“God hates me because I’m not perfect.”
I did everything right. I followed all the rules just like I was taught. I kept 9 out of the 10 commandments most of the time. According to the school system, that’s an A-
So I mean – God and I should be good, right?
It was in the middle of my twenties that I experienced one of the most traumatizing events in my life.
My ears were hot. My hands were sweaty. My eyes were burning. The tears wouldn’t stop. I kept going over my mental filing cabinet of past mistakes trying to figure out why God hated me.
I was angry. I was frustrated. I felt like a puppet.
Because I missed the mark, I wasn’t perfect. Because I wasn’t perfect, God hated me.
In the middle of my mental mayhem, I called the only person who could help me compartmentalize my thoughts.
Venting. Screaming. Crying.
I began shaking my fist at God, because He kept blessing people who made more mistakes than I did.
I had a 90% in His class and He hated me!
Of course – J just listened.
In the middle of my rapid fire – when I finally stopped and allowed myself to breathe – I remember J simply asking me –
“Graciela, I must ask – do you believe you have a relationship with God?”
At this point I realized the picture of God painted in my head consisted of an authoritative figure micromanaging my wrongs.
With His feet propped up and wand in hand, His daily agenda consisted of punishing me because I just couldn’t get it right.
He was a god that hated me because of the sin I couldn’t let go of.
He damned me to hell because I never forwarded those chain messages on AOL Instant Messenger.
He cut my days short because I didn’t wash the dishes when my mom told me to.
He was mad because of the make-out session I had when I was 15.
He hated me because I wasn’t perfect.
One day while walking down the streets of the city, I remember feeling a stomach-wrenching resentment towards the god these religion fanatics promoted with their signs. The god who was unapologetically condescending. The god who was sending me to hell – no compunction. The god who stood behind everything Westboro Baptist Church-ish.
This. This was not God.
They were idealogies inculcated by radicals who have a distorted view of a loving God.
And I kept confusing the two.
Twenty-something years and a gazillion tears later – I finally recognize my Shepherd’s voice.
I understand that His love for me is deeper, higher, and wider than I could ever imagine.
He isn’t seeking vengeance because of my make-out session or Dangerously In Love Album.
He loves me just as I am, but loves me even more to challenge me to excel.
His “no’s” aren’t out of spite – they were out of His goodness.
I’m able to reflect on the messes I’ve made and understand He’s working even that out for my good.
This same God deliberately blots out my past errors, my past mistakes, my past failures – and remembers my sins no more per Isaiah 43:25.
I now know that in the middle of confusing, chaotic, and formless situations- God’s plan has “goodness” written all over it.
He not only has plans for me – He KNOWS my plans – which means my setbacks are extremely important for the beautiful future He has in store.
He loves me despite my imperfections.
And I love Him too.