Humans spend most of our time looking for happiness, for satisfaction, for things that are fulfilling to us. Do we find joy in all these things? When I ask you, how do you see the world? How can you describe the community you live in? Do you like what you see? Are you satisfied with what you have right now?
Nothing can guarantee satisfaction to us. We keep chasing for those dreams, we keep on finding happiness and we want to see the end of the road, we can't wait to see if there are golds at the end of the rainbow. Do you ask yourself what's life after this?
We get up in the morning, go to work because we have to make a living. Some of us like our jobs but the money is not enough or we hated our jobs but it pays as well. We complain, we get through the day and wishing for the weekend to come. I experienced all these things.
***Finding our religion, our spirituality, our God, our Creator, the perfect balance, the zen, whatever it is, it's different for everyone. It's my experience, coming from a place of no judgment but if you get offended while reading, stop.***
I grew up embracing Adventist beliefs. My grand parents brought us every Saturdays to church. I didn't knew we were Adventists until I was 14, the new church opened in our neighborhood and it all started my journey on my new found faith. I was baptized at 15 and after baptism they told me a lot of "don'ts". Instead of jumping for joy of being reborn, I felt fear. Fear for every actions I make that I will commit sin because I was already washed and became "holy".
I diligently attended church services and because of my passion of serving, I even became the youngest president of all district churches . I did hiking, community services, attended meetings and seminars. At the age of 16, I'm already doing public speaking on large crowds. Did I enjoy all those things? No. I didn't make those decisions myself. I was obligated. It was a responsibility because I held the position. I accepted the position to pleased my mom, to pleased the church according to their expectations.
I'm guilty for not having genuine interests with the people I've worked with, I just didn't feel connected. I was very passionate to serve. I made programs like it's a special occasion every Saturdays. Then I would go home tired and dreaded Wednesday meetings and program preparations. I wanted to get out. At the age of 17, I was burned out. Not only that, young people didn't want to take responsibilities. Of course, no one wants to take responsibilities, do commitments on such a young age. The only support I had were the elders who also had their own expectations. I was shocked and overwhelmed how these "godly" people behaved on their real forms. They were very good at criticizing but no one wanted to mentor.
When I got out of the church, started my first job and moved to a new city, I found myself again serving on the same denomination. I thought it will be a different experience this time since it's a new environment. I did the same things, created programs and speak in front of the crowd. Was my experience different from the first one? What has changed? I made some friends. The only impact it did to me when I was 16 compared to my early 20's was I'm not obligated. I offered help. It's still work though and it's definitely my comfort zone but I was still on the same cycle that I wanted to skipped Saturdays. There were times that I wanted to rest and give myself a time off but there are people who judge and say it's being selfish for putting your needs first than serving. Or being unholy doing nothing at home, instead going to church when you're supposed to.
I did my duties for another 3 years until I a radical change happened. A young pastor in the church got elected. He supported and mentored young people on new ideas. A radical approach on faith, serving, and living our lives everyday. I heard him and I completely agreed with his vision. I didn't know my authentic power before but I knew that I am born spiritual and the need to be connected with my Creator drives me to challenge the traditional beliefs. I slowly introduced the idea of working outside the church, serving others and not serving ourselves. The older people caused a massive violent reaction to that change.
In a nutshell, they wanted something to preoccupy themselves on their lonely lives outside church which is why they are looking forward every Saturdays for entertainment, putting their masks. I was shocked for being disrespectful and selfish of how they view what going to the church means for their lives.
I got out from the church, I was able to travel and I found myself again on another country with the same denomination. I thought "it's going to be a different experience this time, different culture", the Adventist tradition is still there. Out of a hundred people, there's only one who agrees with me that we are sleep walking. We pretend to be holy during Saturday services, we act so clean and so pure and yet when we look at our lives at home, it is indeed different.
What being spiritual taught me that my religion can't? Vulnerability, Authenticity. That we are humans, so we have to act like one. Not as holy, unblemished because we are not God.
I can't confess my mistakes to the church without being judge. When I say, "I like drinking wine." It will be interpreted as she's a drunk. When I say, "I like partying and dancing." It will be interpreted as she's a loose woman. So the young people today go out of the church, they have non religious friends, some try vices like drinking just to fit in. The need of belonging. You will hear a lot of "I don't do that", like they are perfectly walking on the straight line of righteousness. Some, you will hear how many times they read the bible but when you look at them, their life doesn't resonates to you. I don't mean to be disrespectful. There are other Adventists and other religious denominations who are good and faithful with their beliefs, again this is my experience with the people in my church.
When I said I'm depressed, I'm losing hope, they will dismiss your emotions right away and say have faith and things will be okay. There's nothing wrong with having faith. What's wrong is not recognising our emotions that we are in pain, that we have these imperfections. As human beings, our feelings and emotions are all energies, connecting us to that powerful source, to our Creator, making us alive everyday.
So why are we not using those energies at our full potential everyday? Why do we have to wait for that one day to go to church and be energized? We know the answer. Because we are all empty inside. We want to occupy ourselves with entertainment, with things and thoughts to escape the present moment. We all want to go to heaven. We are looking forward to go to heaven.
But it's not about the destination, it's all about the journey. We haven't been there, we don't know. The only precious moment that we have is now. God, our Creator is talking to us right now. The reason that we can't hear Him or we can't find the value of what we are doing everyday because our thoughts are busy thinking about going to heaven or obsessing about the checklist of holiness.
What if He asks you, what do you feel right now? For sure we will have a hard time describing our emotions. We are not taught how to sit still and listen to ourselves. Ourself, our false image, our limiting beliefs, we are not even aware that we are carrying these things. It hinder us from limitless and endless opportunities that God wants us to be.
When you look at those stubborn people, still wearing their masks, living with their tradition. Ask them how they describe themselves, you will hear answers about the works they do in church not their personal challenges and victories about life.
They will say, that's why we go to church because it's a spiritual hospital, we need healing, we need to change ourselves. Exactly. But why put the responsibility to the church without the intention of changing on how they will live their lives everyday? Does it means they only live once a week? Or rather have pretentious life once a week? Why they have to fool themselves and act with no genuine identity?
There are a lot of self improvements, self care resources. Simple as the bible. We don't have to read the bible everyday to understand what it is teaching us. If we only know how to surrender as human beings born with a purpose, then the work here on earth will be done. We can end suffering, pain, hunger - everything. But since we are humans who were born not aware of our authentic self, we look outside, we look at the world, the society on how we should live.
My life change immensely when I figured out my purpose. It is still serving, it is still offering my God given talents to the world. What makes my life bigger now, more valuable now is that I feel so connected with myself as a human. I recognise my flaws and I have to deal with it as a human. I don't need to fear that I'm committing sins or that I have to be perfect and act like holy being. I no longer obsess about holiness or going to heaven or the need to be saved, or to be righteous by faith. And these things come together, I understood my past, those journeys, I am living my life in the present moment, I know my future and I am working everyday with a purpose. I am at my very authentic self and that connects me to my Creator, serving and living with a purpose.
When we face our Creator, the divine, the universe who has given life and energy to us and He will ask us "what have you done with the life I have given you?", what your answers will be?
When we wear our masks, we are not being courageous, we are not being honest on our intentions. That's why it's hard for some of us to find our purpose.
I will leave you with a question, "How do you live your life today?" .
Advocate of authentic self. Lover of life. Passionate on understanding humans. Serving with a purpose, one day at a time.