A Spiritual Hamster Wheel


I had this thought in reading and responding to a friends tweet this morning:  (https://twitter.com/shawnbrace/status/994189665002541056?s=21)

I’m finding troubling things in my own approach to life/relationships and wondering if for too long I was driven by a deeper “If X then Y” understanding of God that nurtured conditional acceptance and control issues in my behavior that I’m just now starting to understand.‬

I’m not seeing my immediate reactions as being overly harmful or damaging but if I look at the overall trajectory or cumulative effect of my interactions it's a little disturbing, to say the least. 

I seem to subtly break people down through light teasing or sarcasm and then hold them in limbo through a critical spirit or conditional acceptance. This to me seems rather messed up if that's what I’m actually doing.

Now, if I look at the Biblical message and how I understood, embraced or reacted to it all these years: 

  1. Your amazingly special...buuuuuut...not good enough.
  2. IF you can just X THEN Y

Throughout my life, I have viewed my relationship or lack of relationship with God as a problem on my part. Some sin I was harboring in my heart, some part of my life I had not given over to God, some last little bit of some closet I was still hiding that I didn’t want to give up. (I cant tell you how many times I heard that one in a sermon or camp-meeting tent)

I believe this understanding and approach was very effective in keeping me in a “spiritual hamster wheel”...if I could just stay consistent, if I could just jump through the hoops, if I could just clean out that last bit of that last closet...THEN... I too would be able to feel the presence of God and find peace.

Well...that approach is bullshit, that thought process is bullshit, the way I was treating others was bullshit.

To be clear, I’m not saying the Bible or the gospels or Seventh-Day-Adventism taught, recommend or embraced that approach. I’m only saying that I was internalizing it, processing it and responding to it in that way and it had the result of...bullshit...and this is all very new to me, so this is a thought in the process.

It's hard to admit you’ve hurt others or that you have chosen to operate in a dysfunctional manner...but once you do admit it you can spot it more easily in your behavior and begin to change it...so there is some hope.

Now that I’m working on trying to not take peace from others and help give them peace, acceptance and build them up...hopefully, peace and acceptance will come to me.