God is not safe

Shawna
Written by Shawna

I believe in God.

That statement will turn you off, intrigue you or make you feel indifferent.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of opinion pieces on what a turn off it is for some people to read that statement. Followed with comparisons of believing in God to believing in Santa; wondering where God is when horrible things happen; assuming that people believe in God for the ‘comfort’.

All of these generalizations make me think two things. One, Christianity is misunderstood to be rigid religion of rules; really it is first and foremost about a relationship with God. Two, Christianity is everyone’s favourite religion to flush down the toilet. Which is easy to do when there are so many extreme sects claiming to be based on the bible, splattering their skewed ideologies onto the title of Christianity.

I can’t defend all the aspect of my belief system in a simple post. Maybe I can address some of the main points I see being made in the ‘anti-Christian’ posts.

Believing in God is not about having a trouble-free and safe life. God always calls us to do difficult things that are completely out of our comfort zone. From something as simple as singing on stage, to loving someone who seems unlovable, to starting a business, to moving our entire family across the country, to leaving a relationship, to walking up to a stranger and offering them friendship, to leaving a career. In the stillness of our hearts we can hear these callings and they are usually scary and wild and against our instincts, therefore we tell ourselves it’s not from God. We like to put God in a fenced off yard where he only keeps us safe, well hydrated and lounging in a cushy hammock. But really, the things we are called to do come with no guarantees, no safety net, no finish line with a cozy retirement fund and sundrenched buffets.  Having faith in all this uncertainty is not intuitive. We want to protect ourselves, our routines, our happy mediums.

Believing in God is does not make me think I am a perfect person. God is constantly showing me areas of my life where I am weak, I am petty, I am unforgiving, I am judgmental. It is humbling, but this mirror shows me how to be a better partner, mother, sister, friend. Because God loves imperfect, He fills in all the gaps with His Grace and we become stronger in areas we are weak.  

Believing in God does not mean we have to be the same. There is no ‘Christian Cookie Cutter’. All ‘Christian women’ don’t have to be housewives homeschooling five kids, plaiting homemade bread and singing in church on Sundays. If you do that, great for you, I salute your ovaries and baking skills. God made us all different with unique talents, views and skills. We should swan dive into a pool of  differences. Let ourselves be unique and stick out and make mistakes and look stupid from time to time. We should surround ourself with variety in the people we love and how we love.  If we don’t, we are fuelling our life on only one single food, all day every day. 

Believing in God is not akin to believing in fairies and pixie dust. It’s true I can’t see a physical God in front of me, but I can feel Him, hear Him, and see Him in your circumstances. I couldn’t word it any better than CS Lewis: “‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”. Yet, there are also times God is quiet. He is still. These are times I am angry with God, confused by Him, yelling at Him. I’ve struggled for years trying to ‘hear’ God but He doesn’t always ‘speak’, rather sometimes He ‘does’. He is a God of action, even unexpected actions that I disagree with, but can look back on and understand why He ushered me toward the hard path. 

Hand in hand with this is the misconception that Christians believe this world is like Heaven. There is this notion that if we believe in God we have this ‘protection’ from all evil and peril. This is an entitling stance that allows us to blame God, or our being ‘ungodly’, for bad things happening and praise ourselves for the good. I can’t do this justice in a few sentences but being a Christian doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to us. It also doesn’t mean we are ‘bad people’ if they do. This world is a fallen world; we all have free will to make our own decisions. God isn’t controlling us like puppets. He is walking along with us, constantly trying to make our circumstances work for good, constantly trying to strengthen us, to use us to help each other.

I could go on and on yet. Tell you things like, I believe God made each one of us for a wonderful purpose, and He doesn’t want us to be ‘perfect’, God loves imperfect (the bible is full of God using imperfect people to do great things).   I believe that Jesus gave his life for each and every one of us and that we are loved by him no matter what.

I believe that being a Christian is not about following a list of rules and dramatically preaching to the public but it is at the core, about having a relationship with God.

I also believe that God is not comfortable. God is not safe. My life is not easier because I believe in God.

