Letting God to Let God
They call it "falling" asleep because discovering you have nothing to hold onto is how it always begins. - Dobby Gibson
I remember the moment when as a young man I decided that I no longer believed in God.
I recall that I was walking on pavement that may have part of a parking lot (the details aren't as important as the feelings I felt). Suddenly, I said out loud, "I don't believe in God." And then I waited.
There was a small part of me that expected a lightning bolt to descend suddenly and swiftly from the clear, blue Florida sky to turn me into a smudge spot on the pavement. But there was nothing. Just the sound of traffic, and a bird or two.
I remember feeling disappointed for a moment. What I didn't realize was that the lost feeling I felt right then was simply the feeling of letting go of my old constructs of God, and the fear that had been the foundation of my faith.
I felt a sense of freedom then, but it was a disorienting kind of freedom, and not exactly exhilarating. I felt like I was unmoored, disconnected and unsure of what to do next.
It would take me years to figure out what happened at that moment. I would go on to experience years of mistakes, bad choices and an entirely ham-handed way of handling the freedom I'd been granted before finding my way back to God again.
What I didn't fully comprehend at that moment on the pavement was that the god I no longer believed in was a god who had never really existed in the first place. I had created a wrong-headed vision of God, and so letting go of that image was the first step in discovering more about the true nature of God.
This week I read an excellent quote from theologian and author Peter Enns from his latest book How the Bible Actually Works:
God doesn't change, but God--being God--is never fully captured by our perceptions. As people continue to live and breathe and experience life, how they see God changes too.My understanding of God continues to be formed and re-formed all of the time. I'm constantly stunned at how I miss the mark when it comes to imagining the Divine, and how limited my sight can be.
But I have learned that all transformation comes from first letting go of what was in order to embrace new possibilities.
May you find new ways to talk about God, imagine God, embrace God and discover more of who God is in your own life. May you find the courage to let go of whatever keeps you from desiring God more completely.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.