Some of you may remember a post I made awhile back, Questioning My Spirituality/Religion, and I am STILL STRUGGLING.

I believe there is something/someone greater than myself however I don’t know who/what that is. I don’t know where to start to DISCOVER that for myself. I do know that I do not feel any large draw back to Paganism.

I know that ALL religious have their own set of issues within society and that it’s very well possible that I won’t ever find anything that will feel “homey” to me. However I still feel like I need… SOMETHING.

So what does one do in this situation? Who do I talk to or see? Have you ever struggled with your chosen faith?

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posted on October 18th 2010 at 9:04AM CST

I know that I myself have stepped off the Pagan path – to a degree. A couple of years ago, I met a friend online who happened to attend a nearby Unitarian Universalist Church, and I decided to meet up with her there one Sunday. She promised it wasn’t Church as I knew it. And she was right. It was a really wonderful place to be. The focus wasn’t on God/The Bible/Saving Our Souls…it was…well, I don’t know how to describe it. But, I liked it. It felt comfortable. The congregation there is made up mostly of older folks, but they’re so open and accepting of EVERYONE. It’s not about religion – it’s about spirituality. Have you tried a UU Church? (Believe me, I was as Anti-Church as they come – 8 years in Catholic School, plus Mass 2x weekly…tried some other “religions” on for size…found Paganism…)

posted on October 18th 2010 at 7:53PM CST

A lot of people seem to be suggesting Unitarian Universalist Churches, I will be looking at their website later this evening to get some more information.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 9:14PM CST

If there are several UU churches in your area – don’t be afraid to check out a couple different ones, or all. You never know which one could be the “perfect fit”. Each UU Church’s “community” will have a different dynamic. :)

I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:00PM CST

The only “close” one is about a 30 min drive from here or so, the rest, 45min-1+hours. So I sort of only have ONE choice lol. I will be going over their site later once the boys are asleep though!

Mari
posted on October 19th 2010 at 11:47AM CST

they’re all different. personally i think the one here in lexington sucks.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 9:07AM CST

I haven’t struggled with my spirituality in a long while. I am consecrated clergy in ADF, which is a druid organization and I really love a lot of what I’ve learned about the druids. Wicca and solitary never appealed to me either, and (no offense), but since Wicca is the largest “known” pagan group outside of the pagan community, it tends to attract a lot of the curious, new blood, and crazies. I am not a big fan of the local Wiccan community and all the drama it possesses. That’s not to say that other pagan traditions don’t have their fair share of drama.

I have been wanting to check out some of the Norse communities as well, such as the Troth, since I have a large Germanic heritage.

I would suggest, if you are still interested in paganism, to check out some of the groups in various traditions and get a feel for what you like. If Wicca is no longer your thing, try looking into something else like Asatru or Druidism or Vedism or something. Could be you find something that suits you better.

The best way to really get a feel for it is to try out different groups, with any religion.

And if you just need someone to talk to about stuff, you’re always welcome to email me :)

posted on October 18th 2010 at 7:55PM CST

I’ve never been Wiccan, more so eclectic Pagan.

I’ve never really explored the other paths but that’s a wonderful suggestion I’ve not done yet!

Mari
posted on October 19th 2010 at 11:52AM CST

Wicca never did it for me. And Druidry was too involved and too formal. If you do explore Asatru, just remember to keep your eyes and ears open for the idiots.

Bess
posted on October 18th 2010 at 9:37AM CST

I havent been through what you are experiencing but my heart aches for you and what you are going through. I have always had a strong, confident knowing that the Christian God is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords and is a real, present, caring, loving and always there God.

If you ever want to ask questions about my God. Feel free to write to me.

And, since I know there are many Christians out there who have hurt people and have torn people down instead of build them down- I want to apologize for anyone in your life who may have done that in the name of Christianity. We are suppose to being loving people because God is a loving God.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 8:02PM CST

I think being raised in a non-religious household growing up, really affected me. I was always TOLD what the “wrong” religions were. When I was a teen I would go with my friends to their churches every once in awhile, and always enjoyed it.

I may just have to take you up on the email offer!

posted on October 18th 2010 at 9:51AM CST

To believe in somthing but have no connection is horrible. It is the same as unrequited love. So where to start?

