Who is the God you serve? Does the God you serve carry a big club, waiting for you to stumble into sin and then beat you in punishment? Do you fear Him because you don’t want to go to hell so you try to do all the right stuff and measure up so you assure yourself a spot inside the pearly gates? Are you burdened with fear, shame, and excessive guilt? Do you envision God as a Santa Claus type figure keeping a list of who is naughty and nice? Are you overly concerned that you don’t pray enough, or right, look and act a certain way? These views are disordered views of God.
For as long as I have remembered, I have feared God’s wrath and punishment. As a little girl I always did the right thing so I wouldn’t get in trouble, displease my parents and God. If I did slip up, I would be filled with guilt and shame and beg God to forgive me. I was terrified of Hell. For some reason, as I grew to adulthood, I carried the guilt and shame with me. I was an excessive worrier about everything. I severely chastised myself when I slipped and made a mistake. God was very distant; he seemed more like a harsh judge than a loving father. Then came the anxiety about certain issues when I went through a renewal of my faith. I had a checklist lifestyle. I thought if I did x,y, and z, I would be a good Catholic woman. Now these were things like wear dresses only, go to the Traditional Latin Mass, limit outside contact, allow as many babies as humanly possible, etc. The things not on my list were charity, humility, simplicity, kindness, etc. I was not leading a virtuous life. I was critical of many, judgmental of others, and mad about so many things. Missing from this was peace, love, and joy. But through a difficult cross the Lord sent, my eyes were opened.
Now I am have been introduced to a different God. He is not a big bad bully. He is the Great I AM. He is merciful and kind, slow to anger. He longs for us to come to Him with our troubles, love, and joy. He is not waiting to beat us up over our failings. He is ready to forgive us when we approach Him with a contrite heart. He is willing to give us His grace and love. We can see this in the gospels. Remember when he was at the house of Simon and the woman was bathing him and kissing his feet? He told Simon how great her love and faith were. Loving Him is simple and why He tells us to have child-like faith.
I am learning this through some holy priests who promote the wonderful message of Divine Mercy. Traditionalists tend to focus on God’s justice and the penance we must do (which is important), but they forget his Love and Mercy. There needs to be a balance, and I think this is one reason many people were happy to see some changes that came about in the church. Priests often felt cold and not understanding of problems people faced.
This is an exciting time in my spiritual life. My life has been so rocky and tops turvy, filled with anxiety, questioning, and depression. This season of life is like meeting and getting to know someone special for the first time. I believe all of the same things about God such as the mystery of the Trinity and His presence in the Holy Eucharist, but my view of Him is slowly shifting to a God I can love and trust fully and now I fully know that I am loved because He created me, not because I wore dresses or no make-up. It goes much deeper than that.
About Rest for the Weary
I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.