12 January 2011

Glory to God... and Sweet Potatoes

Here's a new topic that hasn't been covered on Snacking Squirrel; Faith. Don't worry, 
I'm not going to lecture you or anything, nor pretend i'm the next Mother Theresa... but I will explain why I decided to cover this subject in the first place. I was born Roman Catholic and was even an altar server for the majority of my youth. But as I grew older, 
I began to question the teachings of the Church, began pulling away from the superficials and egos that went along with organized religions.

 That's when I left the church, sworn never to return again. But as I became an adult, 
I found myself feeling lost, unrooted, left with a sense of emptiness that couldn't be filled. It wasn't until I went to Christmas Eve Mass with my family that everything changed for me. During the sermon, a lot was said about faith and spirituality being a personal experience... not one in which was to be bragged 
about or superior to others... but one that united the union between ourselves 
with our own paths. 

As I stood inside the church, I was flooded with emotion. I felt home, I felt 
protected and most importantly, I felt loved. Just like "throwing the baby out
 with the bathwater", I threw away my faith because I was against many of the negative actions executed by the Catholic Church. But now it felt like none of that mattered;
Being religious, being spiritual, in no way meant I supported these actions 
of the church or other Catholics for that matter. The bottom line is Faith is personal. Our beliefs are our own, our paths in life are different than our neighbors. 
All I know for certain is that I rediscovered something within me that fulfilled me more than people could, and its given me the strength I need to accept my life, 
embrace my life and celebrate my life... So, "Amen" to that!

Oh yes, we must not forget the power of sweet potatoes either :)

Questions: Are you spiritualDo you 
believe in a higher power? How has your 
faith and beliefs changed over the years?


Anonymous said... [reply]

I am not a believer. If I have to label myself, then I am an agnostic. But I think everyone is free to believe in whatever makes them happy so long as they don't try to force other people to believe in the same things.

Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen said... [reply]

I love the way you wrote this! I grew up Episcopalian and converted to Catholicism when Tony and I got married. We no longer go to church here. I loved the priest that married us and would still go if he were our priest. I have since thought of myself as a spiritual person more than a religious person. I guess mostly because we don't practice a certain religion. I am very private with my beliefs because I feel that they are very personal and I feel like a lot of people will judge me for them. I do believe there is a higher power and I hope to understand that more some day.

Gillian said... [reply]

I'm not religious but I think faith is so important. The hardest part of not having any religion is that all of the weight is on your shoulders, and the guidance is all your own. I often wish I had a religion, but for now try to rely on my faith in some people being good, and that anything can be achieved. I also believe in sweet potatoes.

Monet said... [reply]

Our journey sounds very similar. I grew up in a strong Christian family, but during my late adolescence, I walked away from the church completely. In the last few years, and in light of several tragedies, I've found that faith is truly important! I loved hearing your thoughts on this topic, love. I hope you are having a happy day. Stay warm and keep on enjoying all that is beautiful and tasty!

Anonymous said... [reply]

good on you :) glad you are finding your own path! i was raised in a christian home and went to private school my whole life until college. i haven't been to church regularly in prob 4 years because i feel like everyone is missing the point. it could be because i have yet to find a church that shares the views i hold. i'm more of a universalist these days i suppose...

Anonymous said... [reply]

beautiful kelsey! i grew up catholic, disconnected as well and finally found myself again by reading the bible and applying it to daily life, and praying more. Offering things to God, trusting him, and putting it in his hands is just so much easier and has helped me grow as a person. No matter what faith you have, having that spiritual connection is so important in life!

Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin said... [reply]

I started going back to church in October of 2010 and have been loving it ever since. I think its so true that faith is a personal thing, and that you have to find a church that is a good fit for you personally. My church is extremely non traditional - there is a 6 piece band, its held in a middle school, and their motto is "a church for people who don't go to church." It is perfect for me and I'm so happy I found it!

Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) said... [reply]

I grew up going to church but, like you, thought more about the whole thing as I got older. Now I consider myself an atheist, but that doesn't mean I don't understand where other people are coming from with their faith. You're growing and changing and that's a good thing! :)

Unknown said... [reply]

This is a beautiful post Kelsey. I am a Christian and my faith in God has brought me such Joy in life. It also has brought be through some tough times. Faith is relationship with God and his Son, and the good thing is you don't have to go to church to do that. Amen sista!
So glad that you have found such peace in that!

