Monday, December 27, 2010

In Close Proximity

Hello! I am excited to share with you a book I received for the holidays, "Faith and Will: Weathering the Storms in Our Spiritual Lives" by Julia Cameron. Yes, the same Julia Cameron who is the best-selling author of the mega-hit, "The Artist's Way" and other books on creativity. She also has a strong faith in God and has several Christian-inspired books to her credit. This is one of them.

Let me quote from page 33, regarding God's closeness in our lives:

It is difficult to imagine exactly how intimate with us God really is. We can titter and say, 'God invented sex.' God did invent sex. Also bowel movements and menstrual cycles. Not just the far-flung canopy of stars but our tendency to hang-nails. God knows our business. God does not suffer, as we do, from conventional denial. God knows if we are broke or soon to be broke. God knows if we are fighting a drink or contemplating an illicit affair. God is on to us. This is not comfortable. But who said God was intended to be comfortable? We have no proof that God ever intended comfortable to be part of the deal. Job was not comfortable. Jacob, wrestling all night with the angel of the Lord, was not comfortable. Mary, in her heartbreak over her son, was not comfortable, and who was more beloved than Mary, the Mother? Comfort may not be a part of God's equation. We may be being brought to something better than comfort. Perhaps to dignity, to grace, to a sense of resilience."

Isn't that the truth! When I thought of religious people, I thought of people having easy lives, having easy times, talking and laughing in prayer. I wasn't sure if it was for me because I was used to suffering. Where was my place in religion? After all, I was raised in psychology, in the therapist's chair. Now that I am a religious person, I see that as wonderful and joyful it is to be a Christian, it is also heartachingly difficult.

To trust with that much abandon? Um, can we say scary? Letting go of control over my life continues to be the most challenging aspect of my faith. I was raised with the notion that you create your own reality; you have the power to change your present and future by hashing things out with family, past ghosts, delving into digging around your childhood with a flashlight and bringing the skeletons to life. Dealing with them head on. I'm not saying all this is wrong, but I did not have any companion during this journey of self-hood. I thought only I could do it. Well, me and the therapist at the time. I thought using anyone else was a weakness. And now, here I am expected to release my fears and hopes and dreams and successes and failures to God? It baffles me.

Yet I do it. Because I know that inviting God in my life to walk with me during my life is one of the best things - no is THE best thing I have ever done. And I'm learning what Julia Cameron wrote: that God does not always give us the comfortable option. Oh, He loves us, He wants us to prosper and be happy and good, but we have our own free will and sometimes the best answer is not always the most comfortable one.

A prayer we ask for now might not be in our best interests and God knows what lies down the road. He has Forever-Vision. He is taking care of us. So when we pray for X, we might have to settle for Y, and yet... most of the time, we see that Y was so much more preferable.

Think about how close you let God be to you. Do you keep Him in the sky, beyond the clouds? Or is he in the book beside your bed? Or in your glasses? Or is He the lotion you put on your body after a shower? Or is He in the eyes of your spouse? Perhaps he is in all of those places.

I challenge you... I dare you to let Him in as close as possible. When you pray, don't just think of him as "our Father, who art in Heaven" (though that is a most powerful prayer), but right there next to you in the car, driving with you to work. Cameron is right. He is in your business.

And trust me. You want that. You need that.

Bless you.

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