Hey there sweet friends! today on the blog, I wanted to take the blinders off! I wanted to share something that I have not always been very comfortable talking about. My spiritual journey, and where it has lead me today. This is something I’ve kept private from many people.
To The Era of Labeling Things; We Don’t Always Have To
Before I dive in to my whole spiritual journey, I wanted to share something really quickly.Even though I have grown in my spiritual journey, and I’m learning more and more, I don’t feel the need to say what I am or what I’m not. A catholic or a baptist or this or that. Honestly I just care more about my inner peace now than putting a label on what I am/aren’t. We all begin somewhere you guys. To literally make a SHIFT in your life if you want it. We have to be willing to abandon our fears and thoughts of a certain way of life, and to really let your heart and mind be OPEN. That’s the only reason I’m even open to fulfilling and continuing my spiritual journey is because I’m beginning to leave behind the baggage that held me down in the first place for so long.
Wear Your Sunday Best
So, I grew up in the church. I was there literally for every Sunday morning service, every Wednesday night youth bible study, and every trip and outing our church hosted. My mom was almost always the facilitator when it came to these outings. As I got older, our church demographic changed a little but, and we no longer held as much youth services. When I was able to “choose” if I wanted to wake up on Sunday’s for church, most of the time I chose not to. Looking back, I don’t think it was because I was just “done” when it came to learning about God. More than anything, I just wanted the freedom of not having to go if I didn’t want to.
That pattern continued on for years, until I had essentially removed myself from the church atmosphere altogether. When you’re away from a faith based atmosphere for so long, you start to just think if this is the only way of thinking. I was not a huge fan of the judgment and hypocrisy that some people used, all the while saying they were christians. I used to think, “I am a good person, even better than some of the Christians I know, why be associated with that?”. Honestly, I just thought I didn’t NEED my faith.
As you can imagine, a lot of guilt, struggles, doubt, crept its way into my heart when it came to the church. I started doubting God. Doubting that there even was a God. This is hard for me to admit y’all. One, putting your life and inner thoughts out on the internet is S C A R Y. Like, how many people are going to judge me because of this? How many people are going to look at me differently? But I want to share this experience with you, because I know JUST how hard this topic can be to open up about.
Teenager for Sale (What my mom probably wanted to say!!)
I was going through an odd stage in growing up where I was struggling with self identity, insecure, and honestly just thought I needed to be right… Oh yeah, HIGH SCHOOL 😉 While high school was not ACTUALLY “the worst time of my life”, I used to joke that it was. I struggled as a teenager. While also navigating through relationships and friendships, and it was tough. Just like it is for thousands of other high schoolers. That’s where the questioning came into play. I had people in my life who believed one completely different things…. I removed myself from the church so I didn’t really have a “Faith” system that I could lean to during hard times… And this caused my faith to slip more. I’ve always been an over-thinker, too. I’ve loved to read since I was little, and I stumbled across quotes and books that may have been over my head. I just know that somewhere along the way, I lost my faith. I was lost in that area.
A few years ago, I remember wanting to share with my mom some of my thoughts. I didn’t even know where to begin. She said something to me that I don’t think I’ll forget… “Tyler, with how big of a heart you have, and how much you love people, how could you not believe?”. That stuck hard on me. I was reading books from authors who just honestly made me think and doubt! This made me vulnerable to any belief system that was easiest. I think thats another think about faith. It ISN’T always easy. It’s tough to have reoccurring faith in something that you don’t see and touch. And in something that takes work to strengthen. I found that not believing “anything”, or an agnostic point of view was easiest. Human nature always want what’s easiest, or most comfortable.
So for everybody to know, here is the definition of agnosticism. “A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God; a person who claims neither faith, nor disbelief in God.” So essentially, I was a skeptic. I didn’t put the time in to work on my faith, so I had none, but I also didn’t really know what I believed in either. It was a very confusing time in my life, even though it seems like it’s easier to just believe nothing. I had no peace though see, I had anxiety in my heart, doubt in my mind. I wasn’t around people I needed to be around. And I wasn’t setting any type of intention or goal for my own life, which is desperately crucial.
They Always Say “Just Go With The Flow”
I literally used to be a “fly by night” kind of girl. Whatever happened that day was fine, I would just deal with it, good or bad. Honestly, I look down on other people who I thought “had it all together” and spoke about their faith or their spiritual journey.. I either thought things got handed to them, that they secretly weren’t very happy, and just had negative emotions about it altogether. Honestly, i was just mirroring my own self. The insecurities I had. Not doing things from the heart, and having clear, good intentions for my life and those around me! My spirit was so weak because I had looked outward to find the issue, instead of inward.
When Nelson and I got married in 2014, we were both encouragers of Christ, I would say, but also had some very deeply hidden doubts that we hadn’t shared with anybody. We both navigated some hardships and heartbreaks if you will in the past. I could tell he struggled with spiritual doubt like me. We finally found a the type of relationship we had always dreamed of with each other, and honestly I thought I just had it all! I can’t pretend like Nelson didn’t fill a huge hole in my heart, and i would be lying if i said I would be the same person without his love and strength for me.
