SLICE: Finding my life purpose via spirituality 

Time spent with a higher power is a perfect moment for self-introspection.   

The Easter period and Ascension Day have come and gone without me showing my face in church. This has left me feeling guilty as if I have compromised and abandoned my spirituality.  

The Very-Well-Mind website describes spirituality as a belief in something beyond the self which can be expressed religiously, traditionally, through meditation or in whichever form anybody desires.  

Spirituality has been a very important aspect of my life that I have expressed through praying, reading the Bible and going to church. The time spent with a higher power is a perfect moment for self-introspection and finding out whether you like who you are, or the terms and conditions set by your faith. 

I have experienced spirituality as a way of looking within and escaping from the physical world. It has helped me to find purpose and meaning in my life and to cope with stress and depression.  

Research from Psychology Today shows that spiritually inclined people are associated with better physical and mental health, lower blood pressure, stronger relationships and improved self-esteem. This resonates with me because every time I have distanced myself from God, I have felt a sense of disorder and uncertainty in my life.  

However, the indoctrination of religion by the people closest to us is a large contributing factor to feelings of guilt, shame and insecurity when we “derail” from what is expected of us. A 2015 academic paper says that feelings of guilt motivate more religious participation because of the pressure to conform and to be accepted by society.

This is true in my experience because my grandmother entrenched the idea of praying and going to church every Sunday. Therefore, not going on these essential days feels like a betrayal of her and God.  

I questioned my faith after the death of my aunt in August 2021. I was furious because she had always been fiercely spiritual. How could she die? Most importantly, what God would take away a mother of two young boys, a sister, a daughter and aunt from her family?  

A few months later, my neighbours invited me to youth sessions at their church, Christian Missionary Fellowship International based in Melville. For a change from other evangelical churches I had attended, I met people who did not claim to have all the answers about God.

Being with my peers also made it a more relatable experience as we were all trying to find our identities within the religion as opposed to trying to blend into something I did not comprehend. For example, we discussed complex yet relevant topics such as premarital sex, how to deal with addictions and how to create a better relationship with God.   

This helped me realise that spirituality does not prevent bad things from happening, it just helps one to deal with them with a clear and hopeful mind.

The guilt I have been feeling since not going to church for Easter had nothing to do with societal expectations of me but my expectations of myself and my spiritual journey. 

To forgive myself and move on, I have started the journey of nurturing myself through prayer and meditation. I believe that spirituality can die out like a plant when it does not receive enough water and sunlight. That is why I will keep working on myself to be the best version of me.

FEATURED IMAGE: Sfundo Parakozov. Photo: File