Monday, August 15, 2011

Religion is Burning Me Out

No-Religion-small.gifHow do you even title a post like this I know. In reality though, its exactly how I feel. Trying to shove Bible down the throats of bored children who close their ears and goof off to any Bible curriculum I ever try is old. The church we have been attending for 8 months now has grown frustrating. My kids still have not adapted so I am getting awkward feelings towards the children's ministry not knowing WHY my kids 6 and under all cry still 8 months later, EACH and every Sunday. No, we didn't go Sunday this week because I quite honestly couldn't bare another week alone with 7 children dropping them all off crying(many times I pick them up still crying). If your wondering why I go alone its because Nate works weekends right now.

 I have gotten diligent this year and really wanted to work through the entire Bible which I have done and digging in deep has left me feeling kinda.....hmmm skeptical of the Bible. Oh man that sounds rotten out loud, but this blog is about the nitty gritty of my life.....for happy, better, worse, good, bad, ugly, truthful feelings. It is what it is and I won't make excuses any longer for myself so if your reading and your uncomfortable, click off my page! I'm just being honest. Some of the things in the Bible are soooo disturbing or just feel plain untruthful like the killing of all the baby boys by king Herod, sending Moses down the river in a basket, Abraham making a covenant directly with God???Do I really believe people ever talked directly with God? NO, that's why I left the Mormon church, the whole Joseph Smith spoke with God was too much for my brain to get past. God punishing people in various ways in OT times(never thought of God that way before) and so on. I read and loved the NT 7 years ago and have always referred back to it, however, having gotten up close and personal with the OT this past year I feel all my skepticism creeping back in. I enjoy all the mushy Bible study books and other self help Christian books as they confirm my beliefs about being a stay at home mom and raising a large family and its importance. Those books confirm that I should be an excellent wife and mother and stay in the home if possible creating nourishing meals, cleanliness and order in my home via being a good home manager. I believe all those things with EVERY part of my being! But that is where I think I got confused. I don't need a Bible to confirm that decision. My husband and I know it to be right for our family so its right. Period. I think that is why they appealed to me always though and then they throw in that God wants me to do it so I would think, "Oh, even better." But really, when I get into my Bible and read and read, I feel so turned off or skeptical by such large portions. I admit many portions make me feel warm and gooey too. I just can't get past feeling like a fraud some days reading some of these things to my kids. We read the story of Abraham and Sarah yesterday and it just was sort of a pointless phony sounding story and all the kids looked at me like I was nuts when I finished. It makes me feel even weirder when my small kids act weirded out or skeptical by many stories we read as well. This has been happening for years every time I add Bible back into our homeschooling.

 I am on a break from Bible, Christian books and all of it to sort out where I stand and how I feel. I think we are all wired to believe in something bigger and I do. Nate does too, though he has NEVER believed in the Bible. With that said, he was never opposed to my reading it to the kids or even being a Bible thumper if its what I believed. He has supported the kids and I by attending the LDS church and other churchs with us each week. His tolerance is true love! How much of word for word Bible do I reallllllly realllllllly believe though, I don't know at this point.

 I am also still bothered by so many prayers going unanswered or being answered in such a negative way. I am sad for world hunger, war, and so many other things a loving "parent" wouldn't allow. Isn't that an oxymoron to say God allows these things and is the most loving Father of all, yet us parents would lose our children to CPS if we allowed war or hunger within our own homes? Confused? I know I am. If you made it this far, I won't apologize for offending you, but thank you for reading my babbling thoughts on my journey of religions/spirituality over the years.

At this point in time my efforts will be going into homeschooling the best I can, making wonderful snuggly memories with my kids year round, getting out on dates with my hubby more often, riding my horse, weaning(yes I'm rotten and weaning down Jaxxon(10mo) to only a few X a day) so I can get out more, and doing what I feel is morally right or wrong for ME. The long skirts I enjoy some days, but that's when weather permits. I posted pics in them hoping to be the good little Christian woman that could encourage others on their journey and I don't regret it. I did what I felt was right at the time. However, my feelings are ebbing and flowing with life, learning, searching and reading.When its 100 out those skirts are atrocious and to call them anything else would be dead wrong. Modesty in soCal mid summer is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. So here I go to center. Balance. Getting away from extreme religion, dress, homemaking, homeschooling, etc. I am learning each day I live more and more how I enjoy living and what works best for my family.

I am excited to be coming to the realization that I don't need the Bible or Christian books to tell me that its good or valuable to stay at home and homeschool my kids or to find worth in scrubbing toilets and wiping butts. I just know it to be true in my heart. Its valuable and I am proud to do it.....not because God or the Bible say I should. Its nice not to feel pressured to be religious anymore just because I homeschool. I don't have to throw my kids into school because I don't want to drag myself to the torture chamber church each week. My older kids might ask to go to church again in a year or two because that is what roped me in after our last big, long few years break and ya know what....this time I will tell them to go with a friend if they need to. I won't deny them, but I won't go each week with them either. Its too brainwashing skirting around many things that really exist in the Bible that I will never be able to believe or agree with. I don't want to go back down that road again! 

