Posted by: Marie | December 25, 2009

(211) How do I do it right?

Post #211
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 7, 2009]

I’ve been doing some more pondering about who God is to me.

Like I said before, the religion of my childhood taught me that God is a separate entity with separate energy and a separate will. He is available for a personal relationship if I am willing to conform my beliefs and behaviors to a very strict and judgmental dogma. In other words, God initiates and we respond according to his harsh and controlling laws.

Photo by Martin Chen

The belief structures I have been exposed to later in life teach that God is not separate. Rather, we are of the same energy – he is infinite and we are finite manifestations of the very same energy. This “new thought” teaching states that God cannot show favor to one person or group of people over others. In other words, we initiate and he responds uniformly and predictably. This teaching is traditionally noncommittal about the extent to which God has a will that operates independently from the collective will of all spiritual beings.

If I follow the first set of teachings, then my pleadings and dramatic weeping and gnashing of teeth in times of need are effective as long as my personal account is in good standing. In the second set of teachings, those demonstrations are a waste.

The first set of teachings leaves me feeling judged and option-less. The second set leaves me feeling abandoned and isolated. Both sets of teachings require me to think or behave a certain way – a “right” way – in order to receive blessings. In both cases, it would be reasonable to conclude that my current financial challenge (a delay in the receipt of a very large check and no other funds immediately available) exists because I’m doing it “wrong”.

So, how do I do it “right”? What do I need to do in order to shift this situation and to avoid situations like this in the future?

More importantly, what does that sweet innocent baby on the other side of the world have to do “right” to survive his current state of starvation and to avoid similar situations in the future? What about the little girl somewhere in my own town who is being repeatedly raped? What “right” thing does she need to do?

Since I don’t have the answers yet, my current focus has been to find a mantra I can whisper to myself when I’m struggling to calm down enough to sleep – after all, I need my sleep so I can figure out what to do about this God thing and about these recovered memories. Maybe then, once I pull myself out of the mud, I might be able to do something about the sweet baby – and the little girl in my town – whose identities I don’t yet know.

Here is the best mantra I have come up with so far:

There is a way through. I will find it.

I acknowledge this means I may have to go without even more than I have. I acknowledge this means I may have to turn to family and friends for help even more than I have. I wish I could turn to God to help, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

The bottom line is . . . I will find a way through. I will. I really believe that.

Part of my “finding a way through” has involved working through the “Courage to Heal” book. It has been a huge help so far. The point in the book at which I am currently is one that will likely involve my writing very emotional prose.

I instinctively know it would not be a good idea to “go there” right now, as I’m heading into a greatly increased work schedule – and because my newfound stability feels fragile. I’m going to see how I do once the school year starts. Then, I may be ready to continue.

In the meantime, I’m going to start studying a relatively short book: “This Thing Called You” by Ernest Holmes.

Quotes 122


Responses

  1. I’ll be interested to follow how this God stuff develops for you.

    For me the mistake is about identity. That we either have to be entirely separate or completely identical.

    For me intimacy can occur by paying attention to our differences. We can have great connection and commonality with and through our differences. I think that most of us have experienced some measure of this. Hope I’ve explained what I mean.

    • Hey, Evan –

      So, I’m curious . . . when you talk about being separate or identical, and differences and intimacy, are you talking about similarities/differences among the beliefs of people about God — or are you talking about the distance between a human being and God?

      – Marie

  2. For me both. To have intimacy with another or anOther we need to be neither identical nor completely different.

  3. I tend to take the first view, that God is separate and has a personality and will that isn’t mine to dictate. If God is perfect that he has the right to dictate that we be perfect too.

    However, within Christian teaching the key concept is that none of us “do right” In our human frailty we are utterly and tragically unable to reach divine perfection even when we try. Hence, Jesus Christ. The life and death of God in human form gives us the perfection that we could never create ourselves.

    In true Christian belief there is nothing to “do” other than accept that God loves us enough to have done it for us. It is unlimited acceptance and intimacy with God. Any good we do after that is out of gratitude for what was done for us, not an attempt to impress God. He knows us too well to be impressed.

    Sorry, go off on a doctrine tangent, but it seems to apply to your conundrum.

    • Hi, Doctor D –

      I can see where your way of relating to God is a more palatable version of the “God of Vengeance” I was taught as a child . . . what you describe allows for the existence of a “God of Love”.

      Thanks for sharing your viewpoint! It is always good to hear how other people relate to God.

      – Marie


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