A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend, Ray, and he brought up an idea he had presented me with before. It was the “ten years from now plan” and in his picture he saw me as a minister. I responded by saying that I do kind of like the idea of it, but I don’t really think I fully align with any one particular church or religion. I mentioned a comment from an old post where someone said I was trying to create my own religion-Lesleeism. I told Ray that if it was the church of Lesleeism, I could definitely be the minister, but otherwise I’d just have to go with the flow and see where it leads. He responded with the idea that we all have our own personal religions, he has Rayism, and everybody else has their own “isms.”
Some people might disagree with me on this. They will promise they are true to their religion. But what I see when I look out into the world is that most of us straddle the line instead of walk it. People pick and choose what works. It’s all about Jesus’ birth at the Christmas Eve service and all about Santa Clause on Christmas morning. We “forgive those that trespass against us” until we come face to face with someone with different political or religious beliefs. We remind those around us of the importance of upholding the commandments, as we break them daily or hourly in our minds (which if I understand correctly the bible says is the same as actually breaking them.) We teach of the power of forgiveness through salvation from Jesus, but we hold grudges that often follow us to the grave. (It seems all my examples are from Christianity, sorry about that, it’s all I know.)
So what is my answer to this seeming hypocrisy? OWN IT!! Admit that religion is not a “one size fits all.” I don’t think any one person can mold themselves to perfectly into one religion and trying to is simply putting you out of integrity with yourself. When I was young and was taught about Hell, it absolutely broke my heart. I just couldn’t rationalize it. I didn’t get how an evil person could recite the words “I accept Jesus into my heart as my savior” and be admitted to Heaven, while someone good and charitable who may not know or get the opportunity to say those words would burn for eternity in Hell. It didn’t make sense. The world is too big and there is too much diversity for that to be true. Because of this idea and others, I left God behind for years. When I learned new ideas, one being that we all experience the same thing when we die no matter how “good” or “bad” we are, I could embrace God and spirituality again. What rang true for me was the idea that our human existence is like school. We are here to learn and evolve and we keep coming back until we meet the goals and can graduate and return to “God.” But that one idea, that feels right to me, could absolutely assault the sensibilities of someone else. And that is OK! I am not asking anyone to take my words and beliefs as truth, I am suggesting you simply ask yourself what YOUR truth is. It will probably not be the same as mine and if you’re completely honest with yourself it may not even be the same as your religion’s.
So I encourage you to find your own truth…create your own religion, one that makes you feel loved and happy! Grab a plate and partake of the buffet of spirituality!