Are you the master of your God?

Image: Vlad Marisescu

I’ve found through direct experience that I’m not a very good master of the Divine.

I’ll say — I’m blessed in many ways… Yes, I’ve had my fair share of dark nights of the soul, but all in all, I’m incredibly fortunate in more ways than I can name.

The harder I try to create a God that conforms to my life and my whims, the more disappointed I become.

This is the meaning of faith for much of the world, in a religious sense...

We’ve tried for millennia to draw a model of God. We’ve concocted all sorts of clever ways of manipulating this God.

If we just pray like this. If we just behave like that. If we just eat these certain things on these days…

Then God will do what we want instead of getting angry at us.

I didn’t think I did this. I’m not a very religious person. I left the church of my youth decades ago.

But after close examination, I still do. Even though I now see God as a Presence more so than a being, I still catch myself trying to get on its good side so it does things for me.

Even now, I find myself trying to master God.

This is the model of for most of the world in a religious sense — human manipulation masquerading as faith.

What’s really hitting me lately is the notion to stop trying to get God to bow to my demands. To stop that game completely.

The illusory God that we create in our own image to conform to our knowledge and our values provides us with confidence and security, but as we are secretly the masters of this god, it turns out to be “No-God” at all, but rather, on closer examination, just idols such as “Family, Nation, State, Church, Fatherland.” 
 — Merold Westphal

There is a light at the end of this. I do believe there is a Divine power. But what’s showing up for me is that true faith is an act of listening, not speaking.

Not listening to some rules and doctrines passed down from the iron fist of an authority figure. But listening to the still, small voice in our own soul that speaks to us in vivid, yet indescribable, detail.

I’ve noticed, when I do listen, I don’t so much get what I want. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. But what happens is my life deepens. I’m able to find depth in the highs, lows, and in-betweens of life. I’m able to sit with things better.

This is grace. When we can drop our ego demands and engage our inner ear to hear what Life/God is trying to live through us.

It’s incredible what shows up in life when we stop trying to control God and instead let God control us. That seems to put things in the right order.

Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people deepen their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way.

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