Alrighty, off to clean and homeschool for the value of doing it because it needs done and its important........not for the "glory of God" or "good works." Amen to that!!

18 comments:

Mrs. said...

I just wanted to say as someone that has followed your blog for a couple years now (has it been that long?!) that I have never understood the "religious Janis" ... it doesn't suit you honestly. Why don't you just let go? Relax a bit and just be without searching so much... It's ok to not be religious... believe me it is. We are agnostic (DH is atheist) and I do believe in something higher but I have no interest in searching and dragging my kids through my searches. I am content in just saying "yeah, I think there are gods or a god or something but I am not religious" ... try it. Be sure of yourself.

lilpeasinmypodfromgod said...

Thank you Mrs.

Mami to two girls! said...

I have also followed you for the past few years and believe that a happy mommy is a happy family... In my own opinion you can still belie in a higher being or be spiritual without being religious.... What I think it's most important is that you stay true to who you truly are. What this menas is that you do what is best for you And your family And not worry what society tells you that you should be doing... Keep your head up get intouch with your inner you and I am sure your anxiety regarding religion will subside..

Sankat said...

Sorry you are struggling again.

I for one, space out my religion. Yes, I am LDS, active, and LOVE it...however I can not spend an hour a day reading scriptures. It's too much for me. When we homeschooled for 3 years, we didn't do any religious studies because I didn't want my kids to get sick of it. I am slowly working through the Old Testament and it's taken me well over a year to get about 1/2 way through. I mix up my scripture study and read different things.

I hope you continue to enjoy your adventure and that you find peace again.

Julia said...

I applaud and appreciate your honesty. You are making decisions based on what feels right to you. You are not pigeon-holing yourself due to conclusions you came to earlier in life. To me, this shows fearlessness, and the ability to grow and it is beautiful.

Stephanie said...

www.reformedmissionary.org

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with things. First I have to ask, if your kids are so upset about going to the kids church have you sat in with them on activities? Or checked to see why they are so unhappy going?
You have a big family and a lot going on. I can see where you would need a break. But I wonder if the kids see that you aren't truly happy being there, or that you don't believe what you are reading and its making them doubt their own faith...My kids LOVE going to church and ask all the time when church is. They enjoy going to sunday school or kidz club on saturday evening. So there could be a problem with the curriculum or teachers.
The old testament is very hard to read. Things in that are so different than today's world.
I don't agree with the skirts and being modest etc. I think we can be comfortable in ourselves and still be respectful to God. We know morally right from wrong.
There are days I think what if all of this is for nothing..What if we die and there is nothing...But then that is where my faith kicks in. None of us know for sure..but we can still enjoy church and find ways to learn about God and have it be fun. Look for a church that you enjoy and that you get a good message out of. I can tell you if my kids had to sit and listen to the bible they would be bored also...Learning for them has to be fun or they won't get anything out of it. Remember you are the mom and everything else will fall into place. I hope you figure things out. Please know too, these are just my opinions and I hope you can figure out what is in your heart.

Tufford Family said...

Janis

All I can say is I will pray for you....

Michael said...

I apologize if my previous comments were condescending. My writing tends to be terse and is often not received as I intended it.

I grew up Mormon and after leaving the mormon church I tried the "christian" thing for a while. I didn't like it any better than mormonism. My study of the bible showed it to be full of contradictions and almost as bad as the book of mormon. After seeing the show "Banned from the Bible" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banned_from_the_Bible I decided that it was all bull****. I have no use for any religion (organized or other) any more.

I don't know if God exists. I don't know if an intelligent force created the universe or if just happened spontaneously. I don't know if there is a next life where the "truth" will be revealed. All I know is that I have this life now and I need to make the most of it and not waste time with things that bring me down.

I do find it interesting that the basic structure of matter tends toward building larger and more complex molecules until they are able to self-replicate, thus creating life.

The only thing I know for certain is that we are each on our own path to determine what is right and wrong in our lives. What works for some doesn't work for others.

In our house we have a saying. If mom's not happy then nobody's happy. I hope you are able to find a path that brings you happiness.

Elena said...

Wow, this was SO honest. I´ve been struggling with the same things myself for years now, and so far i have decided that no organized religion is for me, at least now, and that i will keep living my life as I think is appropriate and makes me happy.

Do what you think is right for your family, and you´ll be doing the right thing.

My Life With Boys said...

