There was a time in which any question about what I believed merited a simple, obvious, and expected answer. After all, I grew up in the church, went to Christian summer camps and later, a Christian college, was a missionary (!!), married a pastor, led Bible studies for women, even went to Seminary and got my Master of Divinity degree. I had a definitive understanding of who God was – and wasn’t. Until I didn’t.
In the midst of all this, I divorced the pastor and left the church. I stopped teaching bible studies (though I do still tell its not-honored-enough-stories of women). And hardly definitive, I have an ever-shifting understanding/perception of the Divine. Which is exactly the way I like it!
Distance from past beliefs, even from religion itself, does not mean disconnection from belief.
I still need and want to believe. NOT because I’m ailing or unmoored without such. NOT because I need something or Someone to rely on. But because what I believe in, how I believe, belief in-and-of-itself is what compels and shapes my story, my life, my world.
What has changed, of course, is the what and who – subject and object.
Now, what and who I believe in is me.
In many ways, the world in which I was raised taught me just the opposite. I learned to place my full reliance in the God that dwelled outside of me (at best, in my heart). I learned that I couldn’t trust myself or my desires. I learned that my body/feelings/thoughts were unreliable. I learned that I needed to be forgiven in order to be worthy of God’s saving. Until I un-learned all of these things.
There is no need to choose between belief in the Divine and belief in self.
Here is what I believe today:
- I believe in the Divine that dwells within me.
- I believe in (and trust) my desires.
- I believe in the wisdom, knowledge, and intuition present in my body, my feelings, my thoughts.
- I believe I am worthy; I don’t need saving.
None of these are at the expense of belief in the Divine, in the Sacred, in every-and-all things spiritual. These beliefs, when in place and practiced, are the Divine, the Sacred, the most spiritual presence and expression possible. Said another way, this:
We see, know, and experience the Divine, the Sacred, every-and-all-things spiritual when we are truly and fully ourselves.
And that? You and me living truly, boldly, out loud, full of desire and fully ourselves? Well, that might be enough to start a revival…or at least encourage a couple conversions!
May it be so.