Are you religious? Most of the stay-at-home moms I know are. I’m not surprised because so many of us see stay-at-home motherhood as a divine calling. Although religion can be a great help, religious rituals alone don’t guarantee happiness, especially if you’re only going through the motions. I can say from experience, you will never feel real joy until you experience God’s presence. Besides, if your religion boils down to passed down routines, traditions, and habits that lack a spiritual connection, then does it really have value at all?

There are many people attending Sunday School, singing in the choir, and forcing themselves to attend twice on some Sundays, but they leave feeling just as unhappy as they did when they entered the church doors. I know because for many years I was one of them. What was missing from my religious life? An actual relationship with God.

Is a Relationship with God Better Than Religion?

I was raised going to church every Sunday because for my mom staying at home was not an option. I didn’t like being forced to go, but I did enjoy the times we were able to skip over to a nearby Burger King for a strawberry milkshake between Sunday school and church services. I took part in Christmas plays and recited an Easter speech every year.

After I left home for college, I continued the tradition of attending church each week. I figured it might help me keep motivated in life and stay out of trouble. The problem was that I never felt a spiritual connection during those years. God was a distant rule maker and transgression counter. I didn’t sense God’s presence or love, and I certainly didn’t hear God’s voice.

Often, I fought to stay awake just to check Bible reading off my “Being a Good Christian” list, but I rarely understood what I was reading and felt something was missing from my experience. Not being a person who questions a lot, I didn’t know how to seek a relationship with God and simply followed the religious routine I was taught. Sadly, happiness escaped me too, and I didn’t know where to go for the answers.

But What If Religion is All You Know?

It took me years to discover what was missing. I tried to keep an open mind, but honestly, I was afraid to move away from the religion of my upbringing. And, I resisted piling a daily devotion on top of my already busy day, especially when I didn’t understand the Bible anyway.

Now, I know the key to finding happiness is in cultivating a deeper spiritual connection. And, it wasn’t my religious routine that brought me to this understanding.

A few years ago, I signed up for a life purpose workshop with my personal coach Cassandra Washington. I had written in her anthology book and felt safe as she coached me through the writing process. So, when she invited me to a private coaching program that would show me how to deepen my spiritual relationship I was excited (and I admit a bit leery too).

Had I finally found something that would help me make sense of my life and create more meaning? Up to that point, I felt so alone. I wasn’t happy. It felt like I was floating through life searching for somewhere safe to land. I was sleep walking through the motions of faith and feeling very disconnected from God.

Through this small group coaching, I found the source of true joy and developed a relationship with what my faith teaches me is the Holy Spirit. Now I hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance daily and sometimes I actually listen (yes, we have that kind of rapport). I smile every time I think about how connected I feel to divine wisdom and truth, so much so that negative inner chatter doesn’t stick around too long. I start my day with gratitude, and I am passionate about sharing this joy with other stay-at-home moms who may feel the way I once did.

Religion is a Starting Point to a Happy Life with God

I had all the religion I needed, but I didn’t have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. I read the words in the Bible, but I didn’t experience the joy the text talked about. I didn’t feel that connection that I had heard so many others speak about, and I longed for it. I believed I was a servant of Christ, but I didn’t have a clue how I was supposed to serve. I even switched to a NIV Bible after a minister suggested it might be easier to understand. This modern version simplified the words but didn’t help me internalize them.

The life purpose workshop helped me to clear the path to experience a deeper connection, and I realized my religion was the spiritual foundation for opening me to God’s will for my life. Now I read my daily devotion and God’s word jumps off the page, like a loving hug wrapping around me each day. I pray throughout the day and listen to my intuition, which I know is the Holy Spirit guiding me. I feel invincible. I have a deep appreciation for creation, stopping to notice the birds chirping outside my window or the beautiful blue ocean waters on family vacations.

God has so much more for us to experience beyond our religious routines. God wants us to know who we are meant to be and the difference we are meant to make. Not only does religion not guarantee happiness, it can be a dead end that keeps us from discovering our purpose.

Are you ready to experience a deeper spiritual connection? Leave me a comment and tell me the difference you have discovered between being religious and a having a relationship with God.

I invite you to join me in One Degree Shift community where we can dive deeper into this topic and motivate each other to persevere in life.