OK, first I'll say that while all these things that I spoke of as having meaning do bring that meaning in their own ways, God brings in a deeper and truer meaning to all parts of my life now.
Before I really found my belief all these same things were what brought me meaning and though I had some rougher days I never quite living life and trying. I've probably made more mistakes in the last 5 years or so than the rest of my life. So my first doubts came from realities in life and thinking that lead to questioning.
I was raised Baptist but, for as long as I can remember, I spent every church service drawing or writing. There were little phases where I would get interested and read the bible some but not for more then a couple weeks. I tried out other churches before I stepped back but I finally came to that point where I said to myself I believed these things because of my parents. I had seen them lose that credibility they have when you’re a kid and you realize that they can be wrong and you witness it. So I decided I wanted to look into things on my own terms and see what I thought. I studied a lot yet I still have much, much more to do to say the very least, but I looked into Islam, Hindu, Judaism, to naturalism, and more - but I know my search is still in the beginning stages.
When I was 18 although I had dated girls already I hadn't been in any serious relationship and would then experienced that for the first time and i thought I was in love. And her saying that back made me think she did but then I found out from someone at her work she was moving to another state to live with a guy she met on vacation.
Maybe a year or so after that one of my youngest uncle whom I was closest to out of my 9 aunts got me a job waiting tables at a place he managed. About 2 and a half months later, he was coming home and stopped for traffic and an 18 wheeler didn't stop and rear ended him. I hadn't lost anyone close to me yet in life at 19 very luckily, but that shook me like no other and left me empty for a long time; I still miss him - he was extremely dear to me.
I didn't make excellent choices through these periods but I truly don't regret anything in life, I still see my mistakes for what they are and focus on what I gained from each. I had heavy periods of doubt through all this and wasn’t taking any belief seriously. But I do remember a few times randomly praying maybe a handful of times and each time saw the answered but still not certain if it was a prayer answered or just by chance.
I came to a point though at which I concluded that if any of these religions that were possible it had to be Christianity. So I decided the only way to truly know for myself if this was it would be to give it my best shot and in meekness read the bible and search for answers and if this God were real that he would reveal himself to me.
And through eventually prayer and a personnel relationship with God he has proven himself to be real and as true as anything can possibly be. It might sound mad to some I understand and I just thank you all for giving me the chance to discuss these things in a respectful way that you all have done.
(GB: Samuelke, I have broken the above into paragraphs for ease of reading, as I think it will help.)