I am currently engaged in weekly spiritual direction. The recent conversations with my spiritual director have been about "Does God Love Me?" You would think that being a priest, the response would be a resounding YES. But the reality is that such a response is rather superficial. I am not saying that God does not love me, but my relationship with God has been a tumultuous one.
Okay, It seems that I am getting ahead of myself.
I have expressed to my spiritual director that I was struggling with worthiness. In other words, am I worthy of God's love? As the conversations have progressed, my spiritual director asked the question "what is your image of God?" I have to say that I was stumped by the question. I was wondering what does this have to do with worthiness and my relationship with God?
As is turns out it has a lot to do with how I engage in a relationship with God.
Some of my friends are aware that I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist. Well maybe using the word somewhat is making light of my tendency. Okay, I admit it, I AM AN EXTREME PERFECTIONIST! But what does this have to do with my relationship with God?
My experience of God as a child was formed under the guidance of a group of Dominican Sisters. Aside from encouraging prayer, they emphasized the need to be the best in order to be a "True" follower of Christ. Perfection was seen as the utmost expression of a follower of The Way. In school this was expressed in living an orderly regimented life. The use of erasers and whiteout was frowned upon by the Dominican sisters. In essence, there was no room for error or excuses. This way of life was not only expressed at school but also at home. If I got an A, my mom asked why did you not get an A+? It was this emphasis on perfection that would color my relationship with God.
So where does worthiness come into the picture?
My spiritual director expressed that my image of God is "Perfeccionista." It was this image that was blocking an intimate relationship with God. In essence, I am so focused on things going wrong that I have not allowed room for God's mercy. So maybe a better question is "Am I enough?"
So now I have decided to engage in finding ways to make room for God's mercy. I think that this will require a transformative view of my image of God. A movement away from the "Perfeccionista" and finding how to utilize doubt as a means to create a space for God. Could the answer be allowing vulnerability to enter into my relationship with God?
When you sit on the fire escape, there comes a time to decide when to move from viewing to engaging.