For a couple years, I was “okay” with the fact that I didn’t really know what to believe! Or that I cared enough to know more spiritually. I submerged myself into my marriage and work, vowed to be the best wife I could be, and didn’t really second guess what else there could be for me! Or what more there could be for the both of us! I almost feel a little guilty for potentially pushing my beliefs and my lack of faith onto Nelson, just because it was easier not to deal with it. Looking back, I truly just think I hadn’t gained the perspective needed to know this wasn’t true. I cared, deep down. I cared to face the fears inside me.
Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
It hasn’t really been until the last year or so that I’ve cared to the point where I wanted to really talk about it, and honestly just grow in all areas of life, happiness and spiritual knowledge.. Nelson and I began having these talks like, “this might be true, or that might be true, but why don’t we pursue what feels right in our hearts”. And that took a huge weight off both our shoulders. I’ve learned a lot this last year about gratitude. Living in LA has kinda taught me a lot about keeping my complaints to myself. One, there is the largest ever growing homeless population, and seeing that puts things into perspective real quick.. But also because you see what is so widely available to you, that there really is an abundance of opportunity.
Since I started practicing gratitude, I can feel a huge shift in my thoughts about spirituality. I was blocking out all feelings about the Church and about God simply because I had put up this facade for so long that I didn’t care. Do I think It know it all now? NO!!! Or think that in one year I’ve learned all that I need to do know, no! Because thats simply not true. I just know that we are all here for a purpose, a very specific and designed purpose that we are meant to find. We are meant to fulfill something in life, and I think that’s a beautiful thing to remember. I know that I wasn’t born on “accident”. I know that my life is significant and does matter. We’re not here to just float along. We all have true and definite purpose in life and I have faith in that, whether that is or isn’t spiritual.
I do know one thing. When I finally started to embrace this new mindset, i was able to make clearer, more precise goals for myself. I was able to literally “say” what I wanted! Which was something I didn’t feel comfortable doing in a long time. And more Than that, i notices things shifting and actually moving in the way of what I wanted. I literally started seeing paths form for the goals I had set, without me even forcing them to. That just kept strengthening my faith more and more.
Embracing The Mindset
When I knew I wanted to strengthen my faith and expand my spiritual knowledge, I didn’t know where to start. I started listening to Podcasts, trying to just let some of it seep in my heart. I subscribed to The Skinny Confidential. Its husband and wife creative content curators, bloggers, influencers, entrepreneurs, all wrapped up in one! They’re amazing and give great insight, mainly for blogging and influencer tips! But one episode they dove a little deeper, and I heard Michael talking about his beliefs and his thoughts on religion. I think the word religion always scared me. I kind of thought I had to associate my faith with religion. And he shared some insight on how he wasn’t huge in religion, mores stoicism. That piqued my curiosity, so I started doing some research on what that means.
So for everybody to know, here’s the principle behind stoicism and those who practice it: “Stoicism teaches how to keep a calm and rational mind no matter what happens to you and it helps you understand and focus on what you can control and not worry about and accept what you can’t control.” So essentially, they urge you to keep the faith in the hard times, always maintain a positive mindset and outlook on life, and keep your focus on the ultimate good in life. I was definitely intrigued by this practice, because Nelson and I both talk about how our perspective has changed so much! We changed our mindset on love, life, and the pursuit of happiness. And I genuinely liked the work of ancient successors who practiced this, like Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. I still to this day read some of their philosophy. Although I wouldn’t say I practice this philosophy, I can credit that podcast episode to letting some spiritual thinking creep its way into my heart.
My biggest intention right now is to just experience this newfound mindset, and to let life really teach me something, without trying to “react” or overthink things. To just develop my spiritual nature to the point where I feel fulfilled in that area of my life! So I’ll kind of end this on a to be continued note! Lol! I mean spirituality is never finished, and I know I have a lot more to learn when it comes to Christ. But I am enjoying my journey now just accepting inner peace, and quiet all the negativity around me. I’m enjoying learning how to truly just manifest what is good for me and the people I love. There’s also an enjoyment knowing that I’m opening my heart up to something I once closed off! Honestly, I thought I’d never reopen it.
I will also leave with one of my favorite pieces of scripture.
“As iron sharpens iron, So one person sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17
I just think this is an amazing testament to the constant need for positive engagement and interaction. That we need to take advantage of the opportunities given to us to just pour love into other people! When we see somebody whose faith might be slipping, we offer them our support! Don’t judge or criticize that stage in their life or where they are on their spiritual journey.
I cannot thank you guys enough for reading this. This was long, and I poured a lot of life journey into this, but I didn’t want to hold back! I am so blessed to have you guys along on this journey. I would love to hear about your spiritual journey! Share your thoughts on everything above, or reach out if you want to connect ! Leave me a comment below, or get in touch with me on my contact tab above! Truly, I have love for every one of you who reads this!