A personal, intimate relationship with God is the aim of every religion. However, every individual person believes in and practices different things, even if they believe they belong to the same religion. Such is the inescapable fact of life: No two people read the same book, and no two people belong to the exact same religion.
Sometimes, however, a person might feel the need to distance themselves from the norm and embrace a truly unique relationship with and view of God or the Gods. Or, perhaps you wish to use your religion not as a basis of relationship, but rather of self-development. In that case, it seems to be an even better idea to make your own... after all, you're the only one who knows exactly where you are.
Consider an all-you-can-eat salad bar: Each bin is an element or idea from all the religions of the world, and even some of your own. Select the right amount of the different kinds, and then you can move on to the various garnishes of philosophy and morality. From there, you can apply the salad dressing of personal experiences, and there you are – with a delicious salad of God all your own.
Get Honest. The hardest step comes first. It's easy to just wrap some beliefs around pre-existing bad habits and poor morals, but that's not religion, it's justification. True, total honesty with yourself, when you really dig deep, is downright frightening. However, it is vital to have before you can go about framing a relationship with God.
Research. With the honesty of belief well in hand, you should look around with clear eyes at the writings and rituals of established religions. There is a reason so many people choose them. Perhaps there is one already around that comes so close to your own that most of the work is done for you! Or, feel free to pick and choose as you see fit.
Feel It Out. The usual term for a newcomer to a religion is “born-again.” Others feel like they had always been a part of that religion, but up until now they never had the words to frame it. When you get it right, the religion should click so soundly inside of yourself, it feels like it was always there to begin with.
Religion or Philosophy? A religion should, first and foremost, be the means and methods of communication and union with God(s). Philosophy, however, covers questions and intellectual pursuits. They meet where intellectual understanding and behavior (philosophy) are applied to one's spiritual well-being (religion). Don't get caught up in the trap of having a sound philosophy without anything to do with God.
Sometimes religion and philosophy overlap, an example being Buddhism (A non-theistic religion, although most types of Buddhism involve deity worship). A non-theistic religion can easily fix into a theistic one, as some Buddhist Jews can attest. Or, perhaps your idea of religion doesn't actually involve a God at all! The choice, as your life, is yours alone.
Definition. One God, or Many? Personal or Abstract? Male, Female or Beyond Gender? Involved or Witnessing? Enlightenment, Salvation, Union or None of the Above? Good, Evil, or No Such Thing? The more clarity you have in your beliefs, the stronger and more rewarding they will be. Never be afraid to ask the tough questions – the ones to which you don't already know the answer.
Debate. Generally, religious debate is distasteful and avoided. However, with a new and sprouting belief, it is helpful to talk about it with friends and family, people you trust and won't rip it out of the ground. Having to stand your ground will clarify just exactly what you believe, and why.