How Religion Gave Me A Fresh Start And Saved My Mental Health

Religion Changed Everything

Faith Changed Everything

I have been trying to write this article in my head for weeks.  I have so much that I want to say and I want to make sure that I do it justice.

If there is one article on my site I wish for you to read with an open mind, this is it.

Religion changed everything in my life on such a fundamental level that I can only begin to explain it in this article.

NoteThis is by no means my way of pushing religion on anyone.

I believe with all my heart that everyone should follow the path in life that makes them happy.

I am strictly detailing how religion has changed everything for me personally, in hopes of opening anyone’s mind who could benefit.

 

My Previous Religious Views

As a child I grew up in a non-religious household.

Religion just wasn’t something we discussed.

Nothing for it, nothing against it.

As I got older, my belief in god grew quite distant.

I loved science, dinosaurs, space, physics, etc.

I was a bit of a nerd and to me, science ruled out the possibility of a god.

Additionally, when you factor in all of the murders and tragedies on the news, god just seemed less likely as a possibility.

If god did exist, how could he let these things happen?

As my depression and anxiety developed, and I simultaneously watched my mother suffer with similar (or worse) issues, I grew to resent the idea of a god.

I would think “Why us?  We are kind, loving people.  Why do we suffer, and how could a god allow this?”

In all honesty, I may have developed a negative stigma towards the idea of religion for a portion of my life.

However, no matter what I went through or how resentful I felt, there was always a keen curiosity towards the idea.

If billions of people worldwide were partaking, there had to be something to it.

 

Providential Friendships

I was in trades school when I met one of my best friends.  It just so happens he was an avid Christian.

We shared very similar interests and we spent a lot of time going to the gym and hanging out together.

Religion never came in-between our friendship and there was never any reason for it to.

My friend never pushed anything on me but in order to get to know each other better, questions naturally came up.

Any questions I had regarding religion he would answer in a non-invasive and educational manner.

It was during this year that my cloud of negativity regarding religion began to dissipate.

My friend, being open to a dialogue about religion, let me see what I could personally take from it.

 

Devastation Was A Blessing In Disguise

As I mentioned earlier, my mom had struggled with depression for years and this particular December it had been worse than usual.

Two very important people in her life passed away and on top of that she underwent a surgery which had some complications leaving her nearly bed-ridden for three months.

My mom means the world to me and I would do anything to see her feel better.

One day, while eating dinner with my mother, she told me she wanted to try going to church but that she was too nervous to go alone.

I told her I would gladly go if it helped her.

Truth be told, it was just as much for me.

What I failed to mention before is that my depression AND anxiety were also the worst that they had ever been and I also needed some serious uplifting.

I had been dating the girl of my dreams for five years before she broke up with me that November.

Needless to say I was not taking it well.

I had plans of marrying her and I couldn’t get her out of my mind with all the effort I could muster.

It was haunting me day and night.

Additionally, prior to ending the relationship I was dealing with chronic fatigue, heavy set anxiety, and stuck in a soul sucking job that brought me to exhaustion and provided me with no purpose or fulfillment.

At this point, my body lacked the energy to pursue anything.

I felt both psychologically and physically broken and as someone who also struggles with anxiety, I feared my life would never be worthwhile again.

My mind had already sold itself to a life of displeasure and misery.  Many of you may know how nasty of a cycle this can be.

 

In The Beginning There Was…Church

church changed everything

(Not My Church)

One Sunday morning in the middle of December, my mother and I went to church for the first time…

This particular Church was NOT for us.

Everyone was roughly 100 years old, wearing robes and singing in a choir.  It was just way too much for two people who were still new to the idea.

Even though I did not enjoy it, I still told my friend I mentioned earlier that I went to church.

For some reason, deep down, I felt proud.

He admitted to me that he went to that same church before as well and he did not like it himself.  He then invited me to the church he had been visiting ever since, certain that I would like it more.

It just so happened that the next service was Christmas Eve.

I cannot describe the peace I felt upon entering this new church.  I knew right away this place felt like home.

Starting the very first week of January, I started going to Church every Sunday.

Once I found the right church it changed everything.  Soon enough my life started to come together like one big puzzle.

 

Religion = Self Help?

At a time where I was still dealing with a lot of personal issues, I started to look forward to Sundays more than any other day of the week.

I hated my job a lot, I was battling adrenal fatigue, my anxiety was out of control and for all I knew the love of my life was in love with another guy.

You could say I turned to God because I had nowhere else to go and if that wasn’t rock bottom I hope I never find out what is.

My life in my hands was not working out.  It was time for me to stop fighting through life alone.

I needed help desperately.

 

Yet still, it took me months to open my mind to the idea of God being real.

This never stopped me from attending church, and looking back, I even feel it was necessary to slowly ease in.

Even though my faith took time to grow, every time I went to church I learned something that really helped me.

The pastors were choosing subjects from the bible as if they were made for me.  I always left feeling motivated and with a little more hope than ever before.

The bible changed everything

 

Initially church was free self help for myself and my mother.

I never knew how much insanely applicable knowledge is packed into the bible and how powerfully healing it can be with the right teacher.

Previously, in my mind, the bible was stories of Adam and Eve, parting seas, big arks and nothing more.

I viewed it as a story book with no factual based evidence or applicable value.

Very quickly it became clear to me why the Bible is the most sold book of all time.

