I was raised Catholic. I never liked going to church. It made me very anxious to be there. Something felt off about it even at a young age. People were going through the motions, but I never felt what I was supposed to feel.
I was baptized as a baby and had my first communion at age 8. However, when the time came to be confirmed, I opted out. Wasn’t that what it was for? To say you would be a Catholic for the rest of your life?
Well, I didn’t want to be. It seemed forced, all this religion stuff. I didn’t believe the stories in the bible. It seemed made up to me. It seemed like we had to believe what they told us to believe.
Don’t get me wrong, the core values were fine. Love thy neighbor and all. I can’t argue with that. But did I have to believe in God to absorb those teachings? Not really.
I do not begrudge anyone who has a relationship with God. If it is something that makes you feel more at peace in life, I’m happy for you. I’ve just never felt what one is supposed to feel when it comes to God.
A few years ago, some Mormon missionary boys came to our door. Being the person that I am, I let them in to come talk about God. I was open to hearing about what they had to say.
So they came in. They were super nice boys and very respectful. They asked a few questions. One of them being, “Do you pray?”
I told them I used to but didn’t anymore. I don’t pray because I never felt it made any kind of difference. I thought perhaps I was doing it wrong because, if there was a God, wouldn’t I get some sort of reaction?
I asked them how they knew if God heard their prayers. What sort of feeling was it? How did God actually talk to them? I actually really wanted to know the answer to this. I still do.
They never did give me a straight answer other than it was just a feeling. That wasn’t good enough for me. It wasn’t enough for me to be persuaded that there was an actual God to pray to.
Look, I understand that God is not an order taker. He doesn’t give you things just because you ask for them.
I never thought that. I never asked for anything from God other than to give me strength or guidance. He never got back to me on either of those things.
Was I doing it wrong? Did we have a bad connection, God and I? Was I calling the wrong number? Why won’t he return my calls? I left plenty of messages.
All I get is radio silence from the big man upstairs.
So I assumed he had no interest in my prayers. Some God he is.
It wasn’t from lack of trying. I did try to pray. I did try to be a good Catholic. I wanted it to work.
When I realized God had no hand in how my life was going to go, I stopped believing and took over my own destiny.
I don’t understand how people can give all of life over to God. Don’t you want a bit more control over things? I wouldn’t trust it to someone who never seemed to care much about me.
And the good and bad things that have happened to me weren’t because of God. I take credit for all that has happened in my life. None of it was a freak act of power from some unseen deity. It was me.
There’s no use trying to interpret what message God is trying to tell me. I use facts and figure things out by myself. Give yourself some credit for making the right choices and reevaluate when things go wrong.
Again, if you have a relationship with God, good for you, I mean that; I’m not snarky. I am glad you have that in your life.
After 37 years of God not answering my calls, I guess I’ll take the hint that believing in him isn’t for me.