A friend said to me the other day, “I am thankful that I did not grow up with any knowledge of who God is so I could discover him on my own without the limitations of preconceived beliefs and soul stifling rules”. Her road to discovery was hard, challenging and she was lucky to make it into the hands of Love. As I contemplated her statement I knew I had been blessed to grow up in church with a firm foundation but I also realized I had allowed it to box God and me in hindering my relationship with God. I was too churched. Churches have the tendencies to be very black and white in their teachings. Situations and choices are seen as either right or wrong leaving no room for gray areas. I have been in many churches who claim that everyone is welcome and you don’t have to be perfect to be there. I am certain that they really mean it. However, the undertone in many church teachings and the actions that do not embrace the messy situations of life, many times contradict their claims and cultivate judgement. Being an avid church goer, subconsciously I picked up a sense of unworthiness, judgement, fear of rejection and a limited view of who God is. For all the wonderful things church brought into my life those were some very big beliefs and patterns of being that God had to really burn out of me and are a continual opportunity for my soul’s evolution. God wanted me to discover Him and take Him out of the box of limited beliefs, freeing me to be the person He created me to be. God wants to evolve each of our souls and have a personal relationship with each of us. Have you allowed your church views to hinder that? It’s easy to do when we place our focus on the outward “church” and not on the inner relationship with God. We as individuals are the “church” as Jesus says. Remember God is in you and he will teach you what he wants you to know. Don’t give your power away to an institution or religion that is concerned with rules and laws that cover everyone under the same blanket. You are unique and what is right for you and the evolution of your soul may be “wrong” in their eyes. Your experience of God is not going to look like anyone else’s!…Church is not a prerequisite for developing a personal relationship with God. What it is, is a wonderful place to gather with other believers and worship God. It should be a place where you are free to live your mess out loud knowing that transformation is on the horizon. Church can either be refreshing or confining to your soul. It’s up to each one of us to seek our truth. Let God be your teacher!