It’s kinda funny isn’t it, that the things we associate with being religious, are usually things to do with Religion? It’s often how people assess different faiths or belief systems – too religious, and why they can’t see themselves following some or other belief system.
I’ve found that some of the ‘religious’ that God has been working with me on has actually had little to do with “religion”. Religious does seem to be as offensive to him as it is to us, (probably more so) in a lot of different forms.
So, the religious that has been the focus of His attention in me, has been my clinging to my old working brain; my one-eyed view of the way life is meant to look; and my need to jump in and to do His job.
Religious by definition in The Penguin English Dictionary Third Edition (2007) is: 1 relating to or devoted to the beliefs or observances of a religion. 2 showing faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity; pious or devout. 3 scrupulously and conscientiously faithful. 4 belonging or relating to a monastic order. (I’m number 3)
Before the Left Turn, I spent many years relying on the way my brain worked. It worked quickly, it was logical and literary, it could see through to managing systems and creating solutions. It had great recall, and held detail well. I was able to read easily and quickly, and took great pleasure in getting lost in books. Never could manage maths, that has always been a count-on my-fingers thing!
After the Left Turn, I have had to go through a process of grieving and adjusting to this new brain, but also processing how much I had relied on my brain and not actually on God…
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10b (NIV)
Even recently, He has had to remind me that my brain is not God. I had been so happy about some ground that I had gained, that when I got crook recently, and lost it all again, I wasn’t sufficiently grounded in Him to be ready for the loss.
Post brain injury incident, I am living a better life than I had lived before it. Praise God, I am more integrated, nicer, more peace-filled, more God-reliant – which has come about in part because of having to daily work through the other things that come along with brain injury, the not fun stuff.
Another thing that I personally can be religious about if I’m not careful, is the way I want my life to look. I cling to my twelve-year-old-selfs’ sentimental fairy tale ideas about the way life is supposed to be, with a ferocity that ultimately locks God out of the picture. Whatever He has actually got planned for my life, whatever it should look like, in the story according to God, it will ultimately be better than any story an isolated prepubescent girl could dream up!
We can be religiose (yes, it’s a word!) about anything from the way we stir our coffee, to the way we worship on Sunday – or any day. Both are open to being challenged by Our Father, because neither might actually leave room for Him.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)
Humanity has a tendency to think it knows better. We know better than each other, we know better than God, we just know better. And we would do it better too dagnabbit! We would run the country better, we would run the world better, we would run the blasted universe better! Nobody would die tragically, nobody would get sick, nobody would hurt someone else, there would be no disease, no violence, no cruelty, no extinction, there would be enough food, trees, water, habitat etc, etc, etc…
We’re religiously fighting and striving to do what we think Gods’ job should be, and forget to ask Him what it is that He would actually like to do.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
If I am not focussing on my relationship with Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, then I become religiose really quickly. The need to control my own world and have my own world view work perfectly to a system, to routine, swings into focus, until it’s the only thing I can see.
Then I’m praying like God’s not in control, and not capable of doing things properly, as if He is somehow subordinate to my power, Him the created and me the creator instead of the other way around…
There’s no space in a real relationship with our beautiful God for anything religious. There’s too much freedom.
God Bless You Very Much