How many of my beliefs are coming from God’s teachings and how many from my own pathways and traditions? I wanted know, so I’m taking the next three weeks to explore that question, through an online course, called “For my Life” – a biblical program based on the teachings of Henry Wright in a book called “A More Excellent Way”.
I haven’t done much sharing from the heart in this blog before – most of the postings have come from the head and not from the heart. I’ve lived my life that way for so long, that I’m only just becoming conscious of a desire to change that.
Six short years ago, I described my heart as a huge brick wall – impenetrable. Four years ago, I referred to it as a stone, and was thrilled at the progress I’d made. Now I want to clean out all the debris from my heart; remove the dust and dross; clear out the veils, so that there’s room for God to reside in the only place He wants to live, which is in my heart.
So, with a heart open to new ideas and new ways of looking at my life and the world, I had to come face to face with my relationship to God.
My purpose as a Bahá’í is to know God and to worship Him, something I say everyday in the Short Obligatory Prayer. It’s become routine, and I frequently say it by rote, so I sometimes need to stop and remind myself of what it means. I often need to ask myself how well I’m living up to my purpose.
Frequently I get caught up in the minutia of living my life, trying to control every aspect in order to feel safe, which is a remnant of years of violence and abuse in the home. I forget that God has chosen me. God is carrying the weight of the world. I don’t have to!
I am reminded that God created me because he loves me. He made me in His image. He created me noble. He created me as a “mine rich in gems of inestimable value”. This is the truth. Everything else I believe about myself is a lie.
I’m feeling sad as I write this. My heart is breaking for the me that God created, who has been lost for such a long time. O God, help me to get her back. Take my grief and transmute it into certainty and a steadfastness so strong that nothing will ever break it again.
As I Bahá’í, I know I have to love God and love my neighbor, but the abuse I experienced as a child robbed me of my ability to love myself and distanced me from God, because I truly believed I was unlovable. If I truly loved God and my neighbors the way I “love” myself (with hatred, judgment, condemnation), none of us would benefit and it would pull us all down.
I thought it was my right to hate myself. When I started this journey of self-discovery, looking at what happened in my childhood, I truly believed it was my right to hate myself because I was a “worthless piece of s***”. Fortunately God sent me an angel in the form of David Sowerby, who asked me ever so gently: “Susan, are you arguing with God?” This helped turn me around. I’ve come a long way since then, and I have a long way still to go.
God wants me to know the truth so that it can set me free and transform the world. I always thought I was unloveable. I believed it to the core of my being. The abuse taught me that. The actions of my parents and friends and a cruel world taught me that. And I believed it. And it’s a lie. I don’t want to believe a lie any longer! I need to change my beliefs to match what the Bahá’í Writings say, not the other way round.
My God is the “All-Loving”; the “Ever-Forgiving”; the “All-Compassionate”, and not the fearful, wrathful, judgmental god of my parent’s teaching.
For most of my life, I’ve lived as though I truly believed I was unloveable, despite uncontroversial evidence to the contrary. I have lots of well-wishers; lots of people who want to be my friend, and yet, something’s always stopped me from being able to feel or receive their love. That has to change, as I recognize I’m defending a position that’s indefensible. The only truth that any of us can believe is what we’re told in the Bahá’í Writings. Just because I believe something, doesn’t make it true – it just makes me sick.
God wants me to accept myself:
Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 260).
If I substitute my name, I read this quote in a way that’s more personal: Susan, regard yourself as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause you to reveal your treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.
And He wants me to recognize that there is something valuable and valued in me. God created me because He loved me:
I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Arabic 3).
Susan, I knew My love for you; therefore I created you, have engraved on you Mine image and revealed to you My beauty.
And God wants me to see myself as a noble being:
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic 22).
Noble have I created thee, Susan, yet you have abased yourself. Rise then unto that for which you were created.
Wow again! He’s telling me what He wants me to do. Anything less will not benefit mankind! Please God, let that change our interactions! Please God, let me truly believe, in the “twinkling of an eye”, with ever fiber of my being, that I am loveable.
We could all try this for ourselves. We all need to read the Bahá’í Writings to find out what God has to say about us and agree with everything He tells us, even though it might go against everything we believe to be true about ourselves. Anything less is disagreeing with the Almighty; we become dis-eased and vulnerable to disease.
So it’s time for me pay attention to the idle fancies and vain imaginings arising from my lower nature and listen to God. It’s time to open my inner ears so I can examine my thoughts and beliefs, keep the ones that are in line with the Teachings and discard all the others that are veils between me and God. I’m up for the challenge. I’m looking for a new way of being. Are you? Post your comments here: