I Hated The Word God For a While

I hated the word god for a while. The minute somebody said it, I would cringe. I did not want to hear about this god thing anymore. I didn’t want the religion of old telling me about the punishing, white, male god sitting on a cloud pulling all the strings from above. The word still makes me angry and uncomfortable when it is used in oppressive and controlling ways.
When I say the word God I largely mean Loving Presence. I’m not suggesting that I have it all figured out. I’m sharing my experience with the hope it helps you with yours.
A while back, I put this question on Facebook: “if you could ask God any question, what would you ask?” These were the questions people posted. 

  • Why isn’t evil stopped? 
  • And why aren’t victims saved before things happen? 
  • Why do people suffer? 
  • Why does it seem like genuinely good people always get hurt or killed and evil people flourish?
  • How can children be charged with the responsibility of bearing terrible pain and abuse, while grown adults are allowed to hurt others without consequence?
  • How are justice and kindness administered by the universe and why does God take people so young? 

If you grew up in America, then you have been exposed to this idea of a controlling, superhero god that’s in charge of everything. That is what I call the big wound number 1 – the idea that God controls everything.

In a way this idea made some feel protected as long as certain creeds were recited and rules were followed. This meant you were in good standing with god.

For many people this was tied to following the rules of a religion. But then shit happens, and we wonder why we’re not protected as if bad things weren’t supposed to happen to certain people. People find themselves asking: What did I do? Are we being punished? Then shame shows up and says, “maybe if I had been perfect, God would not have taken my loved one. Or maybe this terrible thing wouldn’t have happened”. 

 On top of that, many people may feel like they can’t even be mad at god because “he” might double down and punish you for being angry.

What kind of mean god, have we allowed to exist all of this time? The psychological damage of this kind of teaching is deep. This god loves me, but willingly hurts me deeply. That’s a bad relationship. This is the type of thing abusers say. Whether they know it or not many people are in an abusive relationship with god!

The truth is that life sometimes hurts us. 

God is Presence and Love not a controller in the sky, pressing buttons, directing who’s going to die today and who’s going to live today and taking freaking prayer role to see if enough people prayed to let this person live. Have we made God into some sort of polling place? 

All of this has kept us from the enormous Presence and Love available to us always. This Presence and Love doesn’t need you to show up in any certain way. Exactly as you are (wounds, flaws, fears, feelings and all) is perfect. As a matter of fact, exactly as you are helps you connect. In showing up without trying to fix or change yourself, you are practicing the very Presence and Love you wish to experience. It’s a Love that allows you to simply be and loves you for just that – simply existing. This practice opens the door to the bigger Presence and Love that awaits you. 

So, baby steps. What is one small or big way you can allow yourself to be exactly as you are today? Please understand that a small way is just as good as a big way. One is not better or worse. Also, no answer is an answer. Honor that too!

Write down a note about your experience with this if you like. Maybe you prefer to draw a picture. As always if this feels too heavy to do alone, get the support you need.

For further reflection: 

When reading this today, what questions or thoughts does it bring up in you? What hope might it instill? Does it bring up a memory or story about a time when you experienced deep Presence and Love? Or maybe a person that helps you experience this – a person who helps you be more of you and loves you as is rather than trying to change you?

Take some time to sit with these questions. Maybe one of them in particular gets your attention. Ask the question or questions and allow yourself to wait a few moments for what might emerge. You don’t have to go searching for answers with your mind. Breathe and see what arises.