Once, I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I was constantly trying to find something on the outside of me to fix the inside of me. Of course, I wasn’t consciously aware of that. All I knew was that alcohol made me feel better, at least for a minute. All I knew was that food, or shopping, or a new boyfriend, or a new job, or whatever, would make me feel better. Whatever the new thing was that would distract me from being uncomfortable in my own skin. In other words, anxiousness and anger or offense or betrayal or rejection or whatever the fruit of the day was, because that was my way of living.
Someone suggested strongly to me that I needed to get my spiritual life in order. I didn’t want much to do with God; in fact, I was pretty stinkin’ angry with God. So I said, “How am I supposed to do that?” They said, “Just write down 4 people that you’re offended with.” And I’m like, “I’m not offended with anyone.” “Four people that you need to forgive.” “I don’t have unforgiveness towards anyone!” I retorted. “Well, 4 people you’ve got resentment against.” “I don’t resent anyone!” I think she’s a total idiot.
But I was needing help, so it was suggested that I follow the suggestions! After all, I was paying a lot of money to be there, to get their help. If I really didn’t need anything, then why was I there? So I went to my room, sat down with a pen and paper, muttering under my breath, full of discontent, dissatisfaction, destruction… and I started writing. Well, I guess I’m mad at my mother for this… maybe I’m mad at my father for this… and as I sat there, I realized I was mad at God for a whole bunch of stuff, and I was also furious, disappointed, angry, and critical, full of self-hate and unforgiving of myself. And when I got to the end of the fourth one, I just broke. I cried and cried and cried. I didn’t know that much pain was in me. My heart had been so hard, and I had walls up. I wouldn’t let anybody in, and I had trapped myself inside with the pain. And forgiveness was one of the keys that broke the dam of pain down. And when I cried and asked God to forgive me and I chose to forgive my mom and my dad and myself, all of a sudden something came over me that I now know to be peace. It was extremely uncomfortable. I wasn’t used to that. I was addicted to high drama. I was addicted to self-hate. I was addicted to bitterness. I was addicted to anger. I was addicted to all kinds of things.
But once I got used to that peace and didn’t live the drama that was distracting me from the pain inside my heart, I started liking the peace, and as I learned to forgive other people and places and things, I began to become stable, emotionally. Well-balanced, you might say. At least, it was well-balanced for me! It may not be well-balanced for you, but I wasn’t suicidal, and I wasn’t homicidal, and that was healing for me! It was a new day, and all of a sudden, I had hope. I’d had nothing but hopelessness prior to that, and I started catching on that something outside me can’t fix what was broken inside me. I had a broken heart, and only God can heal that. Then I started learning spiritual principles. They’re like principles in this earth, like gravity. It doesn’t matter whether I believe it in or not. It doesn’t matter whether I think gravity is real or a lie. These rules have been set up, and it doesn’t matter if I think I can break them -- they can break me, if I jump off a roof!
And I used to see it as a punishment from God, when he used to tell me “Don’t do this and don’t do that,” because I thought he was a finger-pointing god! That’s what religion had told me, but that is not at all the character or the nature of God.
So when I went back to the counselor, she suggested either before this exercise or after this exercise that I write down who I believe God is, what he’s like. And I did. I believed he was angry and punishing and judging and condemning and harsh and critical and disappointed in me and I was never good enough… and I was so angry. And I went back and took it to her, and she said, “Are you sure this is the way God is, or is this the way you are?” Wow. It was the way I was. Then she sent me back to my room and said, “Why don’t you write down what you believe is the nature and character of a perfect God?”
And I did. I wrote down, “Loving. Compassionate. Kind. Gentle. Forgiving.” And that’s who I serve now. That’s exactly his nature. And I tell you, if I had finger-pointed at me the way I did at him, I would have smashed me like a bug! But in his kindness and his gentleness and his mercy and his understanding and his brilliance, he wants the best for me. But I didn’t believe that, because I was operating out of a distorted view and a distorted image of myself, and it came from a distorted image of who he is, a good father, not through a distorted image of religion and disappointment in people.
God is good. Today I know that. Anything else is a lie. All the dos and