Original Post Date: May 30, 2014
On this past Monday, the SJPers attended what is known as the Father Heart of God Seminar, led by Reverend Dick Shroeder. The purpose of the messages was to come to terms with how our misconceptions about God influence the way we interact with Him. Dick brought up a good point: we do not interact with who God truly is, but rather the concepts that we have of Him. These concepts have been shaped by our experiences and relationships with others. Thus, we project our good and bad experiences onto God and interact with Him accordingly. Dick listed seven misconceptions that we typically have about God:
1) Cosmic killjoy/Grand party pooper
i.e. If it is fun, God is against it.
2) Santa Claus/the God of performance
i.e. God will bless me if I am good; if not, condemnation.
i.e. God is inaccessible and uncaring.
i.e. God is a fault finder and difficult to please.
5) Angry Judge
i.e. God is a stern and harsh judge; imagine Judge Judy for effect.
6) Control Freak
i.e. God wants to relentlessly control every aspect of my life without giving me any choice in the matter.
7) The Religious God
i.e. God does not look at the heart, but rather outward acts to determine the fruit of my relationship with Him.
Again, these are MISCONCEPTIONS.
The group was instructed to pick one or two misconceptions that we, as individuals, could relate to the most. God as the perfectionistic, religious God seemed too familiar to me. Although I know in my heart that God loves me unconditionally, I am guilty of acting as though His love can be earned through performing good works or simply being a good person. I have been aware of the existence of this mindset for as long as I can remember, but I was now put in a position where I had to confront it and decide whether I wanted to go through the motions of my relationship with God or allow Him to pull me out of proximity and into intimacy with Him. I chose intimacy. I surrendered my misconceptions about God, apologized to Him for holding Him to such a distant and unloving character, and welcomed Him to show me His true character; and He did. Upon following Dick’s instructions to close our eyes and imagine ourselves sitting at the Father’s table, the Lord blessed my imagination and opened my spiritual eyes to see the ways He wanted to talk to me. Sitting across the table from Him, we talked about my prayers together, laughed together, and sang together. I was interacting with God in His true form, a form untainted by my wavering perceptions of Him. A spirit of authenticity surrounded me, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was always meant to rest in the Father’s heart.
The truth is that we are all guilty of holding God to a character that is not His own. We create unrealistic expectations for ourselves and assume that He is the one who wants us to meet them. We relive our past hurts thinking that we are called to face them on our own. We unknowingly project the pain that we have felt from past relationships onto Him and interact with Him in a way that we would interact with the people who have hurt us; but God’s ways are not man’s ways. He does not set us up for failure by setting unrealistic expectations, He does not call us to walk through life in solitude, and He has never had any intention of hurting His children. He wants success, intimacy, and protection for His children. That is the Father’s heart; a heart that unconditionally loves without terms or conditions, a heart that we were created to interact with wholeheartedly without bounds. He beckons us to step into a pure, raw, and unfailing love rather than follow it at a distance. Thus, I will trade proximity for intimacy and lay my perception of God down for a greater revelation of His true character.
Christ as my anchor