Many gifts in “Lit”, Mary Karr’s new book. Here is one that helped me.
Karr describes talking to her spiritual director about her concept of God. Karr realizes that she has many times felt abandoned or punished by God. She says—and this is what hit home for me—“How is that possible; I have no childhood experience of a punishing God?”
I’ve said that same thing. I grew up in a very “God is Love” church, my parents disdained any hint of fire or fear where God was concerned, so I have for a long time been baffled by my own ideas about God.
But Karr’s spiritual director responds to her saying this: “We often strap onto God the mask of whoever hurt us as children. If you’ve been neglected, God seems cold; if you’ve been bullied, he’s a tyrant. If you’re filled with self-hatred, then God is a monster making inventor.”
Bingo! My fear of God wasn’t of any God I was taught about in Church or Sunday school, but I did dress up God in the garb of my unpredictable speed-addicted mother and my kindly, well-intentioned but un-protecting father. Even as they swore that God loved me, my God was dressed in their behaviors toward me.
Now the task is to undress my God. And maybe pick Him a new role model from my loving, caring recovery community.