Words from Sue: Choose Again
February 18, 2017
How is your heart these days? Where are you in your relationship with God, with Jesus, with the Spirit, with spirituality in general? Do you have an understanding of yourself as a spiritual being, fallible and flawed, but deeply loved and always guided to better things? Great, this might not be an article for you. However, if you are uncomfortable or feel guilty when you think of God. If you were raised with a God of Judgement and wrath. If bad things have happened in your life that made you throw up walls and question the very existence of God then this might be exactly what you need. I’m here to tell you, no matter what you believe, if it isn’t giving you peace, joy, hope, and a desire to be a better person every day then you can choose again! Choose again, and great things can happen!
One of my favourite things about the spiritual path I discovered through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is that I was invited to choose my own conception of God. A friend in the program, on hearing my old idea of God, suggested that maybe I should borrow his. He told me to go home and make a couple lists. On one I should list everything I believed about God, on the other I should list everything I would LIKE to believe about God. “Then,” he instructed me, “live like the second list is true.” I was dumbfounded. This idea that I can make a list of everything I find objectionable about my own understanding of God and then make a second list of what kind of God I’d like to believe in is very powerful. Much in that suggestion breathes of the essential loving compassion and forever reaching nature of Spirit that it staggers me. Yet I first heard it as a simple statement made one alcoholic to another.
It conveyed to me the assurance that change was possible. It was as if the Spirit had whispered “If this belief you’re holding is getting in the way of your healing. If how you understand God is causing you pain, guilt, and shame. If the conclusions you’ve drawn separate you from Love and from your people then choose again.” New questions arose: What understanding opens the door to healing and hope? What belief inspires in you the desire to find out more for yourself? So I ask you today: What new conclusions might you draw if you gave yourself permission to really get down to it with God. Know that I stood where you might be, full of anger, hate, guilt, shame, and desperately wanting freedom. Another person offered me the same out. It was so very simple; Choose again.”
I grew up in the church where I had come to believe that there was only ONE way to understand or approach God. I thought I understood that ONE way and I thought it meant that I would never have anything good in my life. That believe tore at my heart and was foundational to so much brokenness in my life and relationships. Actually, I had draw some mistaken conclusions which hurt me and made me feel unworthy of God’s love. Turns out – I was wrong. Turns out there is not just one way to believe. I was stunned to realize that there are as many understandings of God – of Jesus – of Spirit as there are people who seek to understand. Belief is the result of teaching, experience, and interpretation. Our experience of God is the result of a loving Spirit clearing out the wreckage of broken thinking and allowing us to see a new way. My old interpretations never came out well for me. My best efforts to make sense of a world where people did icky things to little kids resulted in the conclusion that bad things happen to bad people and if it had happened to me then I was BAD and therefore not on God’s gift list. Thank God I was WRONG! Thank God for the people in AA who suggested I come up with my own conception of God.
I have incredible gratitude for a God who met me in that place of seeking and lead me to a new understanding full of hope, joy, and love. This is the God I have come to know – a God who will show up in whatever way works for you (and me) and lead us ever deeper into loving relationship with God, Spirit, and others. It’s not new stuff – it wasn’t even new when the first 100 men and women wrote the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. But it offers a new freedom to anyone bound by their mistaken identification of God to a way of living that causes them to feel alone, afraid, and unloved. Is that you? Then choose again, and watch a new path unfold before you! The adventure awaits! Choose again!