 

For more on this topic, I recommend reading “Your God is Too Safe” by Mark Buchanan 

About the author

Shawna

Shawna

Her friends know her has their nerdy girlfriend who gets day drunk at ladies' lunches. Shawna gave up her career to be a stay at home mom to three kids under four. She is online sharing the questions she is asking around simple living, simple style and simple health. Candid about marriage ish, momfails and God's grace.

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16 Comments

  • You didn’t mention *why* you believe in God. You say it’s not for comfort, so what does it do for you? It sounds like you believe your belief makes you a better person: “shows me how to be a better partner, mother, sister, friend” but there are plenty of other ways to become a better person without believing in God, so what is it about your God *specifically* that is different?

    (As a point of contrast, Sikhs believe they should be the best people they can as possible while on Earth because there is no guarantee of another life/Heaven and it’s just the right thing to do, and they do that without God per se helping.)

    Just curious (genuinely) because most (not all!) religions (and even secular humanism!) have a concept of becoming a better person, so I’m wondering what is specific to you about the Christian God.

    Also thanks for putting this out there. I’m always fascinated by what people believe (I have a minor in Religion).

    • I absolutely can’t answer for Shawna, but the reason I believe in God and the “story” of Christianity is that I think it’s true. You can’t both believe that God exists, and also believe that he doesn’t exist. There are lots of religions with lots of beliefs about God — and I absolutely agree with and appreciate your point that secular humanism is a belief system as well — and I believe in the Christian one. *Specifically* it’s the “grace” aspect of the Christian story that makes it compelling for me. Being a better person isn’t the point or even a requirement, neither is following the rules, or agreeing with other Christians about everything (thank goodness!) but being accepted and forgiven, flaws and all, no matter what I do.
      Please don’t hear arrogance in this. I know other smart and kind people genuinely believe other things, and I don’t know what that means, really … Part of my personal religion having is faith that these complicated questions are not so complicated for God … Somehow …
      (I really, really try to stay away from this sort of conversation online! But since you asked…)

      • “being accepted and forgiven, flaws and all, no matter what I do.”

        That sounds a lot to me like a sense of comfort and security, Jae. (But maybe I’m misunderstanding)

        What I think is interesting is this article specifically says God is not safe and comforting for her. It’s an opinion you don’t hear as often.

        • You know what? You’re absolutely right. That statement did confuse my point a little. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while I definitely derive comfort from my faith, it’s not WHY I believe. (Which was the question of yours I was shooting to answer.) So why do I believe? Because I think it’s true.

  • […] in pain and desperation, there is always patient and steadfast love.  This post first appeared on BLUNTmoms  For more on this topic, I recommend reading “Your God is Too Safe” by Mark […]

  • […]   I believe in God.   That statement will turn you off, intrigue you or make you feel indifferent. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of opinion pieces on what a turn off it is for some people to read that statement. Followed with comparisons of believing in God to believing in Santa; wondering where God is when horrible things happen; assuming that people believe in God for the ‘comfort’. READ ON… […]

  • There are a lot of various Christians out there with varying beliefs. Some good. Some not so good. My experience in general is many Christians get personally offended if you criticize any person who claims to be Christian. There are too many ‘Christians in Name Only’, who wear the label as some sort of entitlement, and they are the ones who give a bad name to other Christians, IMHO.. They sure don’t seem to know or care what Jesus actually taught.

    An example of a CHINO would be someone who says, I voted for Donald Trump because I’m a good Christian’.

  • I love this SO MUCH, Shawna and I’m SO GLAD you wrote it. The title got me to come here and see what this post was about and I am thrilled I did- THANK YOU for sharing such an honest, truthful, and authentic Christian perspective. It needs constant clarification and I always appreciate sisters like you who describe our faith accurately and graciously. I am incredibly grateful that Bluntmoms published your piece. This truly reflects the respect and integrity of this site to offer your perspective to their readers. It makes me love Bluntmoms even MORE. <3 Sharing this everywhere!