I was just having a deep conversation the other day with another Holistic Health Coach and Reiki Energy Practitioner, and we were sharing our stories of why we left the church to instead choose a spiritual path. I was so moved by our stories, and how we radically changed our lives, that I decided to share my story with you. This is DEEP and very personal, so I thank you in advance for taking out time to read this.

{deep breath in, long exhale, and…here goes…}

Religion vs Spirituality
Why I left the church


In  my mid-20s, I was still on the heels of a very violent and messy divorce. I felt like every institution that was supposed to protect and serve me…FAILED me. This included an abusive ex-husband, a corrupt & toxic church, unsupportive family, apathetic friends, judgemental psychologists/therapists, and uncompassionate doctors. 

I felt completely and utterly ALONE.

I mourned the loss of my innocence through incest, date rape, and physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the hands of several men who I trusted. I was even molested by a doctor during a breast exam in college.

WHY did these things happen to me? Why was I alive? My emotions were low vibration, I had no self-confidence, and my spirit was broken. At one point I considered suicide, as I felt life was not worth living.

Another BIG question I had was, WHY did the Church fail me? Where was GOD when I needed HIM? 

I had grown up in the church, had served as Youth Leader, Bible School Teacher, I served in the church Drill Team, Choir, Christmas and Easter plays, volunteered for countless events. It was a part of my life. But where did all my dedication to church membership get me?

At my core, I didn’t believe life was about suffering and discounting emotions, and that my prize would be when I got to heaven. I wanted to have a great life NOW, in THIS lifetime.

I continued to seek help and answers by digging even more into my faith. Prayers, Sunday School, Bible School, Church Revivals, the works.

It was only when the pastor of the church I attended tried to sexually assault me…and my mother told me once again to “turn the other cheek” that I finally said ENOUGH. I made a very difficult decision to leave the church, and I never looked back.

Again, I was alone…but not lonely. The difference was because I had discovered the laws of metaphysics, the laws of attraction, meditation, and how to tap into my intuition.

Reiki Energy Healing

I learned how to protect myself, my energy, and how to avoid toxic people, toxic environments, and toxic situations. I learned how to navigate my way back to happiness and overall health and wellness by connecting my body, mind, and spirit.  I studied books, listened to audiotapes. I fully immersed myself into emotional healing and spirituality.

And the biggest surprise…I felt CLOSER to God more than ever before, certainly much more than I ever did when I was a loyal church member. 

Yoga at summit

I purged my social life. I purged my diet of low vibration foods. I released negative thinking, and embraced living a high vibration life. This new way of life brought me so much joy, even helped me stay grounded during times when life rocked me to my core.

I couldn’t label what it was back in my 20s, this new path I forged for myself. All I knew was that in order to continue living and actually WANT to be alive on this earth, it had to be worth it to me.

I actually made a wager with GOD. I remember that day clearly, I was driving along 290 Hwy in the rain, and screaming, crying, wailing, knowing no other way to express the hurricane of volatile, painful emotions welling up in my chest, my soul cried out to GOD, WHY AM I HERE?!? God, if you want me to stay on this earth, you have got to give me a reason. You have got to make this work. I want to feel GOOD in life, otherwise, why stay here and continue to suffer?

God ANSWERED!!!

Now, I can’t tell you I heard a clear voice speak back to me. That would have been WAYYYY cool. But NOPE. 

But I did feel this sudden shift in my body, from an eternal heartache and yearning in my gut, to a goosebumpy warm & fuzzy feeling in my whole body. I felt the hairs raise on the back of my neck, and a sense of peace washed over me. I felt COMFORTED in my soul…and I knew my prayer had been answered. And I’ve been respecting my inner introvert, protecting my energy, honoring my boundaries, and listening to my intuitive nudges (our intuition is our God-given internal GPS) ever since.

A thought surfaced, “Hang in there. Trust me, the good stuff is coming. Your life WILL Get better” I know this was God speaking to me, letting me know everything would be okay. And in that moment, I decided NOT to drive my car of Highway 290 to plunge to my death. I decided to LIVE. I decided to not just live, but to do WHATEVER IT TOOK to live abundantly, fabulously, authentically – a life that I LOVED.

Today, I know that back then, on that fateful day, I chose SPIRITUALITY over ORGANIZED RELIGION, and that decision has served me well. 

Let me be clear, I’m not saying all organized religion is bad. Nor am I saying everyone should leave organized religion. If it’s working well for you, great! Continue doing what is aligned with your beliefs – that is, afterall, the definition of happiness.  I am absolutely positive I made the best decision for me, and I mutually respect others’ choices regardless of their religion/spiritual path of choice.  We all are on this path of enlightenment and higher consciousness together.

But if you’re going to church every Sunday, praying and paying tithes, fellowshipping, diligent about Bible Study and the like, but you still feel disconnected from happiness, can’t seem to turn things around, feel like you’re constantly in survival mode, running emotionally, mentally on fumes, and just feel EMPTY, then perhaps looking at learning new tools to fully connect with God could be the answer to those questions in your head.

I’m not suggesting you leave church, your experiences are unique to you. I’m suggesting there are many paths to God. I’m saying maybe it’s time to consider another way of approaching your faith, another way to achieve oneness with God, and get clear direction.

So Where Do I Start?

If you want to start your spiritual journey with me in 2015, I have a few options you can choose from:

MEDITATION

My 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse program starts January 11th, and this is a great way to start your spiritual journey. It focuses on connecting to God through meditation. It’s not a religious program, but it can definitely be incorporated into any religion, because while many churches focus on prayer, which is speaking to God, there’s not a lot of education on meditation, which creates silent sacred space for God to speak back to you.

You could be praying for the same thing over and over, and never hear God’s answer if you don’t meditate!

Follow your core desired feelings in my

DESIRE MAP WORKSHOPS

I also encourage you to take a look at my new venture in helping empower women with spiritual tools to live a better life – my new Desire Map workshops page. 

My first workshop begins January 30th, and I would love to have you join in! Register soon, as seats are limited in this exclusive event!

PRIVATE COACHING

Work With Me
If you feel like private one-on-one coaching is better for you, then I still offer private coaching.  I’ll be opening up more coaching slots, so if you don’t see a time slot that works for you, reply to this email and let me know, and we can work something out.

Share Your Thoughts!

I’d love to hear from you – and yes, I read EVERY SINGLE RESPONSE to my blogs! 🙂

I want to know:

  • What’s your plan to make 2015 your best year ever?
  • How do you approach spirituality vs religion for your life?

Big Love,

photo
Venus Aviv, CHHC, AADP
Life Transformation Coach & Reiki Energy Healer