When I was a Christian, I:
- Constantly felt guilty for the "sinful" things I kept doing, such as pre-martial sex, drinking, masturbation, etc.
- Kept asking God to take away my desire to "sin" and to live in the "spirit", not the "flesh"
- Distanced myself from non-believing friends and prayed for them to come to the Lord. Tried to not participate in dirty/vulgar language and jokes
- Did not watch certain shows or listen to certain music or read certain literature because it went against the Bible,.
- Constantly felt "convicted" by the holy spirit to change my ways, to preach the gospel to people (even though deep down i didn't want to, but I convinced myself it was God's will and it would be worth doing)
- Let people "walk all over me", example I had a guy move in with us temporarily because he was trying to look for a job and had nowhere to go. Well, weeks went by and he wasn't on a persistent job search. Instead of standing up for myself, I allowed him to continue to stay there because I believed that I had to offer hospitality and compassion like Jesus did. I came up with excuses for why it was ok for him to continue staying with us, even though deep down I wanted him to leave. (in a nutshell, i repressed my true feelings to be "christ like")
- Had doubts and nagging questions about my faith lingering in my mind, and I kept asking God to help me with them so I could have more faith in him.
- Felt obligated to go to church, to read my bible every day, and to pray every day. I wanted God to transform me into a "new creation" so badly, I cried and asked for him to help me overcome my issues, and it didn't seem like anything happened. I told myself "i am a new creation" but it was all in my head. Not much changed about me at all and the people around me didn't notice much either.
Now that I have left the church and the faith, I:
- Do not feel guilty for the life I lead, unless I do something fucked up like seriously hurting someone's feelings
- I use my own moral judgement to make decisions, and learn from mistakes, forgive myself, and move on.
- Do not evangelize my spirituality to people, nor do I feel obligated to
- Stand up for myself way more than I used to, I don't tolerate people's shit if they take it too far.
- am no longer bombarded by nagging doubts and questions because I have my own views, opinions, spirituality, ideas, etc...and they don't have to match up to an old book anymore.
- Do not feel obligated to go to church or do anything religiously. I do what I want to do on sundays.
- Am not trying to become a "new creation" but instead, I accept myself for who I am while improving on things that could be improved on.
- Am not worried about afterlife, or any kind of eternal heaven or hell, because I don't know what's on the other side, I'm only human.
- rely on and believe in myself more than ever
Overall, I feel free. My life is more enjoyable, less stress and worry and tension. I even took up daily meditation to clear my mind of any stress and it's been effective for me. Deconverting was painful and kind of heartbreaking, but in the end I came out feeling much better about myself and life.