Why is it if we say we believe in God, people think they understand what that means. Heck, in most cases, we don't even know what means. Not really.
If someone says they do, they're lying. Or delusional.
Granted, they think they know - or want to know - or believe they're supposed to know -
But they don't know.
It's hard for us to walk in this new environment where we were raised to believe in God,
we've always said we believe in God,
We think we do believe in God,
but we don't really know what it means anymore.
For some reason, the scene from Chinatown comes to mind when Susan Sarandon is repeating, "My daughter, my sister. My daughter, my sister." As a viewer, we're totally confused, or I was the first time I saw it. Trying to process this never-saw-it-coming twist to the storyline. My brain felt like that when it came to God.
I believe in God...but what is God. Does that mean I don't believe in God? What does God mean anyway?
oh my gosh. It was a circus in my head.
One part of my brain had it so embedded, it couldn't move, while the other part was confused and disoriented.
That's what happens when we go into denial for a very long time, pushing it aside like the overdraft notice from the bank on a day that you just can't take one more ounce of stressful news.
Tomorrow, you think to yourself. I'll deal with this tomorrow. But when it comes to deciding if you believe in God or not, tomorrow doesn't come - unless you have friends or people in your life that talk about these things. It's not a common situation to find oneself in on this personal a level.
So...when the day does come that it matters to know. For instance, when you meet someone who wants to go to church every Sunday...and you think it'll be good to get back and you find you hate it...but don't know why.
Or you tell yourself it must be your problem that you shut down in church, and you'll just keep going until you get over yourself. That day never comes.
Or in the quiet moments of your evening when you're alone, you meander over to a Christian site and nothing resonates. You read words about Jesus and you feel dirty, and you cringe, noticing an almost repulsed angry sensation within and it scares you...because you never felt this way about Jesus...and don't believe you could. So, what is wrong with you?
Nothing is wrong with you.
You've evolved. You've grown. You picture of God has changed.
This doesn't mean you're an atheist however.
It simply means something's different.
I'd venture to guess that God doesn't have the same one dimensional quality to him anymore. As a matter of fact, God doesn't even feel like a him, to be honest.
Have a familiar ring?
When this happened in my life, I didn't know what to do with it. I knew I'd never again fit inside a Christian world, so I stopped trying.
But I didn't quite fit in the spiritual world of those who liked being spiritual but had no spiritual path either because I missed the powerful experience it was to connect to the Christ spirit, and the Holy Spirit.
This had nothing at all to do with religion in my life. This was a distinct and unique inner mystery that never let go of me. I didn't feel it all the time, but I always knew it - from my first, original peak experience one might say of this spiritual encounter. There was no denying it, no explaining it, and no resisting it once it showed up.
What was most clear to me about it was it wasn't attached to a rule book, a religion, or a should. It was as far from those things as anything could be.
It had no attachment to anything other than a huge, expansive knowing that consumed me with peace, trust, surrender in the way of happy and free.
I know that sounds a bit dorky, but it's the only way I can say it without sounding like I'm totally blonde. Even though I clearly sound blonde anyway. There's just no escaping that when trying to describe it. Those of you who've been there knwo what I mean.
I resonated with the humanity of Jesus and with the spirit of Christ. Everything about this human being and his connection to a power greater than himself made sense to me on some deeper level. His desire to spend time with others, to want to heal them, to choose kindness and passivity over violence and resistance. It made complete sense to me that, as a rabbi he plucked out of long books of commandments that said, "Thou shalt not" in his day - he plucked out the only two that said, "Love God and Love each other." Many theologians believe the Love God part was added later, but I don't know...and it doe3sn't matter since God is all that is anyway....so just...
As I thought about it more, I realized I'd changed since those early days in church, and the people who'd stayed the course were on another road altogether. This was ok, but it was lonely for me. I didn't fit anywhere anymore.
I wasn't even sure what it meant when people said they were "saved." I mean I knew but it didn't make sense to me anymore. Yet I reveled in the mystery, and my heart still longed for God - even if I no longer knew what that meant.
As I continued to think about it, the more aware I was of this man who walked the earth named Jesus. It was clear to me that it didn't matter in some respects how I attached his presence to religion, but I knew on some level that his life had transformed the world somehow - even if I didn't quite understand what that meant on the spiritual realm anymore.
And it didn't matter. Not really. I knew the spirit was real and that's all that mattered. The rest would be part of the next chapter - the rest of the journey.
Do you relate to any of this? If you do, tell me...and share your story if you choose to.