I don't quite know how to start this post but here goes.
I've had the priviledge (and sometimes disadadvantage) of being born into a religious family, Christian in particular. Of course a time comes when you have to know God for yourself and for me that was around the age of 15. Fast forward many years later *werwoejfsdj334* (My poor attempt at the fast forward sign).
Maybe it was growing up or just being more aware of certain things but I began to really think about church and more importantly the hypocrisy of it all (at times). I didn't understand how you could be one thing on a Sunday and something else during the week. I didn't understand how conviction continually kept (and still keeps on) on being clothed as doctrine, I didn't understand why there was such a marked difference between the proclamations uttered at church members (at times) and the reality.
Simply put, my eyes began to go off the ball and I made the very bad mistake of using humans to measure God. The challenge for me was I don't think I had ever known God outside of church and by that I mean knowing Him just as Him and not in relation to church. This is so important because it will enable you not to be in the wrong gatherings as you know that it doesn't align with what God is about and what His word says.
As such I stopped going to any church for a prolonged period of time and so began my journey of self discovery which was both good and bad. Firstly, my relationship with God became more important but also fractured at times as I was still using humans to measure Him. Self regulation in Christianity is a very dangerous place to be because you are only accountable to yourself and it leaves you open to making silly decisions. This verse springs to mind:
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
One thing I knew is that I definitely wanted to draw closer to God and I never for a minute doubted His authenticity. I was however using carnal means to try and figure things out by not going to church. Of course there's no vacuum in nature and if you don't hold God with both hands you will be holding on to other (worldly) things. I found myself drifting at points but try as I might at times God's voice was always there at the back of mind and I couldn't enter the world. It was in those moments that I heard His voice; not the voice of any church or my upbringing. I really thank God that I listened, perhaps not immediately but eventually and I came back to my senses. It started with the desire to want to no longer be in spiritual limbo and be firmly rooted with God. It's the best decision I've made and it means that I no longer use other fallible human beings to measure God or even church to precede my relationship with God. Needless to say I am placing more importance on going to church now and participating in the fellowship of the brethren. The most important thing that I'm grateful for is that I have my peace back. Honestly you cannot place a price on peace of mind and I'd never want to go back to where I was whereby my mind was restless. I'm just happy that I'm in a much better place Spiritually and also being rooted in Him and not the caricatures that others draw of God. It really is better 'late' than never.