I grew up in a church that had a clear and precise definition of who God is. We gathered together every week to worship God and celebrate Him. We sang songs with words like, “let me tell you who Jesus is”. The very fabric of our lives were woven together by our definition of Him. We had a long list of things we had to do and a long list of things we should never do, just to please God. We embraced the lists and we felt good. We were safe, we were on the straight and narrow. We held the corner market on God.
But there was a secret I kept hidden. There was a deep undercurrent running below everything I believed to be true about God. This undercurrent was rushing and eroding me away. This undercurrent was fear:
What if I am wrong about God? What if I spend my whole life striving for God only to get to the other side and hear Him say, “I never knew you”. What if I am standing in the wrong God corner?
When I was four months pregnant with our first child, Matt and I did the unthinkable. We left our church and went to another church. It wasn’t a switch like, we don’t like the way this preacher preaches, or we don’t like the way the music sounds. No, we declared we didn’t agree and we moved to a different God corner.
Suddenly, we were immersed into a church culture who still loved Jesus, but defined God in a whole different way. The old list of “dos” was now on their “don’t have to” list and our old “don’ts” now became “go for it”. To put it simply, the steps to please God were reversed, yet, we were still worshipping and celebrating the same exact God. We felt good, we were safe, just in a different corner.
It didn’t take long before I felt the same rushing fear, eroding deep inside again.
What if I am still wrong about God?
Having stood in both corners of the God market, left us standing somewhere in the middle. I could see the truth in both definitions, but how can both be right?
As one standing in a house of cards, my God world began to fall apart around me. As I spun around looking for some truth to grasp on to, I didn’t see just two God corners, but infinite corners shouting, “We know who God is!”
Except, the more I tried to define the Infinite, the more I couldn’t define Him.
It’s like a glass of water defining the ocean, and then that glass of water standing up and declaring, “Ocean, I understand you!”
Sure, the fluid inside of that glass is the same fluid as the sea. That’s because the Sea is inside of me, so we display the same properties, we move the same way, and reflect the same image, but I am not the one who defines the Infinite. It is the ocean who defines me, changes me, and engulfs me. He is who he is, powerful and strong — confident in who he is. I am just a piece of the infinite, and he’s the one who calls me out by name and tells me, “I understand you.”
That’s when he began to define me with Love.
I read a scripture tucked away somewhere near the back of the Bible,
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. Perfect love casts out fear. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Love. And not just any love — Perfect Love.
Since, we can best understand the dynamic of humanity and God by looking at the dynamic of a family unit, I gave a questionnaire to my children, asking them to answer some questions about their daddy. They were so excited, and took the activity very serious. Charis even wrote her answers in rainbow.
When I asked Christian, “What’s Daddy’s name?”
His answer? “I don’t know.”
He proceeded to tell me his daddy is 10 years old, as big as a Ninja Turtle, and has purple eyes, but when I asked him what was his favorite thing to do with daddy, he answered, “hug and kiss.” He loves his daddy because he knows his daddy loves him.
You see, not one of my children’s answers defined Matt. Matt is confident in who he is, so his children’s perception of him does not move him. Matt wasn’t hurt or angry when he read that Charis thinks he’s as big as a refrigerator. He was not stunned to find that each of his children disagree on his favorite color.
But rather it’s Matt who defines our children. Matt is the one who wraps his arms around each of them and says, “I love you, no matter who you think I am.”
In this love, they feel complete.
So, just like my children, I may think God’s eyes are purple, or that he’s only 10 years old. I may not even know his name, but one thing I do know, God is love.
And Perfect Love casts out all fear.
16 thoughts on “When We Don’t Agree Who God Is”
This is beautiful. I feel like you just peered into my journal this past week during my Bible study time! I love how God can be our Abba…complete love for all of His children. And yes, my husband demonstrates this everyday too. Love the pics! Thanks for sharing!
Yay! I love hearing stories where people are learning the same thing about God at the same time.
I love your real sharing. You have a fresh perspective and a beautiful family. It’s wonderfully refreshing to read someone’s stories in the middle of the journey. Thank you for sharing your story and the healing process.
Bless you with GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I’m enjoying this journey more than I have ever before. It’s an amazing journey!
What an incredible blessing this was to me today! I feel like God had you write this just for me! I have been finding myself overwhelmed by what everyone about God and I have felt the same fear as you, wondering if I am on the wrong corner. Thank you for reminding me that God is infinite and cannot be defined by us! This brings so much peace to all my anxiety!
Yes! This makes me so happy to read. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who had that same fear, and now PEACE! That’s what he wants for all of us. Not fear. Hugs for you today.
I so understand where you are coming from. Having the walls of my safe, tidy God-box fall down was terrifying and freeing simultaneously. I LOVE love love the analogy you made to your husband not being defined by your children but the other way around. And of the ocean saying to the water “I understand you” this is the stuff you put in your pocket and hang onto for the rest of your life.
It is terrifying and freeing. It’s such a place of paradox, but in the end it’s worthy the journey. Thanks so much for coming by, Faith. I always enjoy your encouraging words.
Wow! Such an awesome post! I love the activity you did with the kids. Kids always find a way to teach us the most important lessons.
Thanks. They sure do. I’m beginning to realize what Jesus meant when he said we must be like little children. They are the ones who show us the truths in this life.
Ohhhh, friend. Tears were streaming down my face as I read this. I’ve been in this place, desperately trying to understand who He is. I have also grown up in the church, grew up having the perfect Sunday School answers for everything. A few years ago, my view of who he is was challenged. I began to feel the Holy Spirit ask my hard questions about my belief in Him. It was a life changing journey for me. I’m so thankful.
Wow. I love love how he works. He’s so beautiful how he draws us closer and closer to himself, always wrapping his arms around us. Hugs, friend.
I have been walking this same road . Thank you for sharing your heart.
Hugs on this journey together. xo
JAMES 1:5 is good a good verse to read and do especially when it is a big decision and when you have doubts about the church like you did
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