I Don’t Need God
Let’s get this out of the way early: I’m not trying to tell anyone else how they should live their life, just sharing my struggle. I have a lot of interests so my writing/conversations/blog tend to be all over the place, but I usually paint myself in a good light for the sake of my ego. I’m gonna change it up and be real for a few minutes. Also, I say a few minutes, but I can tell you now this is gonna be a long post.
At any point since I was five years old if you asked me, “Are you a Christian?” I would have said “Yes.” In fact, someone asked me that question just a few weeks ago. Someone I literally made a conscious decision never to lie to. Looking back on my answer (it was via text), I’ve gotta say that I’m damn good at supporting my “Yes” answer even though it’s a lie. So good, in fact that I convinced myself I was telling the truth…I wasn’t. It was only a few days ago that I discovered this was the case though. I’m having an identity crisis in its truest form. A huge part of my identity for 20-something years is gone.
To my friends asking why I’ve been distant and non-communicative the last week: that’s why.
I’ve had only two conversations about it. One is my devoutly Christian friend David Daubert. He’s closer than a brother, knows his convictions, and loves me too much to judge. He’s the first person I’ve ever told I wasn’t a Christian (which was weird to say). The second was with my closest friend in California whose name I won’t mention because she wouldn’t like it. She’s one of the most anti-religious people I’ve ever met; she literally has a negative emotional reaction when she walks by churches. (We take walks a lot so I’ve seen it frequently.) Despite being very different, I still love her and feel very comfortable opening up to her. She’s probably the only person I’ve ever shared my real life goals with.
I tell you about them for a few reasons:
- To thank them for being trusted friends
- To emphasize that I sought two very different opinions
- Even though I eventually ignored both of their advice, I still seriously considered it and appreciate them
Why I Wasn’t a Christian
How can you not know your religion? That’s easy, I’m not religious. I have no desire to be. I want a personal relationship with God. Just like any relationship, it takes work. I’d stopped putting in the effort.
Many people have this idea of a healthy relationship being a two way street. I don’t see it that way. I see two one-way streets headed in the same direction. If it were a 2 way street, one person could stop putting in effort and the result would be the same: you end up meeting somewhere in the middle. With two one-way streets, if one person stops putting in the effort they get left behind. That’s what happened. When I fell behind due to lack of effort, I lost sight of God in the distance. The direction both one-way streets are heading becomes very important in my paradigm. If you’re not headed in the same direction – if you’re off by even one degree – you wind up in very different places over time.
I live an easy life. I have friends, freedom, money, goals, some level of success, ambition…almost all the things that make life worth living. It hasn’t always been that way though. I’ve been in bad situations in every one of those categories, and it’s really easy to rely on God when shit’s fucked up – I obviously haven’t decided to stop swearing When things are going great, however, I don’t need God anymore so the relationship fails. That’s a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. I forget who said it, but something that always rings true with me is: “Immature love says ‘I love you because I need you.’ True love says ‘I need you because I love you.’” Like the Israelites in the desert, I had an immature relationship with God. Because everything in life is going so well right now, I don’t need anyone. Not God, which is obvious since I’m writing this post. Not another mentor, I’m doing pretty well with the ones I have. Not a girlfriend, I’ve been happily single for four years. Not a massive circle of friends, it’s shrunk to a tiny fraction of what it once was: just those I truly love. It doesn’t mean I don’t want those things, I want all of those things, but I’m at a place where I truly don’t need them. I think that makes it the right time to start building again.
A lot of things happened over the last few weeks. Most significantly, I woke up one morning a few days ago and I looked over to the other bed (I was in a hotel). My buddy was already awake and hating himself in that way that only a sever hangover can make you hate yourself. We’d partied really hard the night before (rockstars would be envious) so he looked at me and said, “Fuck bitches. Get money.” Seriously, it will go down in memory as a most epic night. I laughed it off, but it got me thinking. I like chasing girls. I’m not one to go home with a stranger, but I like flirting and getting numbers and such. I also like making money. It’s how I keep score, and I like to win. Is that really what life had come down to? Then it hit me: these weren’t the motivations or actions of a Christian. ”Wtf David? If ‘by their fruit you will recognize them,’ then you’re not a Christian.” (I often talk to myself out loud).
My business partner always threatens to make a pull-string doll of me since I repeat the same phrases over and over. A phrase he’s probably heard me say a million times is, “I’m me, if you don’t like it that’s too bad.” It’s true. I have no problem making friends. I always want another friend, but I’m not gonna try and force it – again, it’s not a two way street where we can meet in the middle.
It’s an interesting phenomenon when you ask yourself a question and your subconscious actually answers back. I woke up that morning, and for the first time in longer than I can remember I didn’t really like who I was. My subconscious was quick to fire back “I’m me. If you don’t like it, that’s too bad.” I really don’t like being told what to do, but even worse is someone telling me I’m incapable of doing something. When my subconscious basically told me I couldn’t change, I was pissed!
Getting back to my two conversations. I told David that I’d come to the conclusion I wasn’t a Christian and that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be. For a number of reasons, but mainly that I really enjoy my lifestyle. I’d have to give up some of the things I really enjoy to get right with God again. Life is good, why would I want to change anything? ”Because you just said you didn’t like who you’d become.” Fair point. He challenged me to give up the things I was holding onto for 30 days. Kinda like a personal Lent. If I thought life was better before, go back, if not, continue anew.
My second trusted friend gave me somewhat different advice. She said, “Who cares? Make up your own set of rules. Stop doing the things that make you dislike yourself and just keep doing everything else.” Another fair point. Life is good – with the exception of my identity crisis, an emotional struggle I’m dealing with, and a physical stress that’s just come up. Those are all things I can tackle myself though. I don’t need a god’s help.
I’ve been actively thinking on this for the last day or so and, along with the other 2 stresses I mentioned, it’s consumed almost all my energy.
By design, it’s probably not obvious from the title that I chose to just get right with God again. I’m not a fan of waiting. I don’t want to take 30 days to figure stuff out. I’m an entrepreneur: I make quick, calculated decisions.
It’s now 5:42am PT. (It’s actually closer to 8am now, but I had to write the rest of the post.) About 45 minutes ago I woke up with a vision I didn’t care to see. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After fighting my ego to get down on my knees, I battled it out with God for a bit. He won. I don’t need God, I’ve reinvented myself twice before, and I could easily do it again. I want a relationship with Him. I want to follow the rules. I want to read the Bible and pray and meditate. I want to be a Christian, so I’m going to be. Simple as that.
Why make this so public?
Nothing is more important to me than my friends (yes, that includes success and money). I have incredibly high emotional walls, if I’ve let you in then I want you there. Another of my sayings: Get the best and keep it forever. That applies to the people in my life too. I make decisions and I stick with them, but this is a warning to those close to me that I will probably lean on you for support at some point. Also, don’t mistake this post as me letting everyone in, the details of this decision are still reserved securely behind my aforementioned walls.