When Tradition No Longer Suits You

August 2, 2020

I grew up Catholic. I loved it. In the community where I was raised it was unique to be Catholic. It felt special. It felt like a core piece of our family’s composition. 

Being Catholic was tradition. My grandparents were raised Catholic and each generation before them. Naturally, my mother was raised Catholic and continued the religious legacy with my sister and I. 

Growing up, it felt like a perfect fit. From the priest, to the Sunday school teachers, to the peers and religious community members, it all felt right and just. It felt like home, comfortable and safe.

What happens when a tradition no longer suits you? What happens when you outgrow a religious community? What happens when your heart stretches and opens, but your place of worship stays limited and stagnant? 

A couple of years ago, against all I’ve ever known, I joined my sister at a non-Catholic church. One she had found and grew to love. I stepped out of the tradition and out of my comfort zone to try a new place of worship. 

Immediately, in that room, a place that resembled an auditorium more than a chapel, I was invigorated and refreshed. It wasn’t what I was used to, but it was exactly what I needed. A place that inspired my faith, restored my hunger for Jesus, and revived my belief in the Lord. 

Our relationship with God is an important one. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where I worship and pray. It only matters that I continue to do so. That I continue to believe and be faithful. 

I could have stayed in the pews of the Catholic Church. I would have continued to be faithful and obedient. But my soul wouldn’t have been fed the way this other church provides. My heart wouldn’t have burst open like a firework with faith and praise and light. 

I outgrew a family tradition. I outgrew a religious relationship. I grew and transformed and blossomed uniquely in my faith. I found a place that is growing with me and inspiring and encouraging me along the way. 

I believe.

I’m faithful.

I strive to have a servant heart and a soul that sprinkles grace and love everywhere I go. And that’s all that matters. 

I outgrew a religious tradition, but I didn’t outgrow God. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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