Anonymous said... [reply]

Absolutely beautiful girl. I would be NO WHERE without the Lord. I would be dead or sick in a hospital honestly. He is amazing. Its a relationship- its not about the church. I am so thankful to know my Creator! Thank you for sharing this! <3

Jos said... [reply]

I was raised in Roman Catholic Church as well but I decided to just believe in spirituality, nothing in any particular religion...

Katie ♥ said... [reply]

Amen to faith girl! We all have to have faith, its what life is about and the circumstances we face , faith keeps us strong !

Love ya girl and the sweet tater loving pics!

Anonymous said... [reply]

I believe in a higher power I choose to call god, and I believe that if we all pray to the same loving god. I was raised Catholic, switched to Baptist, and too left the church because of the politics associated with it. I have not gone back to church, but I work on my spirituality actively and have trusted spiritual advisors I go to for advice. I'd be lost without my faith! Nice post :)

Lea @ Healthy Coconut said... [reply]

I grew up Catholic and even attended a private Catholic school. As I became an adult, I was able to explore and read more on my own, but I eventually stayed with my church.

Like you said, Faith is Personal. I believe you don't have to go to church in order to pray or reach out to whomever or whatever you believe in.

I'm glad to hear about your experience, wherever you feel home, that's where you should be.

Hope you are well.

I must say, you have great skin girl :)

Susan said... [reply]

Great post!

I would classify myself as spiritual but not religious. This has increased a TON in the last 2 years as I've dealt with various health issues. As Lea said, faith is personal, and it can be a great friend through hard times.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I was a strong roman catholic when I was younger, but as I became older, I went away from church, and don't plan on coming back.
I believe in higher power, I know that there something out there,bigger, taking care of us all.

Kath (Eating for Living) said... [reply]

Yes, I am. My mom being a meditation teacher and my dad being active in the church, I grew up with a mixture of western and eastern thinking that has impacted the way I look at the world from very early on. I don't see myself as belonging to a certain religion, though. I'm Christian (protestant) the most because that's my cultural background. However, spirituality is very important to me.

Kenzie @ A Healthy Purpose said... [reply]

I'm not spiritual and believe in a higher "being" but I do believe in a strong presense of ENERGY within and between living things. I believe this energy to be extremely powerful and chanelable. But I dont believe there is one source of power. I do consider myself connected though, and I respect every other persons' spiritual beliefs.

hows that for a light conversation topic, eh?!

Mary said... [reply]

So glad that you opened up to faith again. :) I'm Catholic..but honestly, not a very "good" one. I share the beliefs for the most part but do hold ones of my own that they would shun for the most part. But, I still pray every night and talk to God all the time. I think that's what really counts deep down. :)

Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free said... [reply]

I am a Christian and proud of it! I kick myself sometimes, though for not spending enough time doing spiritual things. Like reading the bible, when I can't make it to church...

Hayley said... [reply]

Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey through finding a faith and personal experience of it that works for you/makes you feel happy and fulfilled. I love hearing these stories, because I have a huge amount of respect for people and their individual faiths and practices. I love how we are all so different in how we embrace spirituality or religion, but it all comes down to the same purpose. It is something that can make us feel stronger and fulfilled, and to me that is such a beautiful thing. I agree that it is all about your own personal experience- which is why I don't really practice an organized religion. I respect it, but it is not my path. My family is Jewish, but not practicing...although I do find peace and strength in embracing the Jewish culture and feeling a connection to Israel and my family there...I don't necessarily believe in any one definitive higher power, but that's okay. The life path and spiritual path that I've chosen feels good to me, and I think that is the most important thing for any individual person.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I think that faith is so important! I am so glad to hear you are finding your spirituality and a relationship with the church once again. I am definitely a Christian and have been raised in the church. During college I fell away from it a bit, but not much. Having a strong foundation to fall upon when you struggle is so important!

