If I were to tell you all about my Dad, would you know him?
If my 8 siblings were to tell you all about him, would you then know him?
What if you read a book about him, would you know him then?
The truth is that you wouldn’t truly know him through these indirect, second- or third-hand encounters. You might have an idea, you might have some clues, or some starting points, but you really wouldn’t know him.
Some of these tidbits of information might be accurate. Some of them would be completely inaccurate, depending on which sibling you got the information from, or what your own interpretation of the book about him is.
The only way you’d know him is if you were to meet him, spend some time with him, talk to him and listen to his stories yourself. Then you’d start to get to know him. Through direct relationship.
Indirect, second-hand information can be damaging. It could cause you to see my Dad in a glorified way, as if he were on some pedestal. Or it could cause you to see him in a rotten way, as if he was a terrible person. It could cause you to have preconceived notions about him, so that you never really get to know him; you only ever confirm what you heard about him. It could even cloud your perceptions such that you never even want to get to know him.
But the only way to really know him is to enter into your very own relationship with him.
Why would you want to get to know my Dad? Well maybe you do and maybe you don’t. But that’s not my point. Here is what I’m really getting at.
Life is made up of relationships. Relationships with your loved ones, your family and friends. Relationship with work, money, and finances. Relationship with your life, challenges, and setbacks. Relationship with your strengths and weaknesses.
But the most important relationship is not the one with your spouse.
It’s not even your relationship with yourself.
The most important relationship is your relationship with God.
How you relate to God impacts how you see everything. It impacts your relationship with yourself, your friends and loved ones. It impacts your work and your play. It impacts how you relate to money, challenges, and your life.
I have met so many people wounded, stressed, weighed down, angry, vengeful, controlling, victimized, worthless, judgemental, uninspired, hopeless, distrustful, cold, selfish, self-righteous, fake, disturbed, and hurt, all based on indirect, second- and third-hand, inaccurate information about God.
Your relationship with God impacts everything.
If you see God as a tyrant, then how will life look?
If you see God as a divine Santa Claus, then what does your life look like?
If you see God as a fair-weather friend, what does that mean for your life?
If you see God as the judge, jury, and executioner, how might that influence your life?
Think about how you relate to any people, things, or situations in your life and I can guarantee that it is influenced by how you see God.
But how do you know God?
Have others told you about God?
Have you read a book about God?
Have others’ opinions coloured your perceptions of God, good, bad, or otherwise?
Do you think you know everything there is to know about God, based on the things you’ve heard?
Do you avoid even the idea of God based on the things you’ve heard?
Or have you gone and met God yourself? Do you spend time on your own with God? Do you talk to God in your own words from your own heart? Do you sit in silence listening to God? Have you entered into relationship with God? Have you really gotten to know God through relationship?
As you spend time entering into relationship with God, you’ll learn new things about God.
Each new thing you learn in your relationship with God will change the way you relate to your life, the people and things in your life, and yourself.
What issues in your life are based on your misperceptions about God?
Are you willing to put aside every indirect, secondhand piece of information you’ve heard, and everything you think you know about God so that you can learn something new?
How will you yourself enter into this fresh, new relationship with God directly?
Here’s to conquering stress.
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