I was reviewing some material from the book Soul Repair: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life by Jeff VanVonderen and Dale & Juanita Ryan today. In looking at the foundation of our faith they speak to the fact that we need to take a hard look at our view of God. The image and perception of God that we hold shapes our entire spiritual life. Here are some examples they describe in the book as distorted images of God. Can you think of others that you might hold?
- The Abusive god – tyrant, quick to anger, slow to forgive, wrathful, unapproachable, violent, cruel
- The Abandoning god – left us or is threatening to, without love and grace
- The Emotionally Distant god – does not care about our emotional needs, emotionally aloof, unable to give comfort
- The Passive god – cannot help us, uncaring, impotent, lacking power, unreliable, no practical help
- The god of Impossible Expectations – never please with us, expects performance, demands perfection
If thinking about these distorted images makes you a little uncomfortable then pay attention to your emotions. They may reveal some truths that are deep and underlying. Taking a deep look at your beliefs can lead to anxiety and discomfort, but usually that is due to the fact that you are recognizing something is wrong, that something needs to change. If you recognize you hold a distorted image of God in some way the next step is to look at how you can replace that image with the correct one. You can’t just throw out your distorted one and be left with nothing, you need to replace it with the truth of who God is and what his character is really like. You may wonder if there is any hope, that if you tear apart your spiritual beliefs that it will lie in ruins and will never be rebuilt. That concern is very understandable but it is only through examining the real foundations and being willing to look hard and be honest that you will start the hard work of recovery.
I am hoping and praying for your courage to take a step toward a recovered and truthful view of God. I have taken this journey myself and it was hard but the fruit that I now see as I have reached a healthier perspective is well worth all the struggle.