When Organized Religion Feels Like Too Much

kid praying hands
Photo by chatkarenstudio via Canva Pro

I’m sitting here with about a thousand things running through my brain: An invisible checklist of everything that needs to be done for the house, kids, work, school, mental health, physical health, finances, marriage, and taxes (where are my fellow small business owners at?). And those are just the big things. There are about 10 sub-headings under those mental tabs; especially with three kids, one whom has been recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a marriage that is struggling through all this chaos and change.

If you grew up or have become religious, in any sense of the word, there’s probably a group or person who is continuously advising you to put your higher power first. I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no idea how I can add that to the mental or tangible list of things.

Let’s face it. Motherhood is beyond time-consuming. It sucks up your energy until you have nothing left at the end of each day and you just hope (or pray) that you wake up with enough energy to do it all again the next day. It can feel very cyclical, like a hamster on a wheel. What would happen if that hamster was suddenly required to keep a ball on the wheel using his nose, because that ball supposedly helps him make greater progress spinning the wheel?

If you’ve had an upbringing like mine, you’ve probably been told this a thousand times. As a Christian, this has been a lifelong message. Put God first, and He will put everything right. There’s a part of me that still believes that, but it just doesn’t seem realistic or attainable at this moment. 

I’m here to say that if you feel like one more spinning plate is unrealistic and could possibly break you, that’s OK

Only you can answer that question for yourself. 

As for me, I’m in a stage where the thought of having a huge chunk of my Sunday swallowed up by wrangling kids to get ready, while I’m also getting ready, sounds terrible. Because I don’t feel like I can show up to a church resembling anything like what I look like at school drop-off. To be honest, by the time we’re all packed in the car, I’m sweating bullets. And the effort to put on make-up, (which I now have a profuse hatred of since COVID made it pointless) is futile because it’s all gone. 

Next comes the super fun part, as both my husband and I are extreme introverts. Small talk comes so unnaturally to both of us, and those awkward conversations just feel so forced. This was even the case at the church I attended for over 30 years of my life. 

Finally, you get home around lunchtime and, of course, everyone is overstimulated and dysregulated. It’s just complete madness until everyone is fed, and even then, it’s not a guaranteed remedy. So, the rest of the day is navigating the fallout from the morning.

There goes Sunday.

There goes a day that, as a stay-at-home mom, I actually have the backup to get some adult things done without little toddlers un-cleaning what I just cleaned or trying to play with my laptop as I attempt to get some work done. 

There goes a whole day. 

Let me be clear. I’m not against spirituality, churches, or organized religion. I’ve read enough studies to know that believing in a higher power and participating in a religion has a significantly positive effect on one’s mental health. Also, as a Christian, I’m all for Jesus. I’m all for showing love for everyone. I’m all for teaching my children the same things I was taught: to show kindness and gentleness and love toward everyone. I know most religions teach similar philosophies.

What I can’t do is handle the heaviness of organized religion in this season of my life.

Is that terrible? Because I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. 

I hope I’m not alone in this. 

I hope I’m not the only one who feels like Kate Winslet in Titanic when she’s head deep in water and can barely find space to take a breath. 

But I also have a special place in my heart for my spirituality and how I participate in celebrating that passion. 

One thing I’ve learned to be unerring, is more than one thing can be true at a time. I can be happy and sad simultaneously. I can be overwhelmed yet yearn for a relationship with peers that share my beliefs. 

Both can be true. And both are true. 

The trick is trying to come to terms with the fact that I can only do so much. The truth is, thoughts, feelings, and checklists are strained and there is bound to be an outburst. Where? I have no idea. You all know. It could be anything. 

As moms, we’re often strapped into this world where we lack space; space to grow, add new hobbies or interests, have free time, or even join a community of like-minded believers. It’s just not always doable. 

I’m right there with you if you feel the same. 

And if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, where you have grown-up children and are able to navigate organized religions without feeling like it consumes an entire section of your life… well then, I would ask that you give those of us, like me, some hope that we will have our time; we will have our space, and we will be able to commune again. 

Brittany Reinke
Hi! My name is Brittany Reinke. I'm a born-and-raised Olathe native. I graduated from Olathe North, received my Undergrad in Vocal Performance from William Jewell College, received my Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Mid-America Nazarene University and have now settled down in Southern Olathe. If you couldn't tell, just from that track record, I am beyond passionate about living, communing and raising my children in this area! I have been married to Keven, the love of my life, since 2013 and we have three beautiful boys together. Ben is 6, Leo is 4 and Miles is 2 and, yes, I'm tired. However, I'm tired in the most glorious and fulfilling ways. I'm a copywriter on the side of being a stay at home parent. I am a huge nerd. I love all things Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek... you name it. I absolutely love reading, so if anyone has tips on how to read more with young children, I'm open to suggestions. I am a chronic DIY-er. If there's a room in my house that I can renovate, I will figure out a way to put my special touches on it from the subfloor up! I live with Cerebral Palsy which has progressively taken its toll on my body and I struggle with pain constantly. However, I'm an extremely determined gal and am set on making this journey through motherhood as fun, wild and exciting as it can be!


  1. My name is Rev. Mitch Todd. I am a pastor at Olathe Grace United Methodist Church. A church member sent me a link to your blog post, and I was very touched by it. You speak of a life situation a lot of folks in our area are dealing with. I am going to quote some of your blog in my sermon this week and ask us to consider how our church can help be a blessing for folks just like you. Thanks for your writing and your honesty.


    Mitch Todd

    • Thank you for your words, Rev. Todd. Feeling affirmed and not judged by church congregations is such a blessing. Thank you for really seeing and hearing a group that is in need in your community!

      Thank you,
      Brittany Reinke

Comments are closed.