Wrestling With God Part 1
I spent the majority of my childhood living with my mom, my grandmother, and my grandfather, who was a pastor. So for years, every Saturday meant going to church and listening to him preach. I always enjoyed it because it meant seeing my friends and getting to read the weekly guide books that Sabbath school would pass out.
But I never particularly liked the actual service part of church. In fact, I never really understood religion or had my own relationship with God at all. I didn’t see how it was possible to have the perfect relationship with Him like my grandfather seemed to have. I couldn’t express this to anyone because as a pastor’s granddaughter, it felt wrong to be having these doubts. So I never asked any questions. The only thing tying me to the church or to any form of relationship with God, was my grandparents.
When I was around 13 years old, they moved away due to a job opportunity in another state. This hit my brother and I pretty hard because we had always been so close to them. After they left, my mom tried to continue to take me and my brother to church. But without my grandparents there, I didn’t see a point. I only went every few weekends until pretty soon I stopped going at all. I realized I had no personal connection with God but at that point in my life. I didn’t even care.
The majority of my high school experience was tough. I struggled with depression and although I had plenty of amazing friends, I felt incredibly alone. I was so angry at God for so many reasons. He didn’t feel close to me at all and I didn’t understand why. Then one night during junior year, I was feeling pretty low. I screamed and cried and begged and pleaded with God to do something in my life.
After that night, I began to ask God more questions. Not just Him, but my teachers and those around me. I learned more than I ever had before and began to build my own personal beliefs, instead of those fed to me as a child. I still struggled over the next few months, but finally by senior year there was a breakthrough. I was doing better than I ever had before, but something still felt like it was missing. I was finally in a place where I strived for a personal connection with God. So I reached out to Him and told him that I completely and utterly surrendered to Him. I was putting my life in His hands.
I could feel a difference almost immediately after. I felt peace wash over me and in the days and months following, I noticed the ways He had been trying to reach out to me all along, but I never cared to listen. It wasn’t until I stopped to actually ask questions and wrestle with my own faith instead of going through the motions that I actually developed a relationship with Him. Through growing in this relationship, I realized I was never the only one with doubts. No one has a perfect relationship with God, because we as human beings are very flawed. But through our doubts and trials, we come out with a stronger relationship in the end. It’s the stagnant relationships that are in trouble, like the one that I had before.
Now when I have struggles, they still sting, and I still have moments where I yell and shout and plead, but instead of crying out at God, I’m crying with Him. He’s there through every heartbreak, mistake, and failure. The doubts are still there, but so is an actual, personal connection. For me, it took wrestling with God to form a relationship with Him.
I encourage you to voice your questions, cry or scream or yell out loud to Him, read the Bible and pray with the intent of learning, talk to others about their own relationships with Him. Don’t settle for a stagnant relationship. Wrestle with God.
Alli Cammilleri is a senior at CTA who enjoys coffee, writing, reading, and acting. She likes spending her free time at coffee shops and hanging out with friends.