Have you ever tried describing a relationship between yourself and someone to a third person? We use words and body movements to convey a picture, but we all know deep down, we can’t really do it justice. A relationship…any relationship, whether marital, friendship, acquaintance, or even adversarial… is completely unique between two people. And no matter how many generations of people have come and gone, this stands true. It always will remain true.
One of the really hard parts of Chef cheating on me was how instantly I felt replaced in that relationship. Through the filter of my broken heart, I illogically assumed that his new relationship with Tanya somehow was just an improved version of his and mine. It took some time for my perception of all that had happened to change ever so slightly to a different angle and reveal the reality I found myself in. It is patently impossible for anyone to be replaced in any relationship. I imagine we all do this to some degree. Abused children grow up and re-enact broken bonds with parents, looking to find a better outcome. Most of us have walked away from someone only to try to find that same person again, only with another person. Midlife crises are a good example of people wanting to start over, have the same parts of the last relationship they liked without all the parts they disliked. Spouses may betray spouses with other people, but the textures, smells, tastes, and overall aura of the relationship can never be duplicated. Some people may find that their new relationship is more satisfying for them, and others may find it disappointing, but they will never have been able to replicate what they walked away from ever again. We each bring our own flavor to a relationship that combined with someone else’s, makes ours completely different.
For a writer, you’d think I would have had a more finely tuned ability to describe something like this with clarity. And yet, every time I have tried to explain what my relationship with the Lord felt like, I could never quite find the right words. How do you explain both being fearful and yet trusting? Loved, but allowed to suffer? The truth is, if you can’t even give a detailed enough description of how you felt loving your husband, or how hard it was to lose all the good things you once felt in that union, how much more impossible is it to describe a relationship with Jesus?
I used to talk to Simon about God almost every time we hung out together. I can’t help it sometimes. I really do love the Lord. Often though, as hard as I was trying to convey how serving Him fulfilled something in me, or how distressingly crappy a Christian I seem to ever be, I simply felt like the picture I was creating for him wasn’t quite right.
Except, that is okay because you don’t want anyone going to God for a relationship based on expecting it to look or feel like yours. My relationship with the Lord, as it is with all the relationships in my life, changes, grows, and sometimes, it becomes more or less focused.
Today, I read a book called “The Shack” by William P. Young. I think the author painted as close to a true portrait of God, His nature, His trinity, His motivations, and His level of participation in each of His followers lives as I’ve ever seen.
I have a different perception of God than a lot of people who attend church religiously, and that is never so clear as when I clash with religious people. I get irritated with dried up doctrines or congregational clichés. I get angry when movements get started in the church that claim we can demand the God give us whatever we want if we just give enough and try to summon up the correct amount of faith to believe it will happen. It infuriates me when supposedly mature Christians know nothing about God other than what they’ve been told, when we have so many bibles in this country, and are free to read them without fear of reprisal. And in all of my judgements, I lost something.
Without even noticing it, I had long ago slapped the phrase “God is Love” into some storage bin in my mind, along with calling fellow Christians “sister” or “brother”, and the generic salvation prayer everyone thinks miraculously saves you forever, and carried it up to the attic. Because the “church” was always professing it with their mouths, while their actions said otherwise, I started to instantly reject it as being important.. Except, it really is true, and it is the single most important thing about God…. Nothing that God does, or allows to be done, changes the fact that He Is Love.
I felt like I was reading about a person I know intimately, and some of the harder to explain mysteries about God that I have only had vague understandings about really became more focused. There were parts that were over my head, but it is clear, the Holy Spirit was dictating this book to one of His writers.
Now, I also want to caution anyone reading this book to remember, it is a fictional story and not the Bible. Don’t go all L. Ron Hubbard on me, okay? This shouldn’t be the cornerstone for a new religion.
There was a conversation that vaguely seemed to imply that God has true believers in other religions like Buddhism or something along that line. I do not believe that all religions lead to God, and the author does say in another place that there is only one way to salvation…Jesus. But considering almost the entire book was conversations between the father of a murdered six-year-old daughter and The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost, it is surprisingly on point with how I perceive God to be.
I can’t wait to give it to Simon. Hopefully, it will help him understand how I see God in my life a little clearer. I’m pretty sure he might secretly think I’m one egg shy of a baked cake. 🙂