I am sorry you are struggling with this. I do have to say though- being a Christian is HARD work sometimes. God never promised us it would be easy. In fact, I find that it can be harder than not being a believer. We are constantly bombarded with temptations, doubts, fears, trials and struggles. Life here on earth will never be perfect, glorious or easy. That only comes once we enter eternity (if you are a true believer). Satan is constantly trying to get us to doubt God's very existence and when we do, he rejoices. I am not saying you are wrong for doubting. I have myself but then I think of everything that would not have been possible without God. In the end, my faith is greater than my doubts. I have seen His hand in my life over and over again. NO, he does not always answer your every prayer. In fact, sometimes he has given me the opposite of what I had asked. It's not until days, months or years down the road that I see WHY he answered the way he did. Then when I see that HE saw the BIGGER picture I understood. If I would have been given what I had prayed for to begin with it would have been detrimental to his ultimate plan for my life and His plan is much greater than my plans could ever be. He knows what we do not and he sees what we do not. It's all about faith and sometimes that faith can waver (we are only human). In the long run trusting God is so rewarding! And yes, sometimes God does give us the desires of our hearts maybe just not in our timing but definitely in His. Don't worry about church as much as your personal relationship with God. Take care and seriously email me if you ever want to talk. I can tell you need the encouragement and you could use a good friend. (momma24boyz@gmail.com)

Andrea said...

As a mother I know that God is real just by looking at my son. You don't need religion or even to spend time reading the bible to believe in Him.

lilpeasinmypodfromgod said...

Thank you for all the support. Its wonderful to be encouraged and not chastised by so many people! I really appreciate it:)

NDmomma said...

I have been reading off and on for a few years too, and I feel some of the same religious push/pull, although I was raised in a fundie family. I married my college sweetheart and supported him through a Phd in Theology/biblical studies. We have 3 kids with one on the way soon. One of the best things about my marriage is that I have my very own theologian to shoot my skeptical questions to. And he answers them honestly. Many of the stories were not understood to be literal in the time they were written; they were stories written by people who God enabled to tell the stories of the jewish people and early church history. It's not inerrant, so there are mistakes in logic and in basic timeline. I've heard learned and wise people debate these points, and you can use the Bible to disprove the Bible pretty easily. If the Bible was all we had to go on, we would probably jump ship, and my husband has been to an evangelical seminary. All that to say, we try to focus on the aspects of the Christian faith that are essential and don't go for anything extreme or paranoid. I teach a children's program at our church during the sermon, my husband teaches theology/Bible at a catholic college, and we talk faith all the time as a couple and a family. It's about His grace, His love for us, and our desire to love God and each other in response-- the message at the heart of the gospel. We don't care about creationism because we weren't there, and it's not essential. We don't think Jonah was swallowed by a whale, or that he even had to exist. It all comes back to Jesus for us. Other people can believe what they want to, but this is what allows us to keep our faith and raise our kids in it honestly.

marie said...

I appreciate your honesty- but I sure do hope you insulate your kids from your back and forth wavering between homeschool/public school and atheism/extreme fundamentalism. All this back and forth can't be good for them! Please take time to really evaluate what you want before making any more changes in your childrens' religious upbringing.

lilpeasinmypodfromgod said...

Marie I do NOT share my innermost thoughts with my children candidly as I do on this blog so they are not confused or lost as you seem to think. Their church attendance has always been spotty so not going to church doesnt make them bat an eye. Me not reading Bible to them makes them happy so its nice NOT to shove in down their throats. Even when I did read it daily, we always questioned things together wondering about different things and how or whys or different stories. I was not fundamentalist. Closest we came to that was exploring the LDS church I guess. I am not athiest either. My family was athiest growing up. I always considered myself agnostic and probably still do. My kids have been thoroughly educated about religions and know the Bible well so they will be very prepared in life as to what THEY personally beleive as I have not forced anything on them. Even when I wore more skirts than usual they never noticed. I never made my daughters do it.

marie said...

I'm glad to hear it. Appearances can be deceiving and I only see what's posted on the blog- but your previous posts that hinted at patriarchal literature, the skirts thing, as well as some of your previous anti-religious posts did make me wonder a bit! It's good to know that in your life, religion (or lack thereof) has always been less prominent than on your blog. I wish you all the best as you sort out your spiritual views and applaud your recognition that being a stay at home mom is important whether or not it comes with a biblical mandate.

Dea said...

I've often wondered if you were more drawn to religion because of your large family, your desire to stay at home and your homeschooling. Especially since it is so hard to connect with homeschoolers who aren't religious and the ones that do homeschool tend to be stricter religious types - at least in my experience. I have also found that you seem more "yourself" in your non-religious state, until you start to miss the structure that it gives you. I hope you can find the right balance. I read a blog post lately by a woman who is an athiest and a homeschooler. I know you're not an athiest, but you might find the last few of her blog entries interesting as she talks a bit about being a homeschooling mom and a non-christian. Her blog is at http://ourfreerangelife.blogspot.com/ I think she's pretty cool.