When it comes to growing up with religion, some of us were blasted with doctrine, others were given gentle spiritual guidance, and some were left with an empty slate.
No matter what how we were raised, we end up with our very own insights about religion through personal experiences. Since hindsight adds a certain glow to our faith journeys, we asked the HuffPost Religion community what single piece of advice they would give their younger selves about religion.
Listed below are 20 of our favorite responses.
1. Along the way, ask yourself if you are responding to fear or to love?
2.God's always in control no matter what you do.
-Patrick J. Goshorn
3.Be willing to embrace the mystery.
-Catherine Newberry Davis
4.Broaden your mind and enlarge your heart.
5. Don't look at the people to see who God is, He is far more loving, kind, gentle, non critical and non judgmental.
- Cathy Swinford
6.Stay away from the poisoned well called “religion”. Seek a relationship with God, outside the confines of man made religious institutions.
-Robert Y. Valentine
9.Embrace humanity and earth. At any given moment reflect on your position in the universe as well as the minute amount of time you will spend being a part of it. Let love be your religion.
-Shoaib Fahim Siddiqui
10. Religion doesn't divide people... PEOPLE divide people.
11. Keep the faith no matter what.
-Dorothy Vitello Malcolm
12. Don’t be so hung up on yours and the sexual behavior of others.
13. The Vikings were right. Thors the one.
14. I would tell myself that God is not about judgment or payment. He is love. That before buying all the Church says, do your research. Ask questions. Seek for your truth in what God wants you to learn not what others feel that you should.
15. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Religion is only hard if you make it hard.
16. Ignore it.
17. There is a reason you are sitting here listening to this guy at the mosque and yes – even though he claims to know more than you – you are right and he makes no sense. Trust your heart and your faith in God. There are many more like you.
-Shahla Khan Salter
18. Go inward. All the answers are there. God doesn’t need any physical proof of his existence. He placed that in your heart. Go inward and it’s there you will find him.
-Victoria M Trott
19. Stop trying to look for answers and signs, just listen to your heart and let go.
20. Disregard the bigots and hypocrites around you. Stop running and pray.
- Shanan Lucero Lockmiller Ridens
Below is a slideshow of even more faith tips from readers. What would you tell your former self about religion? Did any pieces of advice on this list particularly stick out to you? Tell us in the comments!