I learned to accept that I would not be able to understand God in my mortal form. Although I was doing my best to hear him and interpret his words or actions in my life, he was doing his own thing, and the two very different Gods never merged.
I became satisfied with the presence that I imagined was there. I had many miracles in my life that let me know that there was no doubt there was something out there that loved and cared for me. I grew satisfied with the anemic explanations that made no real sense to me. If I wanted the God of my religion to stay entrenched in my mind, I would need to learn to live with it.
I allowed myself to become complacent with my understanding of my creator and that opened the doors for some nasty abuse from leaders who were masterminds of manipulation and extortion.
There seemed to be a pattern that started with my mother’s teachings, compounded by the youth pastor when I was in my seminary program, and continued throughout various stages of my life. I was controlled by the guilt, teachings, and twisting of scripture. I gave up large chunks of my life to men of God who knew I was a capable and strong individual who had been indoctrinated with certain teachings that made me malleable to manipulators.
I had somehow allowed a collar of slavery made up of religious conviction to be placed around my neck. It was used to dictate what I would do, whom I would support, and who I would destroy for those smart enough to use my convictions against me. I was deceived, I was well on my way out of the garden, and I was alone searching for something to hold onto that gave me purpose and peace.
I allowed bad teaching to manipulate me into believing God was responsible for my woes and the continuous flow of bad leaders in my life. If I never took this journey, I may have spent the rest of my life thinking this way.
While doing research for another subject I was writing about, I came across this little nugget of truth.
If we have come to terms with authority early in life, we become better able to deal with authority figures, good and bad, whom we meet later. We need neither to reject them out of hand, nor to kiss their feet. We also have a better chance of recognizing when their behavior is inappropriate. If, in our youth, we haven’t worked through those issues with authority figures and developed the ego strength to stand up to a bad leader, we are likely to go on repeating that behavior. Again, and again, we may seek out bad authority experiences to prove to ourselves that this time we can do it. Yet, when the latest repetition slips into familiar acquiescence, our tolerance for bad leaders only increases, convincing us that we are truly helpless against them (Lipman-Blumen).
Wow, that sounds a lot like my life. But wait that means something went wrong inside me not outside me. I now have lingering doubts about Gods culpability where my life is concerned. I have to take responsibility for my view of Him and how I placed myself in positions to be taken advantage of.
I received bad teaching, but I never left it because it was comfortable for me. Dr. Lipman-Blumen continues to explain this phenomenon:
Such early training—mostly by parents—conditions us to replicate childhood behavior in adulthood. The parental replacement—the boss, the CEO, even some spouses—willingly provides guidelines, albeit festooned with prizes and punishments. This inherent need for authority figures is difficult to root out, despite our childhood fantasy of making our own decisions. The resulting ambivalence creates a vacuum that can be filled only by another demanding individual who inspires awe, peppered with occasional terror. As adults, we frequently continue to obey authority (Lipman-Blumen).
If I replace the CEO/Boss with God, I can see why I made him into something I loved and feared. I think every sincere seeker of God must come to a point in their lives where they are brave enough to see the truth of why they do what they do. Brave enough not to blame some outside entity and take personal responsibility.
I was the problem all along. I was seeking out these leaders because I had a need to “Get it right this time” and though I had good intentions each time I was not able to see that these men were actually corrupt manipulators and I was never going to get it right. Moreover, I started to believe that God was putting me in these situations because I was not learning my lesson.
We must make these arguments and love God enough to be willing to seek and indeed find who he is, where he is. As the scripture says, he who seeks me will find me when he seeks me with all his heart.
***Excerpts from Gods in the Garden by Cory B. Scott and The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians–and How We Can Survive Them by Jean Lipman-Blumen
God's In the Garden - Available February 10, 2020, Preorder Now!!!!!
Dr. Cory B. Scott has had an adventurous career that has afforded him the honor of such titles as Reverend, Deputy, Executive, Director, Lieutenant, Doctor, and finally, his true passion, Professor.
But those titles were just masks; his official titles are, Daddy, Husband, Brother, Friend, Uncle, Mentor, and finally, in 2019, he was awarded his true love, Grandpa.
Cory has survived some devastating tragic events and personal failures in his life. These experiences have given him deep insight and a desire to help others overcome personal obstacles and transform their tragedies into sacred gurus who teach and strengthen.
Cory weaves original artwork, poetry, and short stories in an incredible memoir titled, "Gods in the Garden." This book captures the essence of a survivor's journey through abuse, pain, loss, betrayal, and enlightenment.