I’m going to tell you guys a secret. The weird thing is I often don’t even realize I have this secret. It’s so secret that it’s secret from me.
I make this mistake about God, about life. About the GOOD LIFE.
The first mistake is, I still think if I could only do what God wanted me to do, then I would have no problems and I would do everything right. That I would never be hassled by daily life. That I would always have this amazing customer service experience everywhere I go.
I think IF I WERE DOING LIFE RIGHT, then I would always be energetic, and have lots of extra money. I think all the people in my life would behave just AMAZINGLY and I would not feel the need to sort them out in my head.
I make this mistake and believe that if I was only doing it right, doing life right, then I wouldn’t need God. I think that anytime I need God, it’s because something has GONE WRONG.
In these times, I realize that my real, secret goal is to never need God again.
That’s the mistake I make. I think that if I’m living my life in a spiritually correct way, that I will never get tired again. I will never get demoralized. I will never find myself in need of encouragement or support.
I find myself thinking God is like the fire alarm under glass: Break glass in case of emergency. With this attitude, I wait too long before referring my problems to God.
I think that needing God indicates that I’ve made a mistake, rather than the system working EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD. But actually, God is a necessary part of my life. My life does not work right without God. That’s how life is set up.
God wants me to need him. And I do.
My God is a connected God. A together God.
RECENTLY, my schedule changed, and it’s messing with me. My son’s home from school and I am TRYING TO GET MY WORK DONE. God’s not going to do that for me, is he? (I ask, in a snarky voice.) No, he is not, thank you very much.
So, lately, instead of getting up and praying, journaling, reading my daily meditation books, writing a gratitude list (or an anti-gratitude list, as the case may be), I am TRYING TO WORK before my son gets up.
But because I haven’t put God first, instead of working, I just fidget around. I drift onto the internet. I look at my email. I check facebook. I text someone. I check a schedule online. I look at new printers on Amazon. I research: things.
Sure, I pray first. But I drop down to my knees with my to-do list on my mind and I say God help me be the person you want me to be today, with all the feeling and connection of a woman reading from a teleprompter.
I feel alone, with the weight of all my hopes and dreams on my shoulders. And who’s here? It’s just me and God. And really, God is here -- it’s me, it’s me who’s not.
In these moments, I feel like a fog is taking me over, like I am blending into the background, like I am paralyzed on the couch. The therapist tells me this is "dissociation," but that's just a fancy word for paralyzed fog. I can’t do anything. Restless but immobile.
At these times, it’s impossible for me to feel connected with God, because I don’t even feel connected to myself. If mind-body-spirit are one, then at these paralyzed fog times, I am a fragmented thing, too broken up to connect with God. In order to get connected at these times, I need to get myself back together. Be Here Now, as Ram Dass says.
So how do I reappear when I find myself disappearing?
I can call someone. I can go on a walk. I can try to chose a small activity, a tiny one, and do it. Right now, I say, I will: go pay the rent. Go to the mall by my house (the only one with an Ulta THANK YOU, GOD) and buy new lipstick, new mascara, concealer.
The difference is that when I am doing these things and I know that the goal is to connect with God through the ACTUAL REAL MOMENTS of my life, I can connect. Gradually, bit by bit, I come into focus again and I can feel God with me.
So I connect with my son. Play cards with him. Drink a cup of coffee. Walk to the car, park in the farthest spot at the mall and enjoy the sun for a few minutes.
And I can know that I haven’t made a mistake. The Buddhists said it: Life is suffering. I used to hate that. I thought it was just so DEPRESSING. But what they really meant is -- hard things are unavoidable.
When I am suffering in some way, it’s not because I have DONE SOMETHING WRONG. Things are working the way they’re supposed to. Yes, I could probably be making different choices, but no matter what choices I make, hard things are going to come along sometimes. This doesn’t mean I’m doing life wrong.
I am not doing life wrong when I need my Higher Power. My Higher Power is a together God. It wants to be with me. We are part of the same thing. I am mistaken when I think that the point is to only reach out to God when I need him, and that if I were doing life right, I wouldn’t need God at all.
I need God and God needs me.
I am ok with that. I can let go of the mistaken beliefs I have about God, and about life. I’m not doing it wrong. My God is a together God. We are part of one thing, and we need each other. I’m ok with that.