If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ve probably noticed I’m not a fan of religion.
But I just ran across a story that reminded me of what I hate about religion, and it also made me realize that with a simple tweak, it could actually be a helpful, humanist concept.
The story had something to do with submitting your will to Jesus or some bullshit like that. I don’t know, I think the guy got a job offer but he didn’t take it because he wanted to stay and help an orphan write Santa a thank you card. Regardless, it was one of those stories that basically says, “hey, ashhole, you’re a selfish piece of shit, and what you want is basically all influenced by the devil and you should only want to do what we tell you Jesus wants you to do, so get on your knees and keep praying til that righteous desire fills your heart, oh, and don’t forget to pay your tithing.”
What bugs me about the whole, submit your will to God bullshit is that is basically saying that the desire that burns inside your god-given heart isn’t valid. Instead, you’re supposed to give up what you’re heart tells you and do what your church leaders tell. It’s never that clear, though. They’ll often tell you to pray and listen in your heart. But if you get an answer that falls outside of what the doctrine or the Brethren would encourage, well, you’re fucked.
This further bothers me because I believe that your heart is, basically, God. Yep, God is you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and someday I’ll write a book about it.
And if God is you, then what your heart desires is the voice of God. So, if the advice is to submit to the voice of your heart – to submit to that yearning inside of you – the voice that talks of potential, of dreams, of connecting and big ideas and small, powerful moments; If that’s the voice you’re submitting to, then I’m on board.
The other problem we run into is the definition of will. If you want to gain something from the religious preaching–and there really isn’t much reason to, but say you’re stuck in a bad marriage where your spouse forces you to listen to shit like this, and you’re just too busy and broke to get a divorce—but if you want to gain something from these guys, then here’s what you do: Re-interpret the word will to mean your short-term, reactive, escapist, fear-filled, small-minded, unconscious, unexamined momentary wants that don’t actually serve you. If want to call those moments of escapism/avoidance your will and you want to submit them to the greater will of the long-term, mindful, expressive desires in your heart, well, that’s probably good. Time is limited, and there are certain things you can’t experience if you don’t do the work. And if you’re always taking the easy path because it’s fun and easy and in the moment of difficulty, you hop off the path to spiral down a social media binge then, yeah, submitting your laziness, distraction, fear-of-greatness to your inner-God, will actually help you claim your legitimate power.
If you can offer up your time and attention as a gift to your future self, and even to those you love, then you may have the motivation to chip away at the things that seem difficult, that require focus and attention and persistence. And it won’t feel like you have to do it because you don’t. Nor do you have to worry if it’s worthy of what God thinks or what your pastor thinks, because if it resonates with you, then it’s worthy.
That’s the key. Nobody gets to tell you what God thinks because God is You; and giving in to Your Will will get you deeper and farther than will bouncing from distraction to distraction. So let go of your fears and your smallness and distractions, and give in the the Will of The Farther…