This is what we have with God—room and space rarely (if ever) experienced before. I understand how valuable this is, and how needed. Some of us were not given room to question or doubt or form our own opinions and beliefs and there was little or no place to disagree so we never knew how, or knew we could. Much that once brought us to God—disciplines and activities and routines, prayer and the Bible and spiritual expressions—is now loaded with expectation and pressure and striving. We cannot come to them in their pure and beautiful form (can we ever?), so for now we must set them aside because often they only make it harder, not easier. They only interfere.
But again, Jesus does not ask us to partake of the food or drink, just to be. He does not force us to partake of what we are not ready for. Why are some so intent on pressuring those who come to eat and drink before they even have a moment with Jesus? Is it not enough that they are at the table, perhaps drawn to Jesus but still a little skeptical about what’s being served? In time they may take a few bites and sips. But how many have left in discomfort of the other guests and the pressure to partake, still hesitant but still drawn to Jesus?
How beautiful it is to belong. To be welcomed. To be given the room and space to come of our own accord, at our own pace, as our own person, never forced or pressured but in full freedom to come, stay, even leave. Many of us have not known this freedom in our spiritual upbringings, families, communities, churches, friendships. Though perhaps well-intentioned, we have felt force, pressure, expectation—spoken or unspoken—and a lack of space, room, and freedom to find our own way with God, to ask questions and doubt and even stop believing what we have been taught as essential truth.
I experience none of this with God. It’s almost all I knew in former years, and God was made into this image—a God I did not question or doubt, a God narrow and difficult to follow, a God of expectations with a preference for performance. My image of God is changing and this is no longer what I experience when I am intentionally focused. I feel no judgement, no disapproval or disappointment, no wrath or anger or petty concern. Only acceptance, belonging, validation, love; freedom and room and space to be myself and to change. And above all I sense God’s unbounded joy that I am still here, choosing to be with God and God unconcerned with what else I may or may not choose in the moment.