March 09: Four Words
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One of the things that I’m amazed at in our culture today, and I suppose it’s always been there to some extent, is the things that God gets blamed for.
People will say to me, “Well, I don’t go to church anymore because my brother died.” Or, “I don’t go to church anymore because I saw this situation in Haiti and I thought, “How could a god ever let that happen?” Or, “I don’t go to church anymore,” or, “I don’t believe in God anymore because of this, or that, or the other thing.”
It’s astounding the things that God gets blamed for.
And every time I hear about these things, what I realize is that the god that these people believe in, or don’t believe in, is vastly different from the God that I have experienced and the God that I believe in.
And so, I think it is really, really important at times to step back and take another look at our image of God. How do we see God? What is God really like? What are the qualities of God that loom largest in your heart, in your mind, in your life? Because the way we see God has an enormous influence on our spirituality. It has an enormous influence on the way we relate with other people. And it has an enormous influence on our lives.
How do you see God?
One of the things I’d really encourage you to do today is sit down and just write down a list of God’s qualities. What are the qualities of God that affect your image of God the most? How do you see God? How do you experience God? How have you experienced God at different times in your life? How have you seen God at different times in your life?
I think it’s a good exercise to sit down and say, “OK, what was my image of God when I was five years old? What was my image of God when I was fifteen years old? What was my image of God at different times in my life? How has my image of God evolved or not?” Because sometimes it doesn’t. And if we really take this exercise seriously, we will realize that.
For better or for worse, sometimes we are hanging on to an image of God that we developed as a child, or as a teenager, and that image of God is misaligned with reality.
So I do think it’s very, very powerful—very, very valuable—for us to step back from time to time and reassess our image of God. Reassess: How do we see God? How do we experience God?
The reason, or one of the reasons, is because the whole idea of Christian spirituality surrounds four words: Thy will be done.
Thy will be done.
If you think God’s a tyrant, you’re certainly not going to carry out his work here on earth.
If you think God’s a dictator, you’re certainly not going to further his will by doing his will in your own place, in your own time.
In order for us really to live out our Christianity, in order for us to be able to surrender to that idea of “Thy will be done,” and surrender in a really active way, not, “Oh, OK I give up,” but, “Oh, OK I get it. I’ll surrender to that, and I will proactively, with all my effort and energy and intention, go out and try and bring about this will.” In order for that, we have to have a really strong and positive image of God. And that really strong and positive image of God, even if you had it, even if you have it, is constantly being challenged by many voices and influences in this world.
Thy will be done.
Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness
These are the four words that embody the Christian challenge: Thy will be done.
Take a few minutes to reflect on your image of God. Write down the qualities that make up the way you see God. Try to trace each quality back to its roots in your life.
Heavenly Father, I want to find peace that cannot be shaken. You have shown me the path. Help me to live it. Help me to surrender to these four words: Thy will be done.
Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Renessa Foronda. Renessa is our talent acquisition coordinator, coming to us from Chicago, Illinois. Renessa gets excited about celebrating people on their birthdays, and she really enjoys exploring the different Cincinnati neighborhoods.
How do you see God?
Let us know in the comments!