Before I could address any issues I’d gained just by living in a country that is hostile against black people. Before I could address the defense mechanisms I built to survive as a female in a race that is hostile towards females. Before I could grow to appreciate my nappy hair, heavy body and dark skin in a world where beauty is defined as: long straight hair, anorexic thin bodies and white skin, I had to unearth all the lies I’d been told about God. I had to see how much of all of the above was rooted in my faith. Then I had to stop believing in a God that saw me as less because I am female.
Now I know, I don’t mean become atheist. For a while I did identify as atheist. God and I were atheist, I like to tell people. I am grateful God doesn’t allow what you think about who or what God is to change its spiritual connection to us. I am grateful God is so infinite, God isn’t challenged or undermined by rumors spread and printed by man. I am grateful God is patient and understanding while we figure out God is God and not who we’ve been told God is. That in itself is a miracle, grace, mercy and a lesson.
The truth is, I never actually didn’t believe in God, I can feel God. I exist in our connection. I just couldn’t accept or believe the murderous, racist, patriarchal, war mongering imperialism and slave supporting Bible was God’s word. It was horrifying to read about Lot offering his virgin daughters to all the men of Sodom. It was heart breaking to read the rules for selling daughters or beating slaves. Identifying as atheist felt right. Especially since I also hadn’t separated who God actually is from how I’d been taught to view or understand God.
It took awhile to acknowledge and see God without prejudices or perceptions I’d learned over a lifetime. Which meant unlearning. Which meant accepting actual truths. Like that Buddhist believe Buddha was also born of a virgin, walked on water and changed water to wine. More importantly, Buddha existed a thousand years before Jesus. On top of that, there were a lot of deities who shared similar traits and did miracles. All of the books most religions are based on now in writing were folk tales spread through word of mouth. Folks borrowed great feats from other gods, and said “Yeah, mine did that too.” Also, the text we are now relying on was written by men with all of their prejudices, fears and assumptions. Most of the rules are now arbitrary, because they were rooted in the time period and challenges people faced hundreds of years ago.
Accepting several truths and remaining open to learning and accepting wisdom wherever I find it, allows me to read the Bible without hostility and to see its beauty. The Bible like most collections of folk tales teach universal and timeless lessons. When put in its proper perspective it’s easy to marvel at how long the Bible has existed and how many generations have passed it down, without being angry or feeling the need to figure out which interpretation or translation is most valid. I am also free not to apply it literally.
Living a spiritual life does not mean, for me, God fearing. Living a spiritual life for me means not seeing myself as flawed, broken or needing salvation. Living a spiritual life means trusting God and feeling myself a divine representation of the creator; beautiful and perfect in all of my uniqueness. Imperfection is our divinity. There are no set rules for all of us to follow, we all have different purposes.
God is love. God wants the best for us. God leads us to our greatest good. God is not sitting somewhere waiting to punish us. In fact, when we follow God we are spared and rewarded or moved further down our path. Which feels rewarding, because we are spiritually fulfilled and soothed when we live in our life purpose.
Living a spiritual life means acknowledging and accepting that God is working through me to achieve my life’s purpose. It means knowing God trusts me to achieve this goal. It means knowing that because God is infinite, called by many names and is many different things to many different spirits who all have purposes there is no perfect. There is no one way. God can be all the Gods we know of. There are no real mistakes only lessons. Everything is about what is conducive to achieving our life goal. If praying works, pray. If meditation works, meditate. If Yoga works, stretch. LOL! A large part of getting there is following the spirit that tells us which way to go, we all hear it but we do not all heed it.
Religion teaches us not to trust ourselves. Religion teaches us to go outside of ourselves for approval and guidance. God calls us into ourselves. God speaks to each of us but we are challenged to listen because we want to read what dead men are saying. Religion is a huge hindrance to being who we are called and led to be.
My biggest struggle is being spiritually responsible, accountable and most important active… not reactive. My struggle is not to respond but to create. Not to challenge but to be a challenge. I am a catalyst for change. I am usually inspired or compelled to take steps before others are even aware it’s time to move. I am always fighting my calling. For that I am praying for courage as I move inspite of fear.
Love Love Love