Anonymous said... [reply]

I can go on and on about my spiritual life. I've been through so much with it! I do have a spiritual part of my life that I feel like is very close to my heart. I'm not sure I would consider myself a buddhist but thats about as close to my religious beliefs that you are going to get.. I dont have any christian or catholic beliefs..although I was raised in a catholic family. I just never meshed with the bible although I love hearing people talk about their faith in god. I think its beautiful and special. At the same time, I have a lot of issues with religion. Okay this comment is getting so wish-washyyy.. Like I said, I could write a novel about my experiences and feelings about spirituality and religion but I dont really want to get into here for a few reasons. Mainly, I dont want to offend anybody or get into any debates. I hate debating! ugh haha

Love ya girl
Dana xo

Chelsea said... [reply]

I'm not religious and I've never been raised that way. But that doesn't mean I have anything against it. I totally support everyone's beliefs! That's awesome to hear that you've found your faith again. :)

Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said... [reply]

Although I was baptized Catholic, we pretty much stopped going to church when I was 6 or 7, because we were too involved in other activities, and there just wasn't time for everything. And to be quite honest, I am not one for organized religion, and wouldn't really consider myself a spiritual person. I don't think it's wrong for others to do so, because everyone has their own beliefs, but I also don't want it pushed on me, and I find that too often religion is. You are right, faith is such a personal thing, and if you have found something that makes you feel right, then follow it :)

Jamie @ Food in Real Life said... [reply]

I don't have an affiliation to a specific religion because of the way I was raised, but I am an extremely spiritual and God loving woman. My husband is Catholic and I'm not sure it is how I want to raise my children, but I do know that there will be religion and God in their lives as well. In some shape or form :)

Aspiring Steph said... [reply]

I'm not very religious - in fact my family's Buddhist. I just believe in things like karma, re-incarnation etc. But I do believe the presence of something to rely on and be faithful is priceless - whether it be your religion, family, friends...etc. :)

Ayla said... [reply]

I'm not sure what I believe anymore. For most of my life I was very anti-religious and anti-God. Basically, I did not believe at ALL. Things are changing for me though and while I'm not quite sure what happened, I know now that there IS something out there. Something bigger than humanity. I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's God, maybe it's Mother Nature, or maybe it's something else. I don't really know.. and I'm fine with that. :)

chow and chatter said... [reply]

yep i am a Christian

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said... [reply]

I am a Christian :-)

MJC said... [reply]

I have a similar story as yours. I do believe in a "higher power" but I'm not what you'd call a "Good Catholic." lol What I mean is, I don't really believe in a lot of the church's teachings, but I do "believe" to an extent.

Toronto Girl West said... [reply]

I am DEFINITELY spiritual.

I put it this way - I believe in miracles. Both the small everyday kind and the huge Biblical kind.

Red Deception said... [reply]

I'm not religious. Period.

Coming from an aboriginal background and living in an area with a high population of aboriginal people I have a great respect for spirituality. I don't focus or practice, but I love going to drum ceremonies and smoke shacks.

Natalie @ cinnamonbums said... [reply]

i grew up in a Christian (protestant) family and when i was younger i think i went to church just because my family did... but towards the end of high school i think i began to read more and more and seek out answers to questions that i had about my faith, and i think it was then i was really able to find a relationship with Jesus. the thing about spirituality and faith is that at some point we realize that there has to be more to this world than what we see and feel.. because this world is so ephemeral and fleeting. and the thing about my own faith is that it is far from perfect - sometimes i am a crazy cynic who wants to block out God from my life... but I know that He is the one constant and I am always returning to Him. I am always learning everyday and it's definitely a journey - not an easy one, but it is worth it. I would recommend any books by Donald Miller - who makes reading about spirituality sooo fun and down-to earth!

Emily said... [reply]

I grew up in a Christian home (my dad is a pastor), but I learned to really claim my faith as my own in middle school, as I saw God work in my life and learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with him. Now, I can't imagine life without my faith...it is the glue that holds me together when things around me are falling apart. :) Thanks for sharing!

