I considered myself an atheist for several years. I didn’t want anything to do with the God I saw in my childhood’s hellfire-and-brimstone religion. It was an all-or-nothing way of looking at the world—polarizing—and my reaction was equally as strong. It took me a solid decade to de-program my thinking, and as the anger began to drop away, I softened to view myself as an agnostic.
At university, my thinking began to open up as I studied psychology and philosophy. I started to see the universal thread that connects us all: our desire to find meaning. I began the process of deciding what was right for me to keep and what I needed to learn for myself.
As I came to metaphysics, I was able to take that exploration to a much deeper level. The best framework for me was a spiritual connection, not a manmade construct. I could finally relate. I could finally relax and trust. I began to understand what faith really meant.
As I finished my master’s degree, I was ordained as a Reverend. I knew right away that I would love to officiate for LGBTQ couples, to bring love and light to their union. But did I want to serve as a spiritual leader all the time? It was like a cloak I would mentally put on and take off. Could I see myself walking that path, leading others? Was I true to that path in my day-to-day life, not just when I had a platform to speak?
I began to trust it and I began to get really excited about it. Spirituality is how I connect to Source, and for the first time, I could do it in joy and wanted to help others do the same. I began to tell people. The ones who really knew me were pleased for me. Others seemed to take it in stride as part of my perpetual quest for self-development.
But, it wasn’t all easy. I was disheartened to meet with derision by someone close to me. Without even asking me about it, the 75+ classes I took, all of the intense time I spent in meditation and introspection, all of the work I had done to get to that point was brushed aside as ‘anyone could get ordained from one of those Internet places.’
I felt like a bucket of cold water had been dumped on me. I shut down.
It wasn’t until later that I was able to fully process my reaction. Why did that bother me so much? Yes, the person is someone I love and I wish it had been handled differently. But, it was bothering me. Like, really bothering me. When we have an exaggerated response to something, it’s often an indicator that a shadow wound has been triggered.
When I began the process of inquiry, I realized that person’s opinion reflected my own fear that all of my work wasn’t good enough, that no matter how much time I had spent, if it wasn’t stamped by a specific church, it wasn’t valid. Some small part of me still felt that I wasn’t enough.
Once I got what I was really upset about, I was able to work to heal it and release it. I was able to reframe it and recognize that I was upset in direct proportion to how much my ordination actually mattered to me. Then, I could do the work to take care of myself.
That bucket of cold water became my baptism.
I came out the other side a different person than when I started. Of course, nothing is perfect and I still have moments of doubt. But as A Course in Miracles states: What we view as humility is actually arrogance. We’re all created special. When we stand in the way of that, we’re going against ourselves. It is arrogant to play small. The question really becomes: Who are you not to be great?
We are each given gifts and it’s our purpose to use them to serve. You’re here to shine, we all are. Find your truth—your truth—not the one your parents gave you, not the one you learned in school, not the one your friends live by. Find the truth that comes from within, the truth that makes you feel connected and open and solid. You’ll know it when you’re in it. You’ll feel like you’ve come home to yourself. That’s where you find God.