If you’re from the south or ever been to the south, you’ve heard this phrase before.
“You about to make me lose my religion!”
It means exactly what it sounds like. All hell is about to break loose! This colloquialism might be gently spewed from the mouth of a 90 year old church mother who’s mad you took the last chicken breast at the church cookout or from the growling snarl of a young adult tired of the non-sense their boss spits out every time he wants to connect about something black happening in the media; whatever the case, you better back up cause somebody is mad enough to do things they said they would never do.
Just recently I found myself in a “lose my religion” moment. Someone was pushing all my buttons and I had had just about enough. I checked my moral compass, I calibrated my attitude with my intentions, I set my mind on things lovely and pure with the hopes of reigning the fire back in. But then, this sucka plucked my last good nerve and I just about lost it… my religion that is.
That feeling… well, depending on just how far you went can be either freeing or damaging. The freedom comes from standing up for yourself, speaking your peace of mind, and being proud of how brave you were. The damage is if you lost control of yourself, you gave someone a piece of your mind, and you don’t feel good about your actions when the dust clears. In that case, you might find that you didn’t have much religion to begin with. As grandma would say, “You a all-get-out straight up heathen!”
To keep it real, I learned very early on that religion without spirituality and guidance is deadly. Religion is the rules, the convictions, and the belief system that unwaveringly guide a person’s choices and actions. It’s harmful in that it leaves little to no room for compassion, wisdom, or situational decision making. People who operate strictly by religion will kick their own child out of the house for not abiding by understandings so ancient that there’s a church on every corner spitting a different truth about the same scripture. They often compromise themselves to stay within guidelines and borders of pseudo righteousness. Those people who follow so strictly often struggle immensely and find themselves living dual-lives in a bondage they created for themselves.
After learning the truth, that religion requires relationship for reliance, I was able to see the balance. You never have to lose your religion if you have faith in it from the beginning. IE: You never have to come outside of your self if your self is always being 100% authentic. It’s not something you put on like your best Sunday suite so no-one knows you were clubbing last night. It’s not having to code-switch at work so you don’t have to explain your cultural outfit to white folks. Instead, your religion (not talking about a church here- talking about your personal code of ethics) is woven into your character and who you are. You act out of it, you make decisions based on it, and you live within in. So when something stupid happens or something pops off, you don’t have to take off the façade. You instead reiterate what they should all know to be true of who you are. You’ve been living your truth so there’s no reason to loose yourself to step into it.
If anything I urge you, loose the religion so you can lose your religion without conviction of your truest self. Removing the unnecessary restrictions about how you are, who you are, and what masquerade you wear. Then redesign what being your authentic self looks like including your moral compass, your code of ethics, and your convictions. You deserve relationships that are built on honesty, trust, and the ability to tell it like it is. But you can’t do that til you “lose your religion.”