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I just can't continue this way

By Luke ~

Wow, I am amazed at how much I've changed over the course of two years. Here is my testimony:

Two years ago, at 17, I would immediately shut out of my mind any doubts about God's existence or His Holiness. I would never think twice about any of the Bible's teachings. I wouldn't even dare to think about having second thoughts, doubts, or disagreements, because it would lead to fear of straying off the narrow path, or just feeling guilty.

Funny, it was stressed in the church that I attended that guilt and fear were definitely NOT the reasons why you should be a Christian. Oh, I started WAY too far ahead, let's start again.

From the beginning, I was in church. My grandmother encouraged Christianity more than either of my parents did from the get-go, and it was difficult to even imagine a lifestyle where you didn't go.

As a result, I respected and loved her more than I did my parents for a long time. After all, my mother was a drug addict (to this day I don't know when it started or ended, I didn't even know about it at all until my late teens) with terrible anger problems, and my father was (and still is) a good man but I could just tell that he wasn't a radical Christian either.

I learned early on that Christians were not of this world, that I was to be different. Jesus was in me and my everyday actions should show it. So I did not watch violent cartoons, like Dragon Ball-Z or Yu-Gi-Oh. I made sure to avoid the wrong kids, which meant everyone. And I did everything I could to avoid hurting others, even if it meant not defending myself. (Self-defense or not, hitting another kid wasn't simply breaking the rules, it was sin. Though I later learned different). I had few friends, I had few hobbies, and I spent most of my time inside.

I was seen as the social outcast, heck, I VIEWED myself that way. I was the different/weird one. No close friends, other than the ONE I sometimes saw at church. I had no desire to learn to drive because I had few reasons to get out. And girls were the LAST thing on my mind (at 15,16,17 YEARS OLD).

But all through my childhood, I never felt like I was missing out on anything, because I was a Christian. These "sacrifices" made me a more genuine human than the rest. I always felt like God was watching me, and that He was pleased.

Over the course of my childhood and teen years, I was taught SO thoroughly to shut out any doubts or any non-Christian ideas. If I strayed off in the slightest than eventually I'd be surprised at how lost I'd be. I guess they were right.

And then came that day... Oh I still sometimes cannot fathom it happened.

On my senior year of high school. Sometime after school when almost all the other kids had gone home I was at the front door waiting for my ride. A girl came up to me and we ended up exchanging numbers. Though I didn't think anything of it. She then continued on her way, but before she went inside she told me "We should text." I casually nodded, oblivious. Then I found out the unfathomable... unthinkable... was reality glitching? She was INTERESTED in me.

It flew right in my face. I was taught that I shouldn't worry about girls or relationships. Especially at my age. Easy enough since I thought there were never gonna be girls that'd care about me. I was really weird, and I was supposed to be a Christian anyway. It was just NOT. Going. To. Happen. Period. But... it freaking happened.

It was overwhelming. Could I have gotten a girl friend before if I had tried? Have girls been interested in me before but I didn't notice? What other girls might care about me? girls. girls. GIRLS. (I was 17). I knew God was watching, but the whole thing was too overwhelming to care. We'd text each other late into the night. It was uncharted territory. I told her I liked her too but I wasn't even sure, I was too amazed by the whole thing and I didn't want her to go away. (Semi-jerk move, I know. But I didn't know the first thing about girls back then. Remember? Our relationship didn't last that long anyway).

I then told some of the acquaintances that I'd known for three and a half years about it. I was getting high-fives and props, and I was offered a ride to her house by two of them. I was surprised at how much I cared about their approval. It was like I could truly start calling these kids my, god-forbid I actually say it... friends.

It made me doubt if my relationship with God was worth it. Sure, I learned many lessons I hold dear to this day. But it cost me so much. I'm still learning what I actually care about rather than what was imposed that I care about by the church. I am still learning what kind of friends that I want to have rather than what I was told to have. I am still learning what love is.

Funny. When you're a Christian, love is not a choice, it's a rule. I had no room to discover the world before I was brainwashed. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this wonderful site. I'm not sure about my feelings towards God and the church. But perhaps time will tell. I WILL get my footing on the real world WITHOUT the church's "help."

The church spent so long freeing me of my sin.

In the end, I now feel freer than ever.