As we move through our journey of spiritual growth, toward awakening and enlightenment, our answer to the question, “Where does God live” expands and becomes very personal. How do you answer the question, “Where does God live?”
To think as a child
When we were children, our understanding of God is, for the most part, determined by our outside sources of perceived authority – our parents, teachers, religious authorities. We do what we are told and believe what they tell us. At this stage in our journey, God frequently feels very far off, unapproachable, perhaps even cold and aloof. God is often portrayed (for those coming from a Christian background anyway) as a kind of father or as “the old man in the sky.” For me, God was the old man in the sky who lived on a cloud somewhere in heaven which was unseen, but somewhere “up there.” I have a sense that this is the case for many children growing up in a Christian home.
Those searching years
At sometime in our journey, however, the beliefs that were given to us by our parents, teachers, etc. has to be put to the test – questioned, explored, challenged. If we are ever to grow up spiritually, to become mature in our spiritual beliefs and practice, we need to be like a rebellious teenager and try on other beliefs, ask the difficult questions, sometimes throw it all away in search of something that resonates with ME! This is a very healthy and necessary stage in our development into healthy, well-adjusted adults. While our friends, parents, siblings, teachers and pastors might not appreciate this stage too much, the best thing they can do is allow this stage…in fact, it would be even better if they were to support this stage…give us the tools to search, help us explore the answers to our questions, teach us the skill of authentic discernment.
What happens when we grow spiritually?
It is only in asking the questions, exploring and discerning that we can come into a faith that we can call our own. It is only in entering fully into the searching stage that we can develop a healthy, intimate relationship with the Divine through which the Divine can reveal itself to us in a very personal and intimate way. In this exploration, we aren’t coming to know God through someone else’s experience or belief, but through our own personal experience. In this way, God reveals God’s self to us in exactly the way we resonate with this universal truth. And the ways in which God reveals God’s self to us is INFINITE. No longer is God simply the old man in the sky….God becomes all that we need God to be for us. God might reveal God’s self to us as: friend, companion, guide, counselor, healing, parent, muse, teacher, lover, guardian, protector. God might also reveal God’s self to us as creation (as a noun) or creation (as an action). As we enter into this searching phase, what we discover is that God is limitless and may be experienced in limitless ways including: transcendent (seemingly outside of us) immanent (living within creation) and as creative action itself. As we grow, we realize God is all things and in all things and as our experiences of God expands, they also become more intimate, more personal, more closely held. In the end, we come to understand the words God addressed to the psalmist:
“My home is within you.”
And isn’t that a nice place for God to be?
How have your images and experiences of God grown and expanded?
How to you experience God as living within you?
Authentic Freedom Ministries