The Voice From Within
I've been reading through Padraig O'Tuama's spiritual memoir In the Shelter: Finding A Home In The World, and I came across a line that shook me a bit:
Better the doomy God you know, than the roomy God you don't.
When I first read it, I said to myself, "Oh man, that's a great line to describe those other kind of Christians, who cling to the image of a vengeful, judgmental God. You better right that down!"
And so I did. I marked it in the book, and then pulled up my trust Evernote app, and started typing away. That's when it hit me. I began to wonder if maybe... the person being described in that line might actually be me.
"Couldn't be!" I told myself. "You gave up that God a long time ago." Then from a deep place within my heart---a secret place far from the scrutiny of the voice in my head--came these words:
"You sure don't act like it."
Now before you start sputtering in consternation and seeking to disabuse that notion, consider your own deep, secret place first. You know the place. It's often hidden far below all of the ways you project who you want to be to the world.
It's the voice of the Spirit within you, speaking the unvarnished truth. It's not accusatory, it's not shaming, it's not like the other voices that may rattle around in your head telling you that you aren't good enough, aren't worthy and the like.
No, this voice speaks the truth about ourselves (in our true voice), softly, lovingly, and sometimes sadly, but still... it speaks the truth.
And this morning, the truth it was speaking to me was that despite all of the ways I say I believe that God isn't angry with me---I still struggle to believe it, most of the time.
Now don't get me wrong... I don't for one minute think that God is angry at you. You are good. You are loved and beloved. God accepts you and cherishes as you are and longs for you to be more, but doesn't hold it over your head when you don't get there right away.
But when it comes to me---now that's a different story.
Maybe you have the same struggle. You want to believe that you've given up that angry God---the doomy God you know--in favor of a loving, forgiving, up-close-and-personal God, but secretly you haven't.
The fact of the matter is, that the "roomy" God we believe is at work in the lives of others is also at work in our own. If you have been struggling with this in your own life, hear these words of wisdom, which I speak into my own life as well as yours:
It's time to finally get to know the roomy God you say you believe in. It's time to offer the same grace that you believe is available to others to yourself. It's time to let that doomy God go, once and for all.
It's time to hear the truth about yourself, from yourself.
I read a prayer that was written by an anonymous author the other day that I think works so well here:
I pray for the progress that is possible when I am completely honest with myself. On that foundation, I can build a good life.
May you discover the truth about who you are to God, and who God is to you. May you be set free from the judgments you have against yourself--judgments that are grounded in an image of God that isn't at all real.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.