Towards the end of 2016, I faced some circumstances that led to me not going to church regularly over a period of about a year. Over the next couple of days, I will share my story to show how my life changed after I stopped going to church. I am simply sharing my experiences here in case there is facing the same issues or knows someone who is. With God’s guidance, I hope to shed some light on some of the issues I believe The Church is facing today. Please feel free to share your views and questions through this process. I’ll start from the beginning.
I mentioned in a previous post that I got saved at the age of about five. Growing up as a preacher’s kid ensured that I knew all the ins and outs associated with church. I prided myself at being the best “student” in Sunday School. I memorized all the Bible verses, (In English, Kiswahili and Kikuyu) and was never shy about going up on stage to give a testimony or sing a song. Being able to participate in these kinds of church activities made for good public speaking skills. (I am very thankful to God for this). So, while I was not the best student in school, I was often called upon to give speeches, Votes of Thanks and for the occasional singing performance to entertain guests. When I was twelve, I remember standing in front of the class before the start of evening prep and sharing the Word a few times. Before we went to sleep at night, we would take turns to pray together. I really looked forward to when it would be my turn and even asked people if they would let me lead the prayer in their stead.
Then came High School. Here, I discovered new levels of freedom that I had not anticipated. I had been in boarding school since I was eleven, but Primary school was different. For one, the school I went to was at a church. It was also and didn’t have that many students, so it was easy for the teachers and other staff to keep us in check. The High School I went to was much bigger, in terms of population. Students had more freedom to choose what they wanted to do in their free time. I also had the luxury of not having my parents around me every day. If you know me, you might know that I suffer from major FOMO. When I was a teenager, it was like 5 times worse. I wanted to be associated with the cool kids so on Saturday evenings, instead of going to CU (Christian Union) meetings, which is what my parents and former teachers would have expected of me, I chose to go to where there was entertainment and merry making.
High School was the first time in my life, I missed a Sunday service. At first, I felt a little guilt, but I also felt a twinge of excitement at having the freedom to break the “rules”. I didn’t really miss church services often after that, but I started to take it less seriously while at school. When I went home over the holidays, I was a completely different person. I was still the preacher’s daughter and I had a reputation to uphold. It just wasn’t easy being the same active Christian among my peers at school when it would mean missing out on so much fun. Being vocal about my faith would also have meant that I was more likely to be a target of bullying, and/or have fewer friends because Christians were assumed to be overly judgmental and hypocritical. Thus, I kept my Christianity on the back burner and only brought it out when it was convenient.
I’m not going to dwell too much on this because I know most of us can relate; I just wanted to lay a foundation as I build on how I have grown and changed as a Christian over the years. Tomorrow, I will tell you about my life in my last years of High School and after. When I gained even more freedom, and ended up abusing it.