There’s lots of reasons I left Christianity. Maybe I’ll eventually talk about all of them.
I was a part of the very sexy sort of Evangelicalism that followed pastors like John Piper and Mark Driscoll. Fundamentalist to the core, but wearing blue jeans and listening to iPods.
One of the things they always say is that the joy of God is the best thing there is. That being united with Jesus brings lasting, perfect joy–a stream of living waters flowing from inside the soul. They believe that. It’s in the Bible and everything.
I wanted it. I wanted it so bad it hurt. So I ran after it.
I read the Bible more than anyone I knew. I got up early to be alone for an hour every morning to seek after God. I handed out evangelistic tracts to strangers. I preached gospel messages in the open air. I moved to Asia to convert Muslims to Christianity. All for the Joy of Jesus.
I didn’t do it legalistically. I sought after the Spirit through the redeeming and atoning blood of Jesus, my representative and saviour. I wanted it for real, not as a religion. Not as a code.
I never got it.
Sure, once in a while I would feel uplifted through prayer. Sometimes my missionary work was exciting. But mostly I was dead inside. I would cry myself to sleep, trying to be quiet so as not to wake my roommate who was studying at Bible College with me. Nothing.
I gave everything to this system. I worked harder than everyone else and with a purer motive. I sweat and cried and nearly killed myself for the sake of the Gospel. I poured my blood out into the sea. So much that there was nothing left of me.
And God never spoke to me.
I did not experience his joy. This fountain of living waters. It wasn’t there. It just wasn’t there.
Have you felt that? Well I’ve got good news for you:
As soon as I started to free myself and my spirit from that oppressive religion, the joy started flooding in. After struggling with debilitating depression all my life, I am now happy all the time. All the time.
I worship Love now. Jesus is still my homeboy, but now he’s been freed from the religion that has continually crucified his ideas.
Here’s some great advice: If you’re in a system that isn’t making you happier and more loving, get the fuck out.