“Ruminating in the mud of God’s will, is it me or is it God? Do I have to suffer first? Is this desire mine or His? These last few months have been heartbreaking, breathtaking, grueling hours of the song, should I stay or should I go?“
Melissa Presser, Should I stay or should I go?
The ping-pong continues (reading Melissa’s post will make sense of that comment) …
I remember reading ages ago (quite likely a post on WordPress**) something along the lines of this:
“As I sat in the congregation I felt the strongest urge to stand up and (can’t remember). As though our Father was inviting me to stand up right now and say (can’t remember) in front of everyone. And I didn’t. I stayed seated. I said no to His invitation. And nobody knew. Other than me and Him (and now you the reader). And as I sat there beating myself up, apologizing, feeling rubbish, telling myself what a rubbish Christian I was … Someone a few pews back stood up and said aloud exactly the same words that I had been guided to stand up and to say a few seconds earlier.”
The point this post made was the reality of faith: “We are many – we are legion”. Yet how all too often our own reality is this: “I am God’s Plan A – God has no Plan B – it is me or nothing – God Needs Me – if I let Him down I let down the whole of creation – even time itself!”
This is the same me (and the same God) who lived decades without me glancing at Him (and Him walking alongside me waiting for just one glance from me). Oddly it seems that God … creation … even time itself … all managed very well thank you.
So now I am saved – why am I God’s “Plan A” without a Plan B anywhere is sight? Why is it that I (and we) put ourselves under so much pressure? Why do we believe ourselves indispensable?
Maybe because we are taught that God hates a quitter. Maybe because we are taught that God never gives up on us so we should never give up on Him. Maybe because we are taught to worship, to praise, to prostrate ourselves, to fear, to bloody well know our place … ! Hands together, eyes shut, and kneel or sit humbly – but never ever think of yourself as equal – never! God is God and YOU are NOT!
Our children take the p**s out of me and I love it! I love that they are comfortable not seeing me as a remote and distant “Father”. I love that they see my weaknesses and forgive me for them. I love that they would drive a million miles if I ever fell over and could not stand up. I love that we relax together. I love that we love each other. I would hate it to be any other way! I do hate it any other way.
So just why am I taught that I can’t do that with God? Why am I taught that I can never do that with God? Why am I taught God does not like me taking the p**s out of Him, does not want me relaxing too much with Him, does not want me seeing the illogical mysteries and forgiving Him anyway?
And more – why do we have this corporate fiction in church? An unspoken fiction that results in anyone believing they ARE God’s Plan A – with all the self-imposed pressure that heaps unnecessarily. Why do we do that to each other? Why do we seek perfection in each other when it comes to ”doing God’s bidding”? Isn’t that the very cause of inertia – the very cause of “faith (by sight)” – the very cause of fear of change – of fear itself?
And (maybe) that is now a fundamental part of the Christian tradition.
Yet ask anyone and they will deny it. For to acknowledge it makes the whole thing a charade (and all of us willing and knowing accomplices). And it is easier to continue the fiction than it is to change. Because the fiction is 99% comfort and 1% discomfort. And that 1% is easily healed as soon as we all get together and thank Him for the 99%.
Should I stay or should I go is a public test of my relationship with God and religion and church and my church community (not to mention my own family and loved ones). If not immediately – then at some point. For there is always someone judging “us” – even if that someone is usually “us”.
The God I love enjoys laughing at me, with me, and with each other. The God I know has many. The God I know invites me not as Plan A with no Plan B (ever). The God I know never takes my refusal as terminal for either of us. The God I know loves me. And if He can wait decades for me to glance His way … Is it not my “invention” that things change when I am saved – that I have now become His Plan A … ?
Should I stay or should I go should be fun – should be easy – should be loving. And the God I know says it is.
So just why am I taught to fear?
** If you recognise my mauling of your post, please do say so – that post made an impression on me. Thank you!