This is not a phase

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oakland's First Fridays Unity Wall
Note: This is not my view on the Church I attend, my Pastor, or the select people I've connected with on a real level. This is solely part of my journey of Christ, church, and my sense of belonging...and this post has been sitting in my inbox for almost 2 years.

10 years ago I sat in my parents living room and told them that I would respect their wishes to attend church until I was 18, then I wanted to seek my own relationship with God and explore my spiritual life.

You must know, as a Midwesterner who grew up in the Heartland, where there are more or equal amounts of churches than bars, this was not a popular sentiment.

But, I have always been a searcher...and searchers question, seek, and find. Which is exactly what I wanted to do with my faith in Christ.

Let me start off by saying, to me, God = very real to me. But this is about my struggles with how I experience and understand God and how others respond to my struggles within my spiritual life.

Organized religion, although important for so many of my loved ones who love Jesus, has always been difficult for me.

For me, I experience Christ in the small moments. While brushing my teeth saying my prayers for all the people I love. Or when I am driving in the car with a friend listening to music. Or in deep conversation about purpose, identity, and real life ish - that is when I feel closest to God.

And this is okay. This is what is so rich in my relationship with the Lord. This is what makes my spirit bright, my heart full, and my soul feel alive. But it took me a long time to get there...

Growing up I was the only public school kid while all the other kids went to the Christian church at our church. I was told that I'd likely be in prison as an adult because that is how public school kids ended up. As angry as I get from these hurtful moments, I know that God serves justice best.

In college, I was too liberal to belong to conservative church America. Apparently my belief that the church should love people in the Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ+) community was too much for people to handle. I was vocal anyway, even though that value was also not popular...

And now? In adulthood, my thoughts are so different that it scares other Christians. Even though doubts, questions, and thinking shouldn't scare people...because my doubts don't invalidate someone else's belief in Christ...But unfortunately that has been my repeated experience.

Then, when I moved to California whether it be Southern, Central, or Northern, I wasn't hipster enough or I definitely didn't make enough money or have the right career to fall into the churches where I believed in their vision, their pastor, and a select group of people within those communities...but was considered not in the "cool" circle at church...

And honestly, it baffles me that in all my niches, I've always felt like I belonged to all my niches, but church?

I've never felt more like an outsider, an impostor.

And when history has a problem with repeating itself in my experiences, to me, church is a place that rewards those who fit in, even the churches that are considered not the social norm in the church world.

And if you know me, social norms aren't my thing. Endorsing systems that reward people for fitting the mold are also not my thing. If it was, I'd have a very different life.

I am not walking away from God, church, or from those who attend it, although many have walked away from me when I start to question organized religion.

And truthfully, I am accepting that is okay. Most of my friends who are Christian I never met in church anyway...

And no, this is not the case where I think there is something wrong with any church I go to, I am attending a great church and I've been to many solid churches. But I also can't deny my challenges to feel like I belong to any or one.


I am a searcher and I am a norm breaker.

This is not a phase. A decade is a long time to be in a phase.

Home is ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

One of the first questions I get when people find out I am not from California is that they ask if I'll ever move back to South Dakota? Or if I'll ever move back to Southern California? Or this or that.

I'm not sure where I'll end up in a year or 10 years. Because everywhere I have ever lived, left, and stayed has felt like home.

I loved running through the endless corn fields, gazing under the starry skies, and smelling the sweet clover roaming the prairie of my childhood home.


Just as much as I loved living in the Center of the Nation as a teenager, where farming, miles of gravel road, the 4th of July, and unsweetened iced tea is a way of life. Yes, South Dakota is home.


And I felt at home in all the towns in between from the Pacific Northwest, to my quaint college town, to traveling and staying on the East Coast and the South for Summers. To the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the flatirons of Boulder. These Summers were home to me and all its beauty and incredible friendships formed.


And to the city of angels. How my eyes lit up driving from Malibu to Santa Monica seeing the sprinkles of palm trees and breathing in the salt water on yet, another sunny day.

I learned I could live anywhere and find joy....rural, city, suburbia, and everything in between. LA is home.



Or winding up the coast to Monterey Bay. There is no comparable feeling to hugging the coastline in Big Sur or crashing into the waves at Carmel beach or sharing this part of the earth with one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the world. Monterey is home.


and then, there is San Francisco. New-ish and my stomach still erupts with butterflies driving in the morning and seeing the tall buildings sit comfortably next to the ocean or driving out and watching the city lights sparkle in my rear view mirror. Street festivals, the mix of city and nature, and all the eccentric people, San Francisco, you are home.


There are too many places, people, and things in all the places I have ever been to call 1 place home. I am home wherever I am and have been.


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