My divorce changed everything. I mean everything. After I asked for a divorce, I stopped going to church. I stopped for a couple of reasons, but the most important reason was I needed a safe place to heal. My ex-husband and I joined that church together and that church is very much attached to our marriage.
Also, some of the events in my marriage caused my concept of God to change. I no longer believe that God desires my love and adoration for others to be evidenced by performing for love, that it causes me to lose sight of myself, all while declaring that I am doing God’s work. In other words, I do not believe that working tirelessly for the church and sacrificing my self care in the name of church work, is the will of God. I don’t believe that working tirelessly for a marriage that does not honor me is the will of God either.
I am God’s work.
If it doesn’t honor me, no longer serves me, then it is not for me.
I believe that God is within me and that I cannot be separated from the love of God. But when I was working tirelessly trying to be what I thought was a good wife, that is exactly what I lost sight of. I felt disconnected. I thought I needed a liaison to go to Jesus on my behalf. Thought I needed the Pastor to speak blessings over my house. I can bless my house and cleanse the energy myself. I did not know how to tap in to God’s love. I did not know how to stop and take a minute to feel it. ALL of my energy went towards everything else but me.
I also realized that I used to perform for love. I have theories on when I developed this behavior, but nonetheless, I put it down. I do not have to prove my love for God or man. I do not have to prove the depths of my love. I tried to do this before, but never again. I will run from anyone or anything that wants me to prove my love in such a way.
Since the divorce, I’ve realized that taking care of myself is a way to honor God. Its a way to connect to God. Yoga, physical activity, meditation, and healthy eating are more than trendy self care activities; they are a means of worship. Those activities can help you connect to the divine within you. Meditation has taught me how to feel the love of God. When I feel the love of God, stress dissipates.
Which brings me to my next point — instead of focusing on a fear based approach, love should be the driving factor. Being scared into a religion or faith does not make for a healthy religious practice. So many do not really love God, but instead fear hell. I’m not sure where this fear based approached came from, but fear is definitely not a fruit of the spirit. But love is a fruit of the spirit and it’s the greatest one.
One of the biggest changes in my spiritual practice is I have changed my focus from being focused on sin to being love-centered. I am no longer focused on all the ways I am falling short. I am focusing on trying to love more. This is the another reason I no longer go to church. During alter call someone always says you want to be ready when your time comes, don’t wait too late; again using fear as motivation for salvation. Reminds me of the scene from the Mummy, when the man wearing a plethora of religious symbols prays to each one, one by one, until the the resurrected evil spirit responds. He was not committed to any particular religion, he just wanted to be saved in moment. How many people declare to be saved only to avoid a hell they’ve been told about? I would think that God would want us to follow him because we love Him so, not to avoid this place I fear. Reminds me of people who get married because they’re afraid to be alone.
Fear is no longer my god. I am trying my best not to react out of fear. When I look back over my life, it is crazy how much fear has been a motivation for so many of the choices I have made. Well, not anymore. I choose love.