My exhale of relief began when I decided that marrying the wrong person was not a danger I should be concerned about. If you grew up in certain circles you understand the emphasis on finding the mate who God has designed just for you. That God has the perfect companion picked out just for me sounds exciting and romantic, but it doesn’t take long to begin to worry about making the wrong choice. What if I marry the wrong person? What if someone else gets together with the person who I was supposed to marry? Am I just destined to be alone forever? What if I marry the person who was supposed to marry someone else, then that person has to marry someone else? Have we just ruined to whole system?
Or perhaps it is possible that life is not as simple as right and wrong choices. Perhaps living the best way possible on whatever path I find myself is more important than choosing the correct path. When I chose to embrace this idea, I found I could breathe a sigh of relief.
So often the ideas that we have about God bring us tension, guilt, and fear rather than freedom and joy. I am grateful that I have found some new ways to understand God, and I am grateful that many others are also seeing life and God differently than we have in the past.
It is an amazing relief to realize that God does not require us worry over every choice. He does not require us to stand on street corners preaching or worrying over people going to hell. We don’t have to be offended when people say “Happy Holidays.” We don’t have to fight against gay rights and immorality on television. We don’t have to demand that schools teach “intelligent design” or that the Ten Commandments be displayed on the courthouse lawn. We don’t have to fear that the devil is winning the war for the soul of America.
Some might say that not demonstrating concern about Satan, or immorality, or hell is a sign of watered-down Christianity that is too friendly to culture. I would point out that Scripture gives us the principle that fear and worry are never from God, so when we free ourselves and our religion from the ideas that cause fear, worry, guilt, tension, and stress we are actually moving closer to the heart of God, not farther from it.