A book that I have not wanted to put down lately, is Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue by Neal Donald Walsch
Man that book has been life changing for me. All of this time, I've seen perfection as doing exactly as God wants me to do and being exactly as God wants me to be. I would read the scriptures and see Jesus Christ and all that he did, and want to be perfect just like Him. I was faithfully following in His footsteps. I was serving others constantly, I would submit myself to the pains that God sent me to feel and the trials He gave me without complaining, I would put all others before myself, I was selfless. Even as I look at the word selfless, it really makes me wonder why we use that word? Self-less. Putting my self-less and others first? From my experience, being self-less didn't serve me. I was striving SO hard to be self-less, that that's exactly what I became. I had no sense of self.
I was so busy trying to be the perfect mom, and wife, and neighbor, and child, that I denied my self over and over and over. I perceived that that's what Christ did, and that is what would make God proud of me and love me. I believed that because I am a mom now, it's time for me to become truly selfless and sacrifice everything, every part of me, to my family. I denied myself an education, I denied myself nice clothes and things, I denied myself a job, I denied myself everything so I could stay at home and be self-less. After a while, I came to the pain-FULL realization that the more I denied myself, the less I was able to give to my family. Slowly but surely my sense of self was buried underneath my perceptions of who I SHOULD be, rather than who I really am. Shoulds, shouldn'ts, have to's, and I need to's ruled my life. I wasn't living life as I truly wanted. I was living my life the way I thought God, my children, the church, my family, and society wanted. I was not happy. This "perfection" was not working for me any longer.
I felt like God's love was a catch 22 and so was my agency. I felt like when he said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" it was literal. I wanted to show Him that I could perfectly love him. Nope. That didn't work for me. I felt like when God told me that I had my agency, he was saying, "Yah! You can choose which path you want! But there's only one path the me, and the rest are wrong and you will live a life of agony if you don't choose what I really want you to choose. I felt God's love was conditional based on if I did what he wanted me to or not. Imagine my utter shock when I learned that God is not this way at all. In Conversations with God,God says:
NDW: When you say that a prayer is a statement of what is so, are you saying that God does nothing; that everything which happens after a prayer is a result of the prayer's action?
If you believe that God is some omnipotent being who hears all prayers, says "yes" to some, "no" to others, and "maybe, but not now" to the rest, you are mistaken. By what rule of thumb would God decide?
If you believe that God is the creator and decider of all things in your life, you are mistaken.
God is the observer, not the creator. And God stands ready to assist you in living your life, but not in the way you might expect.
It is not God's function to create, or uncreate, the circumstances or conditions of your life. God created you, in the image and likeness of God. You have created the rest, through the power God has given you. God created the process of life and life itself as you know it. Yet God gave you free choice, to do with life as you will.
In this sense, your will for you is God's will for you.
You are living your life the way you are living your life, and I have no preference in the matter.
This is the grand illusion in which you have engaged: that God cares one way or the other what you do.
I do not care what you do, and that is hard for you to hear. Yet do you care what your children do when you send them out to play? Is it a matter of consequence to you whether they play tag, or hide and seek, or pretend? No, it is not, because you know they are perfectly safe. You have placed them in an environment which you consider friendly and very okay.
Of course, you will always hope that they do not hurt themselves. And if they do, you will be right there to help them, heal them, allow them to feel safe again, to be happy again, to go and play again another day. But whether they choose hide and seek or pretend will not matter to you the next day, either.
You will tell them, of course, which games are dangerous to play. But you cannot stop your children from doing dangerous things. Not always. Not forever. Not in every moment from now until death. it is the wise parent who knows this. Yet the parent never stops caring about the outcome. It is this dichotomy--not caring deeply about the process, but caring deeply about the result--that comes close to describing the dichotomy of God.
Yet God, in a sense, does not even care about the outcome. Not the ultimate outcome. This is because the ultimate outcome is assured.
And this is the second great illusion of man: that the outcome of life is in doubt.
It is this doubt about ultimate outcome that has created your greatest enemy, which is fear. For if you doubt outcome, then you must doubt Creator-you must doubt God. And if you doubt God, you must live in fear and guilt all your life.
If you doubt God's intentions-and God's ability to produce this ultimate result-then how can you ever relax? How can you ever truly find peace?
It may seem extremely harsh, and some of you may be cringing at reading this because it is bringing up realizations that you too are the creator of your own life experience and the reason you feel shitty sometimes really boils down to the fact that you created that. Believe me. I was the NUMBER ONE advocate of this being the hokiest bunch of crap. I was in complete resistance to the idea that I was the only one who could make myself miserable.
But do you want to know the truth about it? The truth is, that this gift of creating is the greatest gift God has blessed his children with. He didn't stop me from creating a mess! He allowed me to create and learn. Let's be honest, I'm still a little bitter about it, but I'm working on it. ;) Once I saw that God really doesn't care what I do with my life, and that He gave me agency so I could create what I chose, it was so freaking empowering. The absolute best part about realizing that I am the master of my own life? I get to create whatever I want. I get to choose exactly how I feel, react, and think.
I am the literal offspring of God. GOD! The creator of all of the universe and everything therein and thereon! I too possess that same power. And you know what? I choose a different way than before. I choose accountability. I choose to not blame my husband, my kids, my parents, my religion, my God, my "circumstances" for the outcome of my life. I choose to love me. I choose to love myself exactly as I am. I choose to see my "flaws" (as I called them before) as my own personal creation that allow me to know and love myself more wholey.
As I look back, I am filled with gratitude. God, I love all that I have gone through. I am SO grateful for my agency and my creation. I am SO grateful for the freedom I feel from the captivity I held myself in. I love the contrast in my life from then and now. I love that God loves me so much that he let me create my own misery. That's why I chose to come to earth! I chose because I want to experience who I really am! It's not possible to do so without that opposition. How can I know hot without cold? Joy without pain? Comfort without uncomfortable? And you know the best thing that I am learning? Pain doesn't have to be a bad thing. Pain is a perception. How did Christ suffer on the cross and feel all that he did? Why was he so willing? Because he knew that pain is a perception. It is a sensation. The more I resist pain, the more it comes to me and the more I believe that pain is horrible the more horrible my life becomes. I choose to see this life as temporary. I choose to see this life as an opportunity for experience. I am an eternal being! This is just a small moment! Life is what I create! Wow. God is Amazing. I am amazing. I love all that I am learning and hopefully you too can take what works for you from my writing and let it enhance your life.
If you don't agree with everything I say, that is wonderful. Find out for yourself what is truth for you and what works for you. If some things that I say seem so stupid and blind and lost, that's totally fine. Take what speaks to you and disregard the rest. I am writing for my benefit and the benefit of others. Know that what I say is out of love. Nothing is out of judgement or pointing fingers. AT ALL. If you are a stay at home mom and you do it for you, than that is completely wonderful and I honor that! I am not writing this out of blame or judgement. I am writing this because what I have experienced is so amazing, that I wanted to share.