Before I began to believe there was a god, I realized that Jesus was a real person and he was arguably wiser than any man that has existed to this day.

I wondered how someone could be so wise, so long ago, with no technology or centuries of life to gain these insights?

 

I Adopted A What Can I Lose Mentality

Still it was not overnight that I could convincingly say I was “Religious” or “Christian”.

Two sources really helped me to take the next step.

The first is a video by a pastor named Andy Stanley.

He approaches everything in a manner in which even if you were opposed to religion, he might leave you contemplating.

Here is the video, which helped start my path to life changing faith:

The whole video is phenomenal

However, if you are strapped for time, I recommend starting at 11:00 or 17:00 for the main take away.

 

The second source is an excerpt from my favorite book of all time

How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

In this book, Dale Carnegie (the author) explains how he grew up in a religious household.

As he studied sciences and related topics in college, he drifted from God.

He goes on to say when he eventually stopped trying to convince himself why god couldn’t exist and let himself believe god does exist, his mental health flourished.

Believing in god changed everything for Mr. Carnegie who, in my opinion, is the best self help author ever.

Of the 1001 things I took away from that book, the above alone changed everything for me and set my life on a different path.

It is this mindset of “what do you have to lose by believing, and what are you gaining by not believing?” that can change your life too.

 

Different Views Make For Better Moods

I no longer base my moods on materialistic things and in return, my happiness levels are dramatically more consistent.

I wake up everyday happy to have a roof over my head, food to eat, a family to love, functioning legs, friends and so on.

Abundance comes naturally and scarcity is a thing of the past.

Now I give my problems to god and have faith that they will pass on his clock.  Not without effort on my part… Faith just gives me stone cold certainty things will work out when the time is right.

If hindsight has taught me anything, my problems have almost always led me to something greater or served a definite purpose.

Realistically, it never feels like it in the process.

 

Note:  This will be an absolute key part of this blog.  I will reference it time and time again.  Your problems shape you into something greater than you ever knew possible.

 

A perfect example of this would be an injury that forced me to quit my old job and stay out of the gym for months.

At the time it was awful.

Finances were super tight, I was frequently in severe pain, and I couldn’t engage in my favorite hobby (working out).

Somehow I kept my chin high and had faith that something positive would come out of it.

In the end, it forced me into a different line of work, put light on how much I hated my old job and how much it was robbing me of my energy and happiness.

Furthermore, I am now on the path to a career that excites me

I would still be stuck at a job that makes me miserable had I not gone through that injury.

Adopting the mindset of everything happens for a reason changed everything.

I will believe it when I see itYou will see it when you believe it – Mike Mannes

 

The amount of extra energy I have from not worrying about solving problems that are out of my control is fantastic.

By believing in a higher power, my stress is dramatically lower and I am therefore physically and mentally healthier.

What have I lost in doing this?  Absolutely nothing.

 

God Wants To See You Grow

Eventually I ended up getting back together with my girlfriend that I mentioned previously.

She had ended up dating a guy who had nothing in common with her, she said the relationship was a total flop and made her realize how special I was.

She was not religious before but she now enjoys coming to church with me every Sunday as well.

I still think God had a little play in her boyfriend choice!

I took a problem and asked god for help.

The time apart was eye opening for both of us and evidently necessary.  Now that we are back together, all the prior kinks have been worked out.

Through the low times of our break up, I never would have imagined it was a good thing.  This was just another lesson in the fact that Gods agenda doesn’t look the same as mine and most suffering is necessary.

If you don’t have loss you don’t grow – Dominick Cruz

 

 

Faith Changed Everything

Whether through gods grace, hard work or a touch of both, my life looks dramatically better this year than it has in a long time.

My finances are better than they have been in years, a far more purposeful career path presented itself to me, I was able to spend 2 months in Mexico backpacking and made tons of friends.

My anxiety is lower, and of course, I started this blog which has already changed my life and given me purpose.

But best of all, my relationships with my girlfriend and family have absolutely flourished.

I have never felt so connected with those closest to me and I wake up everyday feeling grateful.

With all of these things coming together, my mental health has never been more sound.

I firmly believe I would not be here without the life lessons I learned in church and the faith I now carry with me day to day.

 

Where to Start?

Hopefully I have peaked your interest.

If you want to expand your faith, but don’t know how to start, I recommend finding a good church to visit on Sundays.

Don’t give up if the first one you visit isn’t what you hoped!

There are thousands of church’s and every one is different.

If you can’t find one, check out the church I visit!  They post their sermons online every Monday, so you can watch them no matter where you are in the world.

Another great start is to buy a bible.

 

In Conclusion

In just one year of faith, a new and far more beautiful and peaceful life has been laid out to me.

I am calmer, healthier, and happier, and I can’t wait to see what next year holds.

Faith changed everything

 


 

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About the Author

Sharing my past experiences battling anxiety, fatigue and depression in hopes that I can help you with your own personal struggles.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Peter - success blogger - 20/02/2017 Reply

Hi Alex.

So true – in all respects. When I was at school many year ago, I was told that “religion is your anchor in life’s storms”. I never quite “got it” until much later. Regardless of what your religion may be, it will help you to maintain perspective and direction in life.

(and I’m saying this from experience during times I tried to go without it)

Just my 0.02c.

Keep up the great blog!

    Regan - 20/02/2017 Reply

    Hey Peter, this is exactly how I feel about it and yet I still have lots to learn.

    Thanks for the encouraging words!

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