Those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Walking with God (whatever that means for you); what a concept. One of my top five movies of all time is Chariot’s of Fire. If you have never seen this great and inspiring story of faith and passion, see it and feel the power of this amazing journey of two men; one who walks with God and the other conquering his demons.
Do we learn to walk with God in the same way that we learned to walk as babies? The way our children learned to walk? By trial and error, standing across the room from our Parents and taking wobbly footsteps towards them as they call to us from the distance “Come to Mommy/Daddy,” and falling down repeatedly as we try to get it right?
If God is able to keep us from falling, then does God want and expect all this falling down and hurting ourselves to be part of our “growth” experience? After all, God does want us to become as little children.
As I began to think of these things, my God relationship impressed me with the understanding that there are some major differences between being a child in the natural world today and being a child spiritually. Those of you who are parents, let me ask you, what are your goals for your children–your natural goals? You want them to learn to take care of themselves; to stand on their own two feet, right? After all, you won’t be there for them forever. They need to learn to take care of themselves. So from babyhood to adulthood we are continually learning how to take care of ourselves.
In contrast, God’s goals for us are very different. God is our eternal parent; God is always available to us. Instead of wanting us to become increasingly independent, God wants us to learn to be increasingly close to God. God wants us to walk with God, our hand in God’s. God doesn’t want us taking off on our own two feet.
I believe that as human beings this is one of our hardest lessons. Have you ever taken a walk with a two year old? Maybe next to a busy street where the traffic makes it necessary to hold his hand? You point out to him the pretty gardens you are walking past; the beautiful flowers, the scampering squirrel, the pretty song bird; but he’s not interested. You see, he’s too busy trying to pry free from your hold. He can’t stand holding your hand. He’s a big boy now. He wants to walk free–on his own.
Instead of clinging to God’s hand, we have this tendency to take off on our own wobbly two feet. This is one of the myriad consequences of our addiction, unhappiness, sadness, trauma or anger. There are so many charming things that take our attention from God. Sometimes we don’t like the restrictions that holding God’s hand puts on our life. Sometimes some of those religious principles we hated as children cramp our style. If you don’t like them, remove them. This is your journey and your relationship with God, not your parents’, Priest’s, Rabbi’s, etc.
As a Rabbi, Sober Coach and Spiritual Counselor, I urge congregants and clients alike to search within themselves to find the God their own understanding, not mine. When they ask me what they should believe, I tell them I do not know. What I do know is they “should not” believe anything. There are no should when it comes to your relationship with God. There are only cans and wills.
Sometimes we let the cares of this world pull us away from God, and instead of holding tighter to God’s hand, we let go. And inevitably we fall down and hurt ourselves and then we sink into discouragement and we look to God and we say “Dear God, what’s this all about? How could You let this happen to me?” And God looks at us sadly and says “Child, you let go of My hand. You took off on your own. I am able to keep you from falling. Keep your hand in Mine.”
I’m not saying sell your house and your bed and sleep in the park. But I am saying that many times the multiplicity of things in our lives get in the way of our walk with God. They take time and energy that we can’t afford to spend on them. By keeping life simple, we will be able to better focus on spiritual things.
How much time do we spend building our spiritual connection to a God of our understanding? I would like to suggest the following:
1. Dedicate an amount and time of day for you to commune with your God.
2. Choose one day a week where you will spend more time in intimate discussion with your God.
3. Journal your conversations, questions, doubts and cynicism. This is your journey; don’t you deserve to keep a record of it that you can use to measure your growth? The answer is yes.
4. Rid yourself of your prior conceptions of God that have not drawn you closer and build new pathways to find the spiritual peace you are seeking.
5. Know that you are always loved by God however you define God and that whatever path you to take to draw you closer is the right one.
6. Respect others paths and affirm your own. Do not judge or criticize.
7. Hold out your hand and know that God is right there with you.
8. Feel your discomfort on your way to comfort.
My prayer for you today is that you embrace God in your own special way and experience the joy of knowing that you are never alone and are always loved.
I am a modern and independent South Florida Sober Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 23+ years of sobriety providing Sober Coaching and Addiction/Spiritual Counseling focusing on energizing, affirming, motivating, healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events.
If you, a family member or friend are suffering, call me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve. I can help you!
Hugs and blessings for a joyous day!