Meesh said... [reply]

I have a very similar story, I was born catholic and was super religious, I went to bible school and even wanted to become a nun! But in university I began to question, and even now I'm not sure what I believe. I believe in God, for sure, but that's about all I know. Great post!
Just want to let you know you got an award on my blog today! http://positivelymeesh.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/snow-day/

Danielle Discovers said... [reply]

I really respect this post. I was raised within the Christian faith with my father still being a religious follower. I, however, longed for more. I always felt a bit out of place, judged and awkward in the church. I tried a few different churches and ended up with the same results. Eventually, I stopped attending church and just simply lived. When I attended college is when things began to change. I took a religions class and was opened up to a completely different world. We had a speaker of nearly every major religious faith and were able to ask as many questions as possible along with hearing their opinions. After hearing all of the speakers, I felt drawn toward the buddhist nun so I attended a service to see for myself. Although, I did not feel "at home" with the buddhist faith entirely, I did start attending meditation classes every week at the buddhist temple. Meditation alone is what allowed me to experience the sense of freedom and belonging I had missed in the past. I was able to accept myself, my surroundings and realized that the universe is ultimately in charge. As long as I was putting out good energy, I would receive good energy (karma). This is one of the reasons why I love yoga so much as well. They incorporate meditation into the practice, which is a very beautiful thing. I consider my mentality being that of a spiritual one and I do believe in something bigger than ourselves. But you are exactly right, faith is a very personal thing.

I feel like it does not matter what one finds faith in... as long as that faith is self-fulfilling and something that is not harmful to others. So happy you found something to feel comfort in :)

Kayla (Little Miss Healthify) said... [reply]

I'm so happy for you, Kelsey!

I am a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) and I love my faith. I believe in God and His son Jesus Christ and I'm just so happy that I have the gospel in my life. It's impossible to feel alone because God is just a prayer away.

Tori said... [reply]

I'm so glad you shared this post! I agree 100%.
Faith is a relationship that is just between you and the higher power you believe in. And while it never should be denied or something to be ashamed of sharing, it doesn't have to be pressed upon other people and boasted about either. I hate that some people (most) my age think faith is not something "cool" to talk about, or it makes them not fun to be around, but really it's something we should be able to talk about unashamedly.

Missy said... [reply]

I am very spiritual...but spent most of my life as an agnostic. I looked everywhere for something that sat right (Unitarian Universalism, Krsna Consciousness, Budhissm, New Age..etc) I completely ignored Jesus and especially Christianity. Then ... circumstance and thoughts alive and one day I knew I believed in Christ. No evangelism was involved, really. How cool is that? I didn't have to try and believe I just did. Then I went to church...I realized that Christianity is about relationship not religion...that made all the difference. Sounds like you had a similar experience. Relationship, not religion. We can worship god in a yoga asana, in a pew, in a blog post, and why we are singing our hearts out to our favorite hip-hop song in the car. If our spirit is with God.


Sara @ Nourish and Flourish said... [reply]

This is so beautifully written, Kelsey! I am a Christian and I would be completely lost without faith. My relationship with God has given me HOPE, CERTAINTY and JOY in life that I'd never known prior to believing. I only go to church once or twice each month because I don't particularly like the institution of religion either...Unfortunately I think doctrine and rituals often obstruct the TRUE message and meaning of faith. However worshiping with others provides an opportunity to gain insight in a supportive community, which can't be obtained alone. I try to stay in touch with God, and when I feel an urge to go to church, I go. When I want quiet time, I pray alone. It's a nice, peaceful balance. :-)

Kristin said... [reply]

Well obviously (by all the responses) you've tapped a nerve here. It's always interesting to me how we often dodge discussing the one topic that effects us all, discontentment and a sense of loss. I don't know who of us doesn't deal with that on a regular basis. So thanks for venturing and being so honest here.

I know I can't make it without God in my life, without the Bible to guide me and strengthen me with hope. Everything else is futile in life and His love is the only thing that will withstand this life. Jesus' love has saved me. His love is the most satisfying, true and real part of my life. I hope you will discover a greater sense of God's love as you discover how to trust Him more. Thanks for the beautiful post.

N said... [reply]

My Mom is Roman Catholic and my Dad was agnostic for years and years (only recently turning to atheism). There wasn't a lot of spirituality growing up, but I did go to Church when I was younger. As I got older, I realized that I didn't like a lot of how the Church ran. Like why there were no women priests, or why there was only a male God and no Goddess. How did a man give birth to our world? Eventually I was just agnostic, floating along. I discovered Wicca (which is a nature religion, focusing on nature, Goddess and God - duality in general - and energy) when I was 15 and have been Wiccan since :)

Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance said... [reply]

I'm so glad you directed me towards this post! It is truly inspiring to read about the spiritual journeys of others and I'm glad that you finally found the place where you felt a sense of "home" :)

Thank you for sharing!

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