I can’t say I have any answers, but have gome through similar stages over the years. Like ‘Bess’ above I have a christian background and belief, but I am ashamed of what others have done in god’s name over the years and still do today.

If you want to explore or ask anything along those lines feel free to email and I’ll try and help… and the biggest promise is that you’ll find no judgement of any kind from me.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 8:05PM CST

AHH I love your analogy!!

I most likely will be emailing you within the next few days!

posted on October 19th 2010 at 3:42PM CST

:) any help, I can be – look forward to it

Lynda
posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:01AM CST

I used to consider myself Christian, but the more I started learning about science and contemplating the grand scheme of things, the less I thought that anyone powerful enough to create the universe would NEED to be worshiped.

I have a subscription to Popular Science and Discover and watch a LOT of science and nature documentaries, in addition to admiring the universe, history and nature through museums, a telescope, walks, etc. I feel most spiritual when I’m contemplating nature, physics and the universe.

I believe if there is a God who loves us, he just wants us to be happy. Humans are now approaching the ability to create life from nothing and create new lifeforms. I know some would be corrupt, but I feel as a whole humans would not require that their creations bow down and worship them – I cannot contemplate an all-mighty God who’s that shallow.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 8:09PM CST

I know this sounds ridiculous but when I contemplate the UNIVERSE and all of that, I get VERY overwhelmed. It makes me feel… very insignificant lol.

Lisa@practicallyintuitive
posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:27AM CST

Sarah,

I spent 12 years in Catholic school and often felt like that tradition didn’t fit me. And so I just went my own way, feeling that God is all around me. I grew into my spirituality, understanding that a path may be right for me but may not be right for another.

Look for what brings you peace – whatever that is, therin lies your path. Walk it in the very best and loving way you can with an open heart.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 8:10PM CST

It’s hard. I thought I “found” my path, invested over a decade and it’s almost like I had to mourn it for awhile there! It’s so frustrating!

Kimberly
posted on October 18th 2010 at 11:12AM CST

I was baptised Baptist and then Methodist and I went to Catholic school (through university) most of my life. I had a huge paradigm shift in my twenties when I struggled with my faith. I never doubted my beliefs, but I struggled. Basically, I was rebelling against the baggage of guilt that came with me into adulthood.

It took some growing up on my part and discussions with non pushy religious folks to help me realize that I don’t buy into organized religion. I can’t follow the doctrines of a people who break their own rules (from my POV) all the time while making the rest of us feel guilty for the smallest infraction.

So now I celebrate my faith by being happy, my loving my boyfriend and our pets, my planting flowers, through my photography. My goal is to live a full life, because it’s a gift that God gave to me eons ago and it would be the biggest sin to squander this gift.

Good luck on your journey!

posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:02PM CST

I think I also get confused at how many different “versions” or “paths” there is to each religion. I get overwhelmed so easily, drives me nuts!

Audrey
posted on October 18th 2010 at 11:33AM CST

I went to Sunday school and even was confirmed as a Lutheran during my teenage years, but definitely wouldn’t consider myself a Christian now. I’m agnostic now. I know there is something greater than us – there’s too much coincidence in nature, science, emotions/feelings, and too much mystery in life. Religion seems like a purely human way of trying to explain the uncomprehendable. We congregate together around defined belief systems for comfort, which is good in my opinion. I am not religious, but any religion that espouses peace and compassion for life is fine by me. Anyone that is inspired or comforted by a religious belief should be encouraged too. No one believes exactly the same thing because we all experience life by ourselves (ultimately). So there isn’t a right thing to think or way to feel.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:03PM CST

My grandmother was Lutheran, I know I was baptized as such. I do remember when I was a little girl and living with her, going to summer church “camp” and such.

What does Agnostic mean?

Audrey
posted on October 19th 2010 at 10:26AM CST

Agnostic means you feel that God exists, but you are unsure of the details or believe it is truly incomprehensible for humans.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic

Rowan Brooks
posted on October 18th 2010 at 1:10PM CST

Sarah, I know well the ebb and flow of spirituality. In my life, it comes and goes. Part of it is because I’m not an exact fit in any particular slot — I seem to be in a category all my own. “Eclectic pagan” seems to be the best fit, but after a few “unsatisfactory” (I’m being gentle) attempts to connect as a group, I’ve decided to go it alone.

