“(God) was either an avenging tyrant we were afraid to approach, the great Authority Figure, a Santa Claus, or some other reflection of our distorted attitudes and dysfunctional relationships.”
SA White Book, Step 11
Oh yeah…that’s me for sure. When I screw up God is an avenging tyrant…and I screw up a lot. Or He is the Morality Police, always monitoring my behavior, the guy I have to ask permission to do anything for fear of upsetting Him.
God is, of course, also Santa Claus to me because the list of things I haven’t asked Him for is shorter than the list of things I have asked for. If I’m good, God Claus will almost certainly give me what I want. If I’m bad, Santa Christ will leave coal in my stockings…so I better be good for goodness sake!
In this way I can see that I modeled God after my mother and father: I had to keep God happy, follow God’s rules, being careful to never upset God with my bad behavior. But this ‘God’ was also someone I could hide from and keep secrets from. I could do ‘bad things’ in secret and get away with it. For me and others like me, my adult life is spent unlearning the ‘God’ of my childhood and re-learning who God really Is. I have to learn that God does give gifts, but does so because He loves me and not because I’ve been ‘good’. I believe God also disciplines me through consequences, but again, He does so because He loves me and wants me to change, not because I’ve been ‘bad’. God monitors my behavior, but not because He wants to make sure I’m following the rules. I cannot hide from the real God, but then again I shouldn’t want to hide from Him. When I want to hide from God I am most certainly engaged in one kind of self-destructive behavior or another.
Who is God to you? Are you worshiping the true God, or a false image formed in childhood?