Cursing is not perfect. I get that. Sometimes I wish I didn’t curse. But retaining my right to curse has helped me build a strong relationship with God.
It’s easy to think that I’ve got to “clean it up” for God, that I’ve got to be the BEST POSSIBLE ME before I show up with God. This idea is based on a notion of God as a mean, distant grandparent – a grumpy old God who doesn’t like children and complains about my ripped jeans, my dirty old sneakers, my messy hair. That’s not the God I need.
It’s easy to get the idea that we need to be on our best behavior before God. We get it when we dress up for church, or when we are told, as I’ve heard, that it’s not “Christian” to curse. Well, whatever. My God can hear anything. My God has SEEN IT ALL and is not surprised. My God loves me NO MATTER WHAT and I prove this to myself by showing up EXACTLY AS I AM, imperfections intact.
God doesn’t want the BEST of me, God wants ALL of me.
Yes, sometimes it bothers other people that I curse, mostly not people I know too well, but still. I don’t want to bother people. And sometimes it bothers me that I curse.
But I can try to change this and work on it when I want to and leave it when I don’t. Part of the reason I don’t work on it too hard is that I want other people to know that they don’t have to work too hard, either. That they don’t have to be perfect before me. That they don’t have to put on their best face before talking to me.
When I’m struggling with something, it’s often because I’m leaving God out of it. I’m thinking, God? What does God have to do with these ten pounds I want to lose? What does God care about my issue with the PTA, or the problem with my neighbors not taking out the garbage bins? What does God care about my desire to go on a vacation? Shouldn’t I really get my attitude together before I ask God to help me with my coworker? Shouldn’t I just stop complaining about my job and be grateful that I even have one?
But it doesn’t work like that. I can’t show up before God the way I show up at work -- professional and hardworking, only complaining after hours, putting on my game face and trying, trying, trying. I can’t show up like I do at the family reunion – all smiles and chit chat and appropriate news, or at a networking event – heels, lipstick, earrings. God is not the general public.
I’m not here to impress God. I’m here to ask for help. To say thank you. I’m here to engage in the deepest, most intimate relationship of my life, and the quality of this relationship depends on me showing up exactly as I am, with exactly what I’ve got. My attitude change happens in God’s presence. Not before I show up.
So, I’ve got to show up before God with exactly what IS, the honest truth, even if what’s honest isn’t what’s right, or what’s pretty, or the best possible version of myself. Even if if the honest truth isn’t what I wish it was. Even if I’M NOT what I wish I was.
So sometimes, when I show up before God, I’m not in gratitude. I’m not in forgiveness. Sometimes I’m petty and I’m jealous and I’m whining before God. I’m not “looking on the sunny side.” I feel mistreated and I complain. Or I’m totally screwing something up and I know I am doing the wrong thing and yet and yet and yet I’m still doing it. It’s not perfect, and I’m not perfect. Not even close.
Cursing is related to complaints. Both are frowned on. You know the idea – if we don’t have something nice to say, then we shouldn’t say anything at all.
But also, complaints can keep us honest, and cursing, at times, is honest, too.
It’s important that I know how I actually feel about things. My feelings are part of the GPS system that tells me if I’m moving toward or away from what I want.
If I polish up my feelings too much, put TOO good a face on everything, I lose track of how I actually feel and I get lost. This is part of the wisdom of Melody Beattie’s anti-gratitude list. The anti-gratitude list ensures that I track my life with honesty (especially if I add on a list of just regular, straight up gratitude items), and still leaves room for the miracle of a changed attitude.
It’s ok for me to like what I like, to like who I like, and to not like some things, too. I wasn’t put on this earth to simply be a cheerleader. I can go where I want to go. I have a lot of choices. God-given choices. And my God wants me to show up, just as I am, before him.
That’s how it actually works. That’s how I get the help I need. This relationship just doesn’t work if I don’t tell the truth, the whole truth, with my whole me, the best parts and the worst.
I’m all in in the my relationship with God.
The question today is how can we show up before God in a more honest way?
What are you keeping to yourself (and from, God) – matters that you are sure are “too small” for God? Where are the issues that you think if I would just BE BETTER, I’d be able to fix this myself, with no help from a Higher Power? And then you act like that’s the truth – that you are this ideal version of yourself, and you base your expectations and your plans on that, rather than the flawed, reality of who you are?
These are the things God wants to hear about. God is ready and waiting. And he doesn’t care about our cursing. God can help us anyway. Imperfections, and all.