Because I’m on my own, how much work I put into my spirituality tends to come and go. The more I put in, the more I get out, but with a busy life like everyone else, my spirituality often winds up last on the to-do list (if it makes it at all).

Perhaps you’re like me — not fitting exactly in a particular category and just in a spiritual downswing. Or perhaps you are searching for something altogether different and it just hasn’t found you yet. In either case, listen to your heart. In the end, that’s all any of us can do.

Take care,
Rowan

(If you’d like to read more about my spirituality, there is a post on my blog here:

posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:05PM CST

YES. I was never able to find a specific “path” so I always joked and said I was Eclectic Pagan with Wiccan Tendencies LOL!

I just am frustrated that this “dry spell” if you will, has gone on 2 1/2 years almost at this point. I will be checking out your post later tonight when the boys have gone to sleep!

Keeshia
posted on October 18th 2010 at 2:40PM CST

Personally I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m simply not religious or spiritual in any real fashion. However, I have begun to dive into Buddhism. Out of all the religions I feel it has the greatest message and is the most applicable to your daily life. It’s definitely, through the very little reading and research I’ve done already, inspired me to be a better person and to strive towards goals that actually matter.

If you have the inclination to read it, I recommend this book: How to Practice: A Way to a Meaningful Life (http://www.amazon.com/How-Practice-Way-Meaningful-Life/dp/0743453360/ref=pd_sim_b_3)

posted on October 18th 2010 at 10:07PM CST

I know Jess is Buddist. I always found it to be interesting! I will have to check the book out!

Angela
posted on October 18th 2010 at 7:41PM CST

Oh hon it’s so normal to question our spirituality! Everyone does it at some point in time. I do have a recommendation for you (and I haven’t read all the comments so I hope it’s not a repeat). Take time to sit down and keep a journal specifically about your feelings about spirituality. Write down what it is specifically you believe. If that is too hard then write down what you don’t believe and work up to what you do believe. Then read various things. If it’s not pagan, that’s ok. What’s important is that you are comfortable with your spiritual self.

Ironically I am going to write a book on this subject. I can’t believe how many people really struggle with this and there are so few resources that tackle this issue. I sincerely hope you get an answer soon. I know it feels horrible!

posted on October 19th 2010 at 12:40AM CST

That is a FANTASTIC suggestion!!

nicole
posted on October 18th 2010 at 7:54PM CST

Is it so hard to imagine yourself as spiritual without the need for a label, momma? You can find like minded people, people who believe there is more, but do no necessarily subscribe to a particular religion. It’s just that most of them are not so willing to be open about it because that then opens them up to judgment.

For me, I have struggled with my beliefs and the exercising of them for years. I finally figured out that I can believe in anything I want to, really. I am not Wiccan nor am I Christian, but I believe in something more than me, something greater. And, for right now, that’s okay. {hugs}

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:15PM CST

YES lol it is hard! I know part of me desires the COMMUNITY of it all and without a label, it’s hard to find other like-minded individuals.

Also, I love to read/explore/learn about a topic and if I can pinpoint WHAT it is, I can really educate myself about it.

posted on October 18th 2010 at 8:06PM CST

Ask questions. Go to churches with friends. Talk to pastors, priests, rabbis, buddhists, Muslims… ask what they believe and why? Ask the big questions and the small ones. Listen for still small voices. Look for a balance of comfort and challenge. Pray for direction. Keep an open mind. Ask and listen and see what sticks.

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:40PM CST

I did that as a teenager, back when I had more than two friends locally LOL.

It’s just frustrating because I THOUGHT I “found” my place and then to discover I didn’t… it’s hard.

Amy
posted on October 19th 2010 at 8:26AM CST

I was raised Mormon. I couldn’t find god there. I tried paganism and Buddhism, no go. A couple of years ago I tried Quaker services and they were very good. Their focus is not on god so much but finding the spirit within. The service is sitting quietly for an hour. They are all about peace and love.

I struggled for years because I needed there to be an afterlife. When I realised I didn’t need god for there to be an after life I could finally let go.

The other thing that helped a lot was listening to Julia Sweeney’s Letting go of God:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qixXRkCNrtE

Good luck on your journey.

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:49PM CST

What is Quaker exactly?

