I think the term “God” is a hot button topic for many. Rightly so, as it is highly politicalized. Used by many to justify actions, beliefs and words that don’t sit well with what I imagine the word to mean, it is one that makes me cringe at times when I try to find ways to say “God” without the history and baggage. I’ve tried out other words like “universe” (too new agey) and “spirit,” (not powerful enough) and have settled into an uneasy association with God. I hope that we can come to an agreement that I reference God, I mean it in a general sense, not one specific version.
I grew up in a religious home. We went to church, we said prayers before meals. When I was young, and life was less complicated, God served me well. (Imma drop the quotation marks, because I think you get it now.) My family protected me from the knowledge that this issue was far from simple and for a time, God and I were tight. Then we got a little too tight, and things got weird.
I joined a youth group when I was a teenager, and it was probably pretty close to a cult. The hard line type with lots of should and can’ts. My young brain slurped up the prescriptivness of it all. Someone was telling me what to think, what to believe and how to act. This black and white way of thinking about God did not prepare me for the greyness of the world, but it sure felt safe. Then, I put myself in a stupid situation, and kept myself in said situation for far too long because I didn’t know how to think for myself and I thought God was a vengeful, angry, patriarchal father that would smite me for the whole premarital sex thing. I felt like God betrayed me. I was thinking the right things, I was doing the right things, except for that one, but who’s counting... I thought God was, and the guilt was overwhelming. I was trying so hard to be the good Christian and make things right, and God was nowhere to be found (or that’s how it felt. I’m shaking my head right now thinking about all the things I felt so strongly about. My worldview was a tightrope. I’m just taking a moment of gratitude for the person I am now. The belief system that supports concepts like karma and energy. That I am the author of my life and I get to choose my own adventure. That by being proactive with my goals, thoughts, beliefs and emotions, I can create the world I live in. God and I are co-creators. God is not my boss, my dad or my judge.
So, anyhoo. Back to the conundrum of semantics. God and spirit are still alive and well in my worldview. But it feels weird calling this new version, this more authentically true to me version by the ex’s name if you know what I mean. I was working with The Healing Runes (Ralph Blum and Susan Loughan) and the language is very God like, with a similar feel to my old days of hardcore Christianity. (References to heaven, the divine, hymn quotes etc) There is so much good to be gleaned from this resource, but only if I can get over the language. I really do have to get over it, since it is something I talk about in a professional sense. I need a way to refer to spirit, the universe, whatever, without feeling awkward or worse yet, making you feel awkward. I don’t have a magic answer here, but cultivating awareness about when I am resisting an idea or message just because it references God is a good start. I ask that you try to be open to different phrases that describe the same thing: The life force, creative, animating energy. Feel free to choose your own adventure spiritually. The specifics may differ, but “God” has a lot to teach us.