No Backing Down: A Story About My Faith

I have been dying to tell this story. The more I dwell on it the more I realize how important it is to share it. This is about standing by your beliefs no matter what and understanding that doing so may mean you lose some. But that it will always be for the better. 

In the last six months or so I've been really questioning my path in life and struggling with how to change it for the better. It took some hard conversations, some break-downs, and some soul searching for me to realize that I want to be a writer. This isn't exactly news, I've always loved to write but very real pressure made me feel as though pursuing it as a career would somehow be frowned upon. 

But nonetheless I moved forward with a nonexistent writing portfolio and applied to anything I thought I could snag. Then one bit! 

Felina Magazine sells itself as a coaching magazine for young women aged 18-35. A "christian" publication that wanted to empower female entrepreneurs and offer encouragement and guidance. 

Since creating this post in 2016 my spirituality has evolved and I decided to no longer consider myself christian. On my own error, I wanted this position as a contributing editor bad enough, despite no pay, that I did not state this to the woman behind Felina. In truth, I didn't think it was a huge deal. In my mind, being christian is in your actions. Treating people with kindness and respect. But of course, in the mind of most Christians, being christian means you believe in god. (therefore, after a painstaking year, I decided I was not) I was, and am capable of creating the type of content she desired. Empowering pieces about how to keep your chin up, move forward, and be a powerful woman. Being christian is still in my heart; where my writing comes from.

In my time with her I submitted three pieces, two of which she loved and decided to move forward with. When one submission became a blog post on the website I giddily jumped online to check it. I read it through, reveling in hearing my own voice in my head... then BAM! There, at the very end, a paragraph hastily attached to my work that sounded nothing like me and very much like the kind of christian approach to problems I learned I didn't agree with. 

You never forget there is a God who died and arose to give us life and if you open your heart to Him; He will restore your life without a doubt; you just need to pray to Him from the bottom of your heart and believe He is listening and start having faith in that He will put things together just if you let Him. Open your Bible and believe. This is just about faith. 

Even now I'm annoyed beyond all reason just re-reading this. First off it's wrong. But this isn't a bible lesson. This is about how I wrote a post about something I felt strongly about, giving steps I truly felt would help, and they tacked this at the end; basically negating all the active steps I carefully thought through.

Besides my immense discomfort with the passage; this was more about the disrespect I felt having my work altered. Magnified by it being something I myself don't believe. 

I spoke to the Editor/Owner and told her of my discomfort. She understood and allowed me to write a similar passage on my own. But as a wrote and re-wrote and fretted and stressed. I could not bring myself to write anything beyond "don't be afraid to turn to your beliefs". Nice and vague. Christian-ish but I knew not quite enough

To wrap things up without getting more irritated, after I reached out again explaining my further discomfort and my belief system,she sent me an email stating, "At Felina we want to employ people who believe in the one true god. Less spirituality. Thank you for working with us."

It hurt. 

For a moment I was faced with whether or not my decision was wrong. Were my newfound beliefs, while somewhat rooted in Christianity, wrong? Was I a bad person because I felt uncomfortable telling readers to pray their problems away? 

No is the answer of course. And upon realizing this I felt empowered as a person and as a writer. Felina had a vision I just didn't fit and that's totally ok. It wasn't the opportunity I needed to move forward as a writer and having hit that bump sooner rather than later saved me. Felina was due to become a published work in January...it's February 9... 

Somewhere out there. By the power of my karma, or even by the power of god if you so believe, I was saved from something that just wasn't for me. And that's what I believe.

Want to read the post in question? It may be familiar. Check it out here.

Chelsea ReddingComment