something along these lines, “Even animals know what sex they are and to only have sex with the opposite sex.” I was upset by this comment mostly because I hate when people speak of things they don’t truly understand in front of a group of people that are feeding off their words.

This man clearly had no idea of the fact that there are a couple of different animal species that change sex and sexual orientation during their life time–now how would he explain that?

How dare he or any of us pass judgment when judgment is not ours to give. Once again, I questioned the God I was taught about.

Then, by some divine intervention, I was granted an opportunity to spend a month in Canada without the distraction of raising my 5 beautiful babies. For the first time in a long time, I had an opportunity to soul search.

Soul Searching…

I finally felt myself connect to the words of Abraham Hicks, Neale Donald Walsch, Lester Leveson, and a few others. Everything I always felt deep in me was right. I did not love God, rather, I feared Him.

I was never taught the true teachings of Him. I mean, here and there I was given a glimpse of a loving God, but I was mostly taught about a vengeful, jealous God. But now, I know God is love!

God does not pass judgment onto us. He does not punish us for something He put us here to experience, which is FREEDOM OF CHOICE, FREEDOM TO CREATE. I have allowed myself and this world to manipulate my mind and distance me from my one true purpose–Happiness.

There’s one bible verse that has always spoken to my soul–Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This verse means that we are all made in his image and that we are CREATORS.

A Final Note

I will leave you with this–Lean To Your Own Understanding. Do not live this life through the experiences, teachings, or understandings of other people. Go into your life with love and discover your truth for yourself.

If you have ever questioned the teachings of others, if anything in you has ever said this just doesn’t feel right, then pursue that feeling! It’s your soul directing you towards your truth.

While my journey will be different from yours, at the end of the day we all have the same TRUTH–We are all spiritual extensions of God having a physical experience so that we may have heaven on earth. Remember that.

God is Love,