Decoding My Relationship With God
While beginning to decode my newfound understanding of how impacted my relationship with God has been during my lifetime, I noticed something profound. I’ve been reading verses by halves, sometimes less. I mean, I grew up in the church and grew up with a pretty strong working knowledge of Scripture. But, like many, my understanding of Scripture has been highlighted, color corrected if you will, by the tone I conferred upon it. I was unable to read it free from the attributes to which I had assigned its writers. For example, if God was demanding, testing, waiting for me to mess up… then each verse would be read with that expected, assigned tone, right? As I’ve realized that the attributes I assigned to God were not accurate, but lingering specters of trauma from the past I had yet to face, an entire new world opened, a peek into the future foreseeable exploration and voyages that growth would make unavoidable.
One day, I saw an Instagram post, sharing 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him…” I normally would have stopped there or mumbled the second half, paying no particular attention to the rest, but it suddenly lit up as though highlighted in neon, skittering across the distracted recesses of my mind, calling me back to present engagement, “because He cares for you.” WAIT…what? Has it always said that? Wrestling with the idea, I’m pretty entirely sure it has. But, somehow, in my gross misunderstanding of God’s utter joy at my existence, I’ve missed so much. Because…I’ve been waiting for the wrath. The testing. The shaming. There wasn’t a simple command in this verse, “Cast all your anxiety on Him…PERIOD…” It was “because He cares for you.” (even if you don’t see that now, even if that doesn’t make sense to a human brain, etc.) But I’ve only ever seen the command. I’ve missed the joy. …..for so many years.
Then I started questioning what else I had missed. I question how often I’d turn something into a harsh command, skimming over the loving words. Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;” (emphasis and italics are my own here.) How much easier is it to put on these traits, to wear them, when we know we are loved? When we have been embraced wholeheartedly, lovingly by our Heavenly Father? When we are accepted? We can love because He loves us. That’s it. That’s the only way.
What changes for you when your perspective changes? Sometimes, history of trauma, how we were raised, perspectives on religion or spirituality, etc. color code how we see Jesus. This isn’t surprising because, as many psychological theories posit, we internalize people, thoughts, and ideas. Religious trauma is a common reason people go to counseling. If you need someone to talk to around this, finding a counselor who can help clear up the static is a great step.