Have you ever mocked Religion or the “Believers?” I have! I wasn’t raised atheist, and neither had an agnostic view, but I surely acted as if I were so. I had this thing against the Pentecostal, especially its women; I deemed them plain-Jane, stuck-up, and Bible-thumping, to the point of complete turnoff! I didn’t feel that way about the Catholics, the Baptist, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, or any of the other sectors of Believers. I found that most of them weary a classiness expressive of joy, calmness, confidence, and reservation. None of them, except for a particular believer, a Catholic, which I’ll reserve for a future blog, ever came at me with a message of doom & gloom and how God is going to punish me for not being religious. The Pentecostal ones did. In fact, they were the ones that mostly gave me reasons to be, ashamed of God. To me, they were judgmental, unbending, aloof, proud, and too unfashionable for my taste!
God, though, He has a sense of humor, and always finds ways to make it known!
In His own quiet way, the unseen Lord was drawing me to him. He was doing it, first, by subtly surrounding me with Believers from every branch of religion. Everywhere that I went, there they were, preaching The Word on street corners, or passing by me, in bunches, with Bible under arm, or, best yet, in the conversion of my Mom, that went from what used to be Catholicism, to now preaching God to me, like an evangelist! Then, of course, also by permitting my various Circumstances to close-in on me and require me to “need” God, was some of the ways that He was drawing me to Him!
Any time that I saw the expansion of that side of life, my mind always had something to say about it: “Ugh, there they go again: preaching; or acting all holy; or talking ‘God’ when I know things about them that would make even hell cringe!” And, in those instances, checking my own place in all of this, ashamed of God is what I would feel!
My mother began “preaching” to me, three days before she passed away. I remember, vividly, that already I’d been considering the Man on the Cross as weakling. The word “love” bothered me, in those days. In a peculiar kind of way, the idea of Jesus [a Man] on the cross and the word Love, attached to him, made him seem to me like he was a weakling, and I felt disgusted and disinterested by the entire God-thing. Not leaving out, that my mother, I felt, was the last person with any right to evangelize to me about God and Jesus; I thought her a hypocrite that day, as she said to me, “The only one with any power to save is, Jesus Christ. So, if you ever feel lost in this world, or have any serious problems, pray to Jesus. He is the Savior of the world.” Oh, I listened, as she spoke those words to me, but the whole time, I was hating what I assumed was the hypocrisy, I was seeing there. She had 61 years to know and revere God, and perhaps live by His precepts, and only now (when I was 27) she’s going to speak of Him in that fashion? The nerve, I thought, the audacity of her, to spend my lifetime harming me and others, and now proclaim God’s name? How dare she!
Little did I know that my Mom’s “exit” was coming up, that her days on earth, numbered, as are those of ours, were going to come to a close, in just 3 days! And that perhaps God’s way, or the human spirit’s way, is, to “prepare” the person and the path to Him, even if, or at least, by the 11th hour… I found it uncanny that this, turnaround of hers, happened when it did, because something about that religious conversion, so closely linked to her passing, made life [and God] and all of their mystery seem startling and yet fascinating to me. Today I am glad that my mother had spoke those words to me; it gives me that ray of hope that she “got her foot in heaven’s door” and “made it in!”
Today, nevertheless, and thanks to God’s sense of humor and that He won me, and wore down my resistance, I’m on the other side of the secular world. I’m now where the ridiculed Christians once were; I’m inside that realm, undergoing a strange experience. I now, longtime Representative of Jesus, admits to finding myself, however, feeling ridiculed, criticized, mocked, talked away from my firm beliefs, and ashamed of God. I have had to look into this, because something is very wrong with the picture! And, hence, I went on a quest to uncover whatever was or is at the basis of this hesitation, this reluctance, this odd fear, that if I speak of God, I’ll be turning people off to Him and making myself appear foolish, and be, disrespected!
That, right there, has had power to stop me, to stifle me, to shut me up, to keep me from expressing who I am and what beliefs I own. In a way, it has turned me into the likes of an enemy of God, a traitor, a hypocrite, by God’s definition, and I don’t like it! But, here’s the revealing question: Whose voice is louder and carries more weight; God’s or peoples’? Whom are you, Christina, allowing to rule you; you or your Ego? The EGO, …that’s the culprit here. That’s who has filled me with pride, hubris, and this sense of self-importance and carefulness not to defy it, that feels too uncomfortable, for my own skin!
My “ego” is a narcissist, loves to obstruct the real me from shining through, because it wants all the attention. Always in competition with God, my ego, by ruling me, has proven that it is ashamed of God. Because, no matter how “popular” God is, or how much Jesus knows that “I” love God dearly, something about God [to Ego] overpowers ego, outshines ego, downplays it, leaves a bad taste in [ego’s] mouth, and ego resists it, through me! Hence, turns up and works to play-me-out and take leadership over the quiet, little me.
You know who my ego reminds me of? Lucifer, that’s who! The book of Isaiah describes it this way: ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly In the remote parts of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Chapter 14: 13-14) Man, talk about pride and self-importance!
Stay awake, and pray that you will not be put to the test — the spirit indeed is eager, but human nature is weak. (Matt 26:41)
Wow, what a war, between the spirit and the flesh! But now I get it, now I realize my Ego; the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity; a conscious thinking participant, in my case, trying to make me ashamed of God! Hold on, I have to go and whip my ego’s ass right now, and that of the outside voices, it uses to trip me! Because, I am far from being, ashamed of God!