I’ll be the first to admit that when I write about God, I get uncomfortable. You may find that….well, it may not make sense since I call myself a writer and call writing my calling…it would seem odd that what I feel called to do and by whom would make me uncomfortable, but it does. I’ll hover over the publish button, publish anyway and then re read my own work ten times, debating on whether or not I over used the word…Which is also an irony- since God isn’t a word. If you get what I’m saying, raise your hand. Unless you’re in public, then just nod yes when no one is looking.
“I take my spirituality very seriously and God takes me with a sense of humor.” Melissa
The thing is, life, mine and in general, has presented God as a lot of things and not all of them have been comforting, appealing, acceptable, or what the cool kids are doing. Most times God has been a noun. God has been fear. God has been a way in, a way around, a way out, but rarely and if ever, a way through, for most of my life. It’s not that I never believed in God, it’s that I didn’t believe in God as it had been presented thus far, nor could I find the words, and then later the courage to express God as I felt God. Is anyone counting the number of times so far that I’ve used the “word” God? Are you bothered by it? Nod your head…Me either. I’ll tell you why- not why you aren’t bothered, but why I’m not bothered.
It’s because when talking about God as if He is somehow a force outside of myself that I can choose to acknowledge or not- when God is a word, not even a noun and definitely not an action- then I can say it all I want. God. God. God. See? But when God….speaks…nope. THAT’S uncomfortable isn’t it? When God tells me…nope. It’s still speaking- voices in the head and all that. When He becomes Him, I worry that I sound crazy. I worry that I will have to explain to someone (crazy, because as of yet, no one has asked) what my knowledge is of church, or scripture, to which I would have to say, minimal at best. I tell people to never go unarmed into a battle, yet I’ve got no sword. Not even a shield. Apparently, at some point, his Holiness got all sneaky and instilled within me, faith. He’s like that- sneaky.
I’ve read over countless religions- I love them, but not the bible. I actually bought a bible last year- a blue one. Why blue? I don’t know. I only bought it because I kept seeing scripture quoted in my books and couldn’t believe that stuff was in there! I rarely read it. I have my Healer for that and anytime I have questions, she knows the answer. She could run with the best of them I bet…and when I need a good bible story that resembles my life at the moment- she has one. I love them, but to be honest, she tells them better than the bible and she looks better in blue. When I talk to her about my relationship with God, which is the same but yet completely different from her relationship with Him, she gets it. When I’m with her, it’s all God this and God that and God just said to me…and you know what she does? She nods her head.
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So, I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” John Lennon
“And now these three remain; faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” Holy Bible, KJV
I know that for a long time I was afraid of God. For a long time I longed for Him and yet, ran from Him too. It’s possible that I did all three at once for most of my life. When I was 10 I used to keep the bible open to the Lords Prayer on my bed. I’d make the bed perfect and then open the bible to that prayer and prop it up on my pillow all day. I don’t know why I did that. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of the love of both of my fathers. That’s my best and most honest answer.
There was a time in my life when people actually considered me an atheist. I never was. I was…unwilling. Unconvinced. Stubborn as cold molasses really. I’m not sure God ever really proves himself to us no matter how many years we spend running around and screaming, “Prove it!” or how many times we set ourselves up for failure and then say, “HA HA! I knew you weren’t real, or THAT would have never happened!” The first time I read the God Memo in Og Mandino’s book, I was halted by the line that says, “Answer me. Answer yourself.” Because I had no answer. Not a very good one anyway and definitely not one that would stand up in the court of my own law. Upon realizing that God never judged me, I realized that the true crime was in the way I had judged myself AND God. That was all the proof I needed.
So, here’s the point where I become uncomfortable. I knew if I wrote long enough, it would happen. It took 32 minutes. The Queen would just assume that God and all of his characters, all of their perfectness, and acceptance- their lack of judgement and punishment, would just take a flying leap. And that’s putting it nicely. She’s also quick to remind me that God is a sure-fire way to push people away from my writing and alienate myself and any future I may have as a writer. I mean, I love Joel Olsteen, but at about chapter five, I shut down. I get it. I’m nodding my head. I’m raising my hand. Hell, I’m waving both hands in the air with white flags, “I surrender! I surrender! But please stop with the God stuff already!”
“Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us. Love is God.” Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur
Recently I’ve tried a little experiment; Replace the word God, with the word Love. One in the same and for those of you who have been nodding your heads like some kind of freak in the coffee shop- you not only get it, but you can put your hands down and stop looking silly. It’s not really a surprise to me that it works out rather well. So well in fact that if you’d like to see the truth of God, just use the word love. I’m never going to quote scripture without reading it and my bible is too far away, plus it would take me hours to find an example, but it’s not a far reach to get my point if you just take one negative God comment and insert love- Like any statement where someone says “God hates…” that’s ridiculous. First of all, God can’t hate and second of all, neither can love. We can play semantics all day, but really- if your neck hurts and your arms are sore, it’s not much of a reach.
I feel more comfortable with love. Au contraire my friend…Not with Love itself, but with the word. It’s a process. Baby steps. Forward, backward, sideways. Two step here, on my knees there, proclaiming, stuttering, professing, denying. Yet it’s true, Love remains. See?
It works like that.
On my arm is a tat that says, I am. God is. Now. All of this is true, but it could just as easily say, I am. Love is. Now. Within those five words are a statement, a fact and a choice and thankfully, flexibility too. If God makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay- he can work with that. If love makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay- it’s patient and kind. God doesn’t care how you hear him best- as long as you’re listening. He’s more about love than right or wrong.
“God descends to earth like fresh spring rain, and at every level his grace is received differently. For some it feels like love, for others like salvation. It feels like safety and warmth at one level, like coming home at another.” Deepak Chopra
I know now that change is often the routine. That I find more happiness in a different path that leads to the same destination once in a while, as opposed to dragging myself through the same traffic every day. I know that most of life isn’t about what we do, but how we are doing it and sometimes, how life is doing us. It’s a beautiful chaos, a fractal, like in the soul of Mack in Paul Youngs, The Shack. God…Love, is the force that makes sense of the beautiful mess we create. It’s what tends the soil and plants the seeds in hearts long forgotten. Remember, the sun shines even on the cloudy days. Even if you forget that it’s there, it doesn’t forget you. Even if you forsake it, it will not forsake you. Love remains and it will not force itself upon you, but oh…it is a force to be reckoned with.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” John Wayne.
The craziest thing about my journey is that I’m scared of just about everything. Scared of what people will think, scared that I care, scared of what I will uncover next, scared that I can’t dig fast enough. I’m scared of the whole dying unto myself thing and scared of the redemption. Amazingly enough- it’s fear that keeps me moving forward. It’s why I walk into the fire- am I afraid of the burn? Yep. But I crave that release…the moment when I rise from the ashes and find myself here, pondering whether or not I’ve said God too many times and if love would somehow make us both more comfortable…Then noticing that I used God way more times than I’m comfortable with. It’s like that.