As We Understood Him (Or Didn't!)

I've been thinking a lot about AA's step two and step three the past few days decades. I've formally completed step two and I'm almost done reading and writing about step three but I still have this nagging sense that I'm not quite done with it all yet. Perhaps that is the way it's supposed to be. Since our definitions of a Higher Power is always evolving (for most of us anyway) and the process of turning over our will is an ongoing struggle, we never really finish with these steps. They, like admitting powerlessness, are an integral part of our daily program.

My relationship to God is somewhat traditional in that I believe in the God of Abraham and that Christ was God incarnate, but my search for relationship doesn't end there. To know God intimately means that the details change over time. The nature of God changes as I grow spiritually. We really do make God in our image; we can't help it! If my beliefs about God are rigid and unchanging then I believe in a rigid, unchanging God. If I believe (which I do) that God is a very personal and engaging force that reveals Himself to me in proportion to my seeking then I have a Higher Power that is like an old friend with new surprises. (For the record I don't believe that God has a gender but I use the personal pronoun He because It is just too impersonal for my liking.)

I try to recommit to the mystery of God every day because my desire to wrap Him up in a neat little bow is powerful. We humans want concrete, rational, unchanging, absolute answers. We don't easily tolerate ambiguity, abstractions, ineffabilities or paradox. I'm starting to learn that God is not a matter for the mind; God is after my heart and it is only through my heart that I can come to Him. Again and again I come to this conclusion yet I continue to get caught up in divine intellectualizations. I'm not as inclined to dismiss or suppress this God-thinking as I might have been in the not-so-distant past. I believe that God gave us the ability to think for a reason. But inevitably the final leap is one of faith -not reason.

The journey into relationship with God is one of surrendering as much of yourself as you can to as much of God as you understand. I don't think God expects us to know or understand. I'm sure God is aware just how simple and weak we are. Only He has the answers and we need to learn to be okay with that -to release, trust and surrender despite the questions. Faith does not exist apart from doubt!

Horace Bushnell once said, "Pray to the dim God, confessing the dimness for honesty's sake." I think that is all He asks of us. It's a good place to start at least. And, in all honesty, it's probably where most of us will finish! You know what else? I think God is okay with that.

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