faith

Branching Away from the Catholic Church

17So several of my blog posts have been about how I’ve been desiring to grow my relationship with Jesus and that I was going to explore outside of the Catholic church which I have known and been familiar with my entire life (we’re talking 13 years of Catholic school). I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I think a big part of me thought that by branching out, I’d feel even more confident that the Catholic church was were I belonged. However, that is the farthest thing from what really happened…

I believe it was in early October-ish when I went to my first service at Crossroads – a nondenominational Christian church intended for people who have given up on ‘church’ but not on God. I’d heard so many positive things about Crossroads, and ultimately what really gave me the extra push to go was a school assignment of all things. I had to do an ethnography where I would observe a community gathering that I was not familiar with, so I went to Crossroads. I kid you not, although I was a little nervous and overwhelmed being in such a different environment, I walked out of there honestly feeling like I had finally found something that I’d been missing for 19+ years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a few, really powerful moments in my life where I truly felt the presence of God, but I’d never felt such a strong calling from Him than I did that first day at Crossroads.

Every service I’ve been to since (which has been like every weekend possible), I get the same overwhelming feeling of joy that I’m where I’m supposed to be, and God is so happy to have me there. I’ve grown closer to Jesus in just a few short months than I think I have in my whole life. I find myself thinking of Him and how He works in my life randomly throughout each day. I’ve never experienced that before. When I pray, I can sometimes hear what He has to say to me and not just what I have to say to Him. It’s literally one of the coolest things ever, and it’s so hard to explain, but I know it’s Him, and I know He is with me.

Going to Crossroads has not turned me into a perfect Christian woman by any means. I’ve definitely still made mistakes since then, but there’s a huge difference in how I view myself and those mistakes and how I know God views me. I know He forgives me, and each time I make a mistake, it just fuels me to do better because I know God has so much more in store for me. I want to know Him, and I want to please Him, and I’m learning and trying. I understand now that all He asks of me is to honestly try and learn from my mistakes.

There’s still a part of me that feels almost… guilty? for leaving the Catholic church in the dust, and I think maybe it’s just because it really is one of the few things that has remained constant in my life for well, my whole life. Another part of me feels that there’s this sense of ‘Catholic or nothing’ that I’ve grown up with, so it’s a little hard for me to feel okay not claiming myself to be Catholic. But it all comes down to what makes me happiest and where I feel closest to Christ, and for me, that’s at Crossroads.

Finding Crossroads does not mean that my journey to growing closer to Jesus is over. It means that it’s just begun, and I could not be any more excited. I’ve started the devotional Jesus Calling that was a gift from one of my biggest role models, my Aunt Traci, and it is the coolest thing ever. The devotional is written in the 1st person point of view with that person being Jesus, so it feels like He’s really talking to you – like a friend, per say. Like I said, I’m so excited to continue to foster this relationship with Christ. I’m working on cherishing the Catholic church as it was the place where I first came to know Him, but also allowing myself to let go and really immerse myself in this new found place I call home. This has been a huge stepping stone in my life, and I thank you readers for following along with me.

Here are some of my earlier posts on this faith journey:

Rediscovering my Faith

Finding God in the Little Things

I’m sure there will be more posts about my journey with Christ in the future, and I thank you again for taking the time to read!

xo,

Megan LouAnn

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5 thoughts on “Branching Away from the Catholic Church

  1. Hi, Megan! I understand how you’re feeling. I’ve been feeling kind of distant from my church (I’m Catholic as well, by the way) for a while, and I am reflecting about what it really means to be a Christian. You shouldn’t feel guilty for “branching out”. In fact, if you feel closer to God now, it’s actually better for you! My friend did the exact same thing, and she feels happier than she’s ever been. As long as you’re comfortable with where you stand and are a good person, it’s okay to look for other ways. šŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much for the reassurance! And if you’ve been feeling distant, I highly encourage you to explore and see what else is out there! I don’t think you’ll regret it even if you don’t particularly like what you find. You’ll just find answers!

  2. Hey, you’re in the same boat as me! In 2006, when I was turning 18, I decided, as a Catholic, it was time to leave. However, my primary goal was to become a Protestant of some sort more so than really get close to Christ, as it had a lot of moral baggage behind it. Yet I interviewed a Presbyterian pastor and while there wasn’t much new under the sun concerning my hunt, I decided, now that I was acquainted with evangelical Christianity, that is where I would settle on. And yes, God led me to the Presbyterian denominations. I belong, by the way, to the conservative PCA, not the “mainline” (i.e., liberal-leaning) PC(USA). My first church of the three I have belonged to was PC(USA), though it happened to be one of their more conservative congregations (rather few and far between, and yes, where I did the interview).

    And that was nearly 9 years ago! I’m just like you, we all sin, but Jesus died for our salvation. However, what I can frankly say is that as we grow in Christ, we must die to sin. As you grow older and walk in Christ, you should (hopefully) become more holy. (That’s a rule of thumb, there are exceptions, enough said.)

    As far as theology, just follow your heart. Just because I’m a Reformed (aka Calvinist) believer, which Presbyterianism champions, doesn’t mean you need to be. I will pray for your ever-increasing relationship with Jesus, which, in the end, is all that matters, since after all, not everyone is theologically conscious (as I am).

    I hope you benefit richly from Crossroads church and grow in the wisdom of Christ.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Frank

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