Amy
posted on October 20th 2010 at 9:22AM CST

Wikipedia is a good place to start:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Society_of_Friends

I’m a lesbian and as such I am not welcome in most religions, that was the initial appeal to me. Also they are pacifists and prefer a simple existence.

The services I went to were very nice. We sat in a circle quietly for one hour. I used the time to read some spiritual text, to write, to pray and mediate. After the hour we had 10 minutes or so to share any thoughts we might have had. They tried other formats too letting people speak during the hour briefly if they wished. At the time I was so desperate for some communication with god that going to the services simply highlighted the silence. I was unable to attend after that.

This is the site I used to get started:
http://www.quaker.org.uk/

There are a lot of leaflets that are useful too. Like the Quaker Faith & Practice:
http://www.quakerweb.org.uk/qfp/

It is a very clean, simply, non-judgemental religion and if I do ever go back I guarantee it’ll be to them.

posted on October 19th 2010 at 9:53AM CST

Hi Sarah.

I am not sure if I have ever commented on your blog before. I love your openness and honesty here.

I will be completely honest in return. I am a Christian. I wouldn’t describe myself as evangelical because I think that term does not mean what it used to. I would describe myself as born-again and Bible-believing. I have a degree in theology (not that it matters) and would be willing to answer any questions you may have about the Bible or science and the Bible or my faith.

I hope no one flames me for this, because while I do believe there is ONLY ONE path, I also believe in free will and that we all have the ability to choose and the right to our own beliefs. So I am not about judging or criticizing anyone for their beliefs just because they do not match up with my own. I know MANY people who have been hurt by Christians and the church and I think the media plays into this by showing only people who are really extreme (for example, people who are downright hateful toward homosexual individuals-makes me sick that anyone can treat another human being that way!)and absolutely DO NOT represent Christianity as a whole and certainly do not represent Christ. Jesus was most comfortable with the poor and broken of his day, and that is where he spent most of his time.

Anyway, I believe all of us have this “God-shaped hole” and that is the discord you are experiencing as you are seeking truth. Augustine said, “our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (speaking of the Christian God) and I believe that is where your unrest comes from.

I have experienced this personally as well. I didn’t have the best of childhoods and ran away from all of those problems, in more ways that one, and God chased me down and met me there. I have a past. I am a hopeless sinner saved only by His grace, not by anything wonderful I have done. Not because I am a good person. But simply because He loves me. This is what I believe and I would be happy to talk to you about it anytime. I promise not to preach ;)

Also, I belong to a community outreach group called More than more. The name speaks to our purpose-that we all know and are seeking More out of life. There has to be more to life than the “mores” that we seek-more sex, more money, more power, more fame, more comfort, more stuff. Anything that you (speaking generally here) set up in your life as most important-that is your more. Americans especially are great at running after these mores. And we always come up empty. Until you meet the real More that is. The group is meant especially for those who are not comfortable with church but who are looking for More. We have a group blog if you want to check it out. The posts are written with the intent to make plain the mystery of our faith and help guide you to the only More that can fill that hole in your heart.

http://www.morethanmoremtm.blogspot.com/

I hope this is not unwelcome, and if so, please let me know-but I will be praying for you on your journey as you seek that which your heart desires. I wish you well on your journey.

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:59PM CST

Not unwelcome at all!

It’s a very interesting perspective. I’ve always viewed the Christian religion as being one of the more “strict” ones. Tons of what you “can’t” do.

It’s hard for me to get over my mis-conceptions after years and years of being told how “crazy” Christians are.

Any resources for that maybe?

Mari
posted on October 19th 2010 at 11:43AM CST

questioning is what we’re supposed to do! :)

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:52PM CST

I don’t like questioning LOL. I can get obsessed by it which isn’t good!

Mari
posted on October 19th 2010 at 4:44PM CST

:cough: questions lead to answers …

Melanie
posted on October 19th 2010 at 12:41PM CST

Growing up, I never felt like Christianity was “right” for me. The whole singular (and solely masculine) God didn’t sit well with me. I never got a positive vibe from a church, either; the energy didn’t feel right to me. It often seemed claustrophobic or just simply foreign.

