As a 6 or 7 year old, I remember a relative pointing at a burning campfire and saying: “If you’re not a good boy, you’ll burn in there forever.” I used to think God was a mean, punishing power. That if I cussed or didn’t honor my parents or wore shorts above the knee (seriously!) I’d burn in hell for eternity. This made me have a very frightened view of God, and kept religion at a distance.
As I grew older and became more confident, I realized I could have a new relationship with this power, a relationship that I would help me to become a better - “higher” - version of myself.
But it didn’t come easily. I had to deal with false notions of right and wrong. I had to reframe God and my relationship with Them. I had to become comfortable with my own truth, in how I see the world and what I feel most spriritually comfortable with.
But how to break through? How can we shed our preconceived notions of God and arrive at a version that speaks to us, that is in line with our hearts? Part of it is growing up and being comfortable with yourself - that your adult beliefs are as valid as your parents were at the age you’re right now.
Another part is through practice, such as praying or meditation and creating the space for silence, a space for just being. It also begins with affirming what we believe through how we live, how we treat others, and how we take action to make a better world.