By: Jana Greene
I thought I knew what God was like.
When I first started deconstructing my belief system – that is, dismantling all I’d been taught, and finding out for myself what I believe – I felt orphaned. Frazzled.
But the biggest mistake I made was taking on that process in the same vein I practiced religion: Fear. All my life, I’ve operated from a place of fear, and that’s no way to live out Love.
For many of us Christians, fear has been a motivator for faith since the day we hear the sweet name of Jesus. Because HELL, that’s why.
What if it’s not okay to NOT take the Bible literally? What if it’s NOT okay to feel angry at God sometimes? Maybe it’s NOT okay to doubt? Maybe I’ll burn in Hell for all eternity as punishment for expressing the curious mind God himself gifted me?
I want to know God. But I said goodbye to smiting God. And baby-killing God. And bad-mood God. And even disappointed God.
What if, instead of parroting to the whole world that “God is love,” we declare that LOVE is actually GOD. And Love is only ever good. Love looks like Jesus, who looks like God.
But it was scary at first. Like…
Feeling like God had called me into his office and was just waiting to hit the button for the trap door to open beneath me, like in a dang cartoon.
Feeling like a sink hole was going to swallow me up if I ask the wrong questions.
Feeling like I was having to diffuse a bomb without the schematics.
Feeling like I was walking in the wilderness, in a place I didn’t recognize, possibly on another planet.
Shelving my old fears did not come as an epiphany moment, but more like a gradual peeling away in layers like an onion. And like an onion, there was crying involved.
Better yet, it was like a journey into the center of the earth. I didn’t want to rehash the surface stuff – I want to know what’s at the core. And just as the Earth has layers, I moved into deconstruction under the premise that what’s at the core is what keeps everything else stable.
Science says that the Earth’ core is responsible for thew whole planet’s magnetic field, as well as plate tectonics, and many other functions. In other words, we know it’s there. We THINK we know what it’s made of. We are pretty sure what it does. We base our science on evidence, but nobody has ever traveled there and to think we understand it completely is foolhardy.
Ditto God. His ways are (very obviously) not our ways. But what if we trust they are BETTER than our own?
So, what’s at your core, God?
Are you a god of the Old Testament, angry and vengeful?
Or are you a god of unconditional love and justice, like Jesus?
Because the two look nothing alike, and I got tired of pretending they did.
Like the Emporer’s New Clothes, every other believer seemed to be dressed in their faith to the nines, expecting the King to be robed in glory, but you’re the only one who can see that he’s naked. Figuratively, of course. I ain’t trying to be weird. But at some point, I had to say, “Excuse me, ya’ll. BUT CAN YOU NOT SEE HE ISN’T WEARING CLOTHES?” In my own heart, I had to see the emperor as vulnerable and stop listening to how everyone else perceived he was dressed.
I am happy to say that coming out the other side, I choose to believe the latter. And since I’ve lived in the latter, I have peace. I finally have the spiritual peace that “it is finished” means IT IS FINISHED.
I have the ability to love ALL, without taking their ‘inventory’ and determining their worth.
I no longer just tell folks I’ll pray for them. I just DO it. And I try to be emotionally available to them myself, because how else is God supposed to love on us if not through each other? That’s how he gets shit done.
In conclusion, I’ve never physically been to the earth’s core. Nobody has. It is mysterious and no matter how we define it, we have to have faith that it will keep the Earth spinning. We will too.
But I do think I know God a little better now.
He created us to love us, and to teach us to love one another.
He keeps me close like a magnet and draws you near too.
He guides my steps as the circumstances change and shift like tectonic plates.
Excuse me, but God is wearing nothing but LOVE for you. Even if “everybody else” is “hearing from God,” has “a hotline to God,” has read the whole Bible, is a “Super Christian” in religious circles, or sits on a church committee (or seven.)
Grab my hand and let’s journey to the center of the heart of God.
The core has been cooling down since the creation of time, softening, just as his heart is soft for us; just like Jesus.
I am at the core of that heart, and so are you. He loves you to the center of your being.
At the core, there is Truth.
And the truth will set you free.