As I discussed at some length in a previous post, I see God not as a separate entity that created us and decides which of us go to heaven and hell, but rather as an eternal consciousness that permeates all things. The thing I have been wondering about for the last few days is whether or not it is OK to ask God for help in a formal, prayerful kind of way.
Last week I was telling a friend about how there are a couple areas in my life right now on which I could really use some guiding wisdom. "Why don't you pray about it?," she quickly responded. My first reaction to this idea was, "Ask God for something? For myself? Eeeeeekkkk! That's just not appropriate. That might even be downright irreverent. God is not a slot machine that exists to entertain and fulfill all my wishes!" I frequently thank God for the world around me and the people in it, both friend and foe, and I also wish that God will do nice those for all those folks, but asking God to do something for me somehow seemed selfish and therefore off limits.
My friend and I had a spirited talk about whether or not there were inappropriate topics for prayer. Her view, in a nutshell, is that it is OK to say anything to or ask anything from God, as long as one is sincere in what one says. I continued to bristle at that notion, but my reaction really got me to thinking about why that was the case, and about whether I might (gasp!) be misguided in my view.
I concluded that my qualms about what is or is not an appropriate topic for prayer had to do with two things --(1) the Judeo-Christian view of God with which I was raised but in which I no longer believe and (2) my view of myself.
On the first issue - the kind of divinity that I now envision is not the kind of presence that might judge me harshly or punish me for anything that I might think or say. However, the God that's described in the Bible might, in one of his wrathful moments, give me some demerits if my request rubbed him the wrong way. He might even send me to hell. This thought raised the following questions - If my view of God has evolved from the Biblical version of God and into something that is more like an all-loving, all-knowing, non-judgmental force, then why would I still envision the Biblical God as the receiver of my request? And why would I leap to the conclusion that asking such a God for help would be grounds for a harsh judgment in the first place?
The answer to these questions ties into the second issue - which is that, man, I must be feeling pretty insecure and unworthy these days if I'm afraid to level with God about where I am and what I need. Like I could hide that from an omniscient presence anyway. When cast in that light, I view my reticence to ask God for help, especially when I believe that I really need said help, as evidence that there's still part of me that is afraid to just be who I am in the world and that instead seeks to censor myself to say only "correct" and "pleasing" things so that I will receive approval rather than rejection.
Since thinking all the above thoughts, I've been doing two things. I've been repeating to myself that it is OK to be who I am in this moment and to express openly and honestly what I think and feel. It is. Really, it is! God, along with many mortals, sees me for who I really am anyway, no matter how much I try to finesse my words and actions in order to increase the likelihood of acceptance in the face of potential rejection. I've also been repeating to myself that the divine thankfully doesn't abide by my self-imposed rules about right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, worthy and unworthy. Regardless of what comes out of my mouth in the form of a prayerful request, God will carry on just fine, and so will I.
Today, with an open and honest heart, I am going to send up a request for the guidance that I feel I need, and I will do so without any reservations. While I'm at it, I'm going to say a special thank you for the friend who prompted me to think about this issue and see things differently.
A Fond Farewell - Hear ye, hear ye, the end is here. I mean, the end of the Gold Puppy blog. I've been thinking about it for awhile now, wondering what in the hell I'm do...
3 years ago