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20 something y/o lost girl

By Tess ~

If you told me two years ago that how someone that loves God so much can one day lose their faith in Christianity, I would have thought that would be impossible.... 2 years later, today at the age of 22, I am struggling to tell my family and friends that I no longer believe in God. When i think about telling them I worry about losing my best friends who are all Christians , disappointing my parents and losing the love ones around me. For the past year or so I had continued to go to church and small groups just to see my friends and pretend that I am a great Christian though in my mind bible studies, praying and worship means nothing to me. It has been a long time of pretending and I know that eventually I need to tell the truth. It's painful to think about the outcome and every time I think of telling them I cry. So instead I have avoid it.

It all started at the age of 19 when I went through some difficult times at university, stress and anxiety. I started making lame excuses not to go to bible studies every week and eventually chose to work on Sunday's so I can avoid going to church. At that point I knew I was struggling with my faith but never spoke out because I knew how judgemental people are and would gossip about it. So every now and then I would go back to church just so I can see my friends and pretend everything is fine.

At 20 I continued to attend church and bible studies each week. As months and months went by my friends' faiths continue to grow whereas my spiritual growth never changed for me. As everyone's spiritual life was growing closer to God meant that things in church and bible studies were changing. People started taking turns leading bible studies, church session were interactive and started praying out loud in group which puts pressure on me and this made me feel uncomfortable. End of 2014 I went on my first trip overseas to Europe to get away from things. I came back in December and the next few months was summer holidays. Church was quiet and no small groups. Just non related church hang outs with friends.

February 2015 came along quickly, school started which meant small group and regular church times started again. This point I still attended church but definitely knew I was an atheist. I completed my last semester at Uni and was the hardest couple of months with stress and the thought of self harm, but only just thoughts. I know that if I continue to live my life as a lie to my family and friends, I would not be able to take it anymore. In March I applied for a job in America and knew it was a perfect time for a gap year after I graduated and to get away from my current life. I left for my gap year in July 2015 and have never been happier. No stress of impressing my friends or family of pretending to be a good Christian going to church and small group.

I am now 22 still on my gap year travelling. It's March 2016 , been on my OE for 8 months and I have two more months before I return home. Currently I am on the train to Budapest writing this holding back tears. I have tried writing this in words many times in the past but have always failed and end up crying instead. I have come to the realisation that time is running out before I return home to face reality.

Telling the truth is always the hardest, knowing that this may upset people and may even lose the close relationships with family and friends. Lots and doubts and questions to face as this has always been a secret kept to myself for 2 years now.

But wish me luck!!!