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How I rediscovered my faith during COVID-19

When almost everything started to re-open back in the summer, I saw many of my friends (who were responsible during the quaratine) start to live their "best lives", going to the lake, taking pictures by the beach and hanging out with other people I knew. But here I was stuck in the house, forced to go nowhere out of fear of giving COVID-19 to my at-risk parents. 

I wanted to hang out with my friends and go to my family's annual vacation spot, Dewey Beach, but my parents were not having it and anytime I would try to talk about how the pandemic was affecting me they would quickly tell me to get over it. 

I felt so alone but I continued to bury my feelings. I tried to find comfort in social media where I kept seeing the dark side of humanity. Police brutality, COVID-19 deaths and stories of people suffering from severe mental illness. Everything that was happening started to take a toll on my mental health. I felt like I was losing control and I started to have doubts about my dreams and my future. 

I did not know who to turn to, my parents refused to understand, I could not see my friends face-to-face and all my positive distractions like writing, social media and Disney movies were not helping anymore. I was so overwhelmed that I experienced my first panic attack. I knew something had to change. I decided to pray to God, begging him to let me know if everything was going to be okay and to promise me that I will not succumb to my worst fears. 

That same night I dreamed of place that was filled with bright shades of gold and yellow hues. I was walking down a golden path and I suddenly heard a voice say "just keep walking". Since then, I started to pray every single night. I downloaded the Bible app and started to read the psalms and scriptures. I enrolled in an online church service and attended every Sunday. 

After a while I had a little bit of imposter syndrome where I felt gulity of being my true-self instead of being the "perfect" Christian. When I listened to religious podcasts some subjects discussed did not sit right with my soul. On my worst days I would begin to panic that I was failing again and I would cry out to God for help only to not hear a response, which made me think he was not helping me heal. 

But then I realized I was becoming a perfectionist, putting too much expectations on my new-found faith. I had to come to peace with who I was and stop comparing myself to other people's struggles and some Christians' relationship with the Lord. I did not have to act like the "cookie-cutter" Christian in order for God to like me, he knows who I truly am therefore I should not be scared to show it. 

Finding my faith helped me stay grounded and to not be scared of vulnerablity and uncertainty. I am able to heal from past traumas and challenge bad habits. My anxiety and overthinking are being put at ease as I put faith over fear. 

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by Chaela Williams | 2/12/2021
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