Are You There, God? It’s Me…

Are you there, God?

It’s me, Ticcoa.

I’m barely confident you are…

For the first time in my life, I can clearly understand something that baffled my naïve, younger self: how Christians can leave the church and deny the faith of their youth. I am undeniably at a crossroads in my journey. I do not deny the existence of a higher power, yet I can’t reconcile the incongruencies of the tenets of my childhood faith with the realities of my adult experience.

Nothing makes sense anymore. Well, actually that’s not entirely true. The most sense I’ve been able to make of matters of the spiritual realm have been presented through the teachings of Bob Hamp. His perspectives of freedom and the correlation between the natural world and the supernatural world make more sense than anything I ever heard in the churches in which I grew up. Honestly, it’s probably what’s keeping me somewhat grounded in this messy phase of deconstruction—though it was Hamp’s books that piqued my curiosity and led to this process of deconstruction, reconstruction, and transformation.

Tearing down the walls of your belief system is not a neat and clean operation. No, it is painful and unsettling.

…but if you are still there, you’re going to have to let me know.

Everything I learned as a child and adolescent about the nature of God was framed in such a way that I internalized two fundamental beliefs from which almost every point of contention in my belief systems stems (if not every point of contention—I’m still examining this by way of flow charts and timelines because that’s the way my brain works):

1. You must check all the boxes of the denominational code to please God and be a “real Christian”    (i.e. church attendance, baptism, abstaining from all “sinful, fleshly desires” including but not limited to alcohol in any form, music other than traditional hymns or without a CCM endorsement, dancing, premarital sex, immodest dress [this applies to females only, apparently, as the most-cited offenses are low cut tops and short skirts] are just of few of the rules that may be communicated either covertly or overtly)

2. You are God’s child. He is your Father.
This one is great news for anyone who has a stable, secure, loving relationship with his/her father. I am not that girl. Never have been. For me, this tenet, though meant to comfort and encourage, tells me I am unlovable, unworthy, and unimportant. It tells me that I have to work harder to earn God’s love—or even gain his attention. Whereas other people know what it’s like to have their father’s eyes light up when they are present, I know what it’s like to be ignored and treated as an inconvenience for merely existing. Rather than crawling into my daddy’s lap, I walk on eggshells, tiptoeing past lest I draw attention to myself and make my presence known.

I have no idea what a good father is.

After picking up various translations of the bible over the past year or so and being so triggered by the fundamental evangelical biases my brain holds toward scriptures, I’ve concluded that, if God truly pursues me, he’s going to have to speak to me without me opening my bible.

Plant your truth in my heart so that it outgrows the institutionalized tenets of man-made religion. Make it simple, make it plain.  

12 thoughts on “Are You There, God? It’s Me…”

  1. Oh man…I feel you. It sounds like we had a similar upbringing. I’ve been deconstructing my faith for a few years now. Much love to you while you are on this journey.

    1. Wow girl, got the feels. Et tu?

      That started happening with me around the turn of the century (sounds so dramatic to say it that way). I have wanted to write on the subject many times, but trepidation holds me back. It’s hard to write about a journey you’re still on. Way to hang it out there with pure honesty and no biases. I believe in the search for truth based on a love for truth. Perhaps this will be a new type of revival like we have never experienced before. I would love to hear you speak on this matter in our club, too.

  2. Ticcoa, phew. That whole father thing…I hear you. That’s always been a tough part of descriptors of who God is to me, too. I choose to focus on the Father I always wanted, instead of the correlation to someone who hardly knows me. But I identify way more with other descriptors for God, honestly. Well written, friend. Keep sharing your journey, you never know who you’ll help.

  3. Like you, I believe in a higher power that is God. It is difficult for some of us mere mortals to understand the true meaning of life. Maybe it is not that each one of us is happy in our time here on earth. Maybe it is about the greater good and we are just one piece in the messy puzzle. It is hard to fathom why any child has to suffer for whatever reason. Or any parent of a sick child for that matter. We all grapple with this part of religion from time to time.

  4. Don’t know how long it was that opening a Bible always found a passage that made me feel like the scum of the earth. My reasons were similar to yours.

    God answered me in ways that scared me at first. He was so different from everything I’d been taught up until then. I’ve been wrestling with what churches teach me since then when it runs against what I experienced, because what I experienced was an acceptance that I never imagined before.

    Bob Hamp’s teaching has validated my experience and given me words that connect the sides of my brain to help me share my experience with others, so they can find validation too.

  5. Sweet Ticcoa,
    Keep seeking dear girl! Keep asking the questions! Keep deconstructing until you find Him. I’m 55 years old and I am just now doing the same, exact thing! And I’m finding Him…and He’s not who they said He was!
    PS – I “accidentally” stumbled upon Bob’s teaching on “Levels of Change” the other day. An hour and 47 minutes later I was soaring on the clouds of “Oh my gosh! This all makes so much sense!” God is changing my beliefs…first about who He is, but simultaneously about who I am in Him. I’ve never felt more beautiful, more cherished, or more sure that I do have a “Good, Good Father.” Never had one before, so this feeling is unbelievably new, freeing, and yes…a little scary sometimes. Keep seeking girlfriend. He’s there…and He loves you more than you ever understood. And I love you too! You are a precious treasure. Keep writing.

  6. I completely relate. This phase of deconstructing happened over the course of about a year and Bob Hamp’s material was very instrumental in widening my perspective. I have now come to understand that we can use (abuse) the Bible even so far as to justify things that God is specifically speaking to our hearts about, asking us to give up or set aside for His purposes. Learning how to hear God has been life-changing and so freeing. I trust the Bible AND I am learning to trust God’s voice (it’s a process). Peeling off the false lenses is probably the most difficult part, and letting go of the old beliefs that once felt secure and grounded is much more scary than living day to day that God can and will guide me. A quote from the movie Indivisible struck home: “Without doubt can there really be true faith?”

  7. Beautiful! I hear you. Thank you for your courage. I so relate to the father part–I don’t know what a good father is. It is so hard for me to believe that God actually cares about me and wants to spend time with me, as my father appears not to. This often holds me back even though I am embarrassed to admit it having been a Christian for a long time. I see posts all the time from Christians who miss their dads and how supportive their dads were and I weep. I just can’t see God being that for me without working really hard at it.

  8. “Tearing down the walls of your belief system is not a neat and clean operation. No, it is painful and unsettling.” This is such a true statement, but I am realizing that when God does this, it is to uncloud our thinking that has become so clouded with beliefs that are intwined with mans way of thinking, in order that we can see and know God once again. It’s almost like a reboot of our spirit. It is painful and it does hurt, but it gets the junk out and brings greater clarity, insight and discernment down the road. Nothing good ever comes easy, even a good spiritual cleansing of our system, but it is worth it, because the goal is more Christlikeness!

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