When I was in middle school, I decided to explore. Ah, the wonders of the internet. Something that I always struggled with was the concept that there was only the “one true path” and that every other religion or spirituality was wrong. For a long time (even during the time where I was forced to go to church), I felt that there can never be one true way. To me, everything exists, everything is true. If it was wrong, it wouldn’t exist in the first place, in my opinion. I believe that, once you die, you go to where you believe in, but everything else still exists out there. One analogy I found was that it’s like traveling to other countries once you’re dead. You have your home, but you can take vacations to others. I always liked that analogy. :)

Anyway, during my search, I discovered Wicca and various other religions and spiritualities under Paganism. I’ve always felt drawn to ancient religions, particularly Greco-roman and Egyptian, so this seemed like a natural direction to take. Many of the Wiccan practices, however, didn’t seem “right” to me; they just didn’t fit me. So I kept searching.

I knew my personal beliefs. I believed in multiple Gods or, something that I found that seems more apt, many faces or aspects of the One (monolatry). I also knew I wanted a religion that naturally seemed more open to personal interpretation, personal practices, but that still had some form of structure.

I found Reconstructionism, and I focused more on the Hellenic and Kemetic varieties. Something about Kemetic Reconstructionism stuck out to me. The Gods seemed to prod me in that direction. I felt, and still feel, a connection to the Greco-roman pantheon, but the Netjer feels like a parent to me. I’m working on making that next step. There are classes offered to teach about Kemetic Orthodoxy, and when it feels right and I’m at a point in my life where I can fully dedicate myself to the Netjer and to that path, I’ll take that step on my spiritual journey.

From my perspective, religion/spirituality should be a journey. Settling for something that doesn’t feel right or practicing a religion that you were just told to believe is wrong. Questioning things is good; it means that you have a mind of your own. It may take time to find your spiritual path, but it’s there. In time, you will find each other. Often times, it will just find you.

posted on October 19th 2010 at 1:51PM CST

What is Reconstructionism?

Melanie
posted on October 19th 2010 at 2:08PM CST

Reconstructionism is a revival of the ancient religions and their traditional practices. So, for example, Hellenic reconstructionism looks at how ancient Greeks practiced their religion, and they bring that into a modern context while still trying to hold true to most ancient practices. Kemetic (Egyptian) reconstructionism does the same thing. There are also other varieties of this, like Norse and other ancient religions, that I am unfamiliar with, but they all try to reconstruct the ancient ways.

Cheryl
posted on October 20th 2010 at 9:38AM CST

Religion and spirituality are difficult areas for a lot of people. I was raised Catholic but I have trouble with a lot of what the church teaches — it seems to me that they want to dominate and control us rather than trust us to exercise good judgment. I frequently question the motives of church leadership, because I feel like they aren’t leading simple lives of service the way Jesus would want — I look at the huge sums of money spent on grand churches and altars and think that money would be better spent providing food for the hungry and medicine for the sick. And I have a HUGE problem with the idea that there is only one true church; I think there are so many good points to other religions and so much we can learn from each other. I don’t like the feeling I get from some priests that other religions are misguided and wrong; that attitude deeply offends me.

I have explored Wicca a bit and find it intriguing but I am not ready to fully embrace it, or to entirely give up my existing faith.

One of my friends once asked me how I reconciled my Catholic faith with using Tarot cards. I told her I didn’t see a problem with it because I used them in a prayerful way, as a means for God to speak to me, and prayed for guidance and wisdom when I used them. I know the church thinks oracular devices are wrong but I think they’re just tools and the key is how you use them.

I have completed first degree study in Reiki and use it regularly to treat my anxiety and for pain management. I’m not sure how my church would feel about that but I’m not going to ask their opinion. I’m grateful for my Reiki skills and would never stop using them to treat myself, no matter what the church says.

I guess the long and short of all this rambling is that you’re not the only one to feel confused about faith and want a more satisfying faith life. I think we just have to keep looking for answers and doing what feels right to us spiritually. At least we’re looking for a spiritual connection and trying to find our way! That’s got to be a step in the right direction.

Caity
posted on October 20th 2010 at 3:12PM CST

Just remember that you don’t need a specific religion. Some people are more comfortable in their spirituality by taking things from many religions (or something they’ve discovered themselves). Take away that pressure and just enjoy life and everything around you and I’m sure what you’re looking for will come.

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