“The exchange of love between earth and people calls forth the creative gifts of both. The earth is not indifferent to us, but rather calling for our gifts in return for hers- the reciprocal nature of life and creativity.” – Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Have you ever felt like God is indifferent towards you?
Maybe you’ve reached out a few times and He hasn’t returned your calls. Maybe you’ve done all the “right” things: you don’t cuss, don’t drink, go to church, and even share with your little brother, but something horrible has happened to you anyway. Maybe you don’t think God exists, and if He does He certainly hasn’t shown any interest in your life. Maybe you have followed the formula and your life hasn’t turn out the way you expected it would. Maybe you’ve been working really hard at this whole Christian thing — you know, going to Bible study and leading a small group and journaling — but you still feel as though you’ve been passed over, as though God has His eye on someone…and it’s definitely not you.
I feel that way sometimes, too.
It’s easy to feel like God is indifferent towards us or that we’re being ignored on some cosmic level. If you’re a Christian, especially if you’ve been a Christian for a while, it can sometimes feel as though you’re in a one-sided relationship with the Divine.
Isn’t that our greatest fear? That either by accident or some great striving effort we will reveal the most intimate parts of ourselves and be rejected in an awful way — through silence, indifference, or apathy?
We don’t fear outright rejection. For some reason, that’s more manageable and easier to swallow. There’s something tangible about straight-up rejection. At least if someone walks away from us we can watch him or her go and know that we cannot close the gap between us. Hatred and disgust are active exchanges of energy to which we can react and process.
We fear apathy, indifference, and silence.
We absolutely cannot stand the thought of not having closure or of someone not even caring enough to commit to rejection. There’s a level of uncertainty or passivity that hurts us in a deeply intimate way. The relationships that lack closure are the ones keeping us up at night.
So when God gets quiet, it’s easy to think He’s ignoring us, indifferent towards us, or apathetic about our existence.
But God, by His very nature, cannot be indifferent towards us.
If God is Love and the opposite of love is indifference, then God cannot be indifferent towards humankind or towards us as individuals. God must always be in an active exchange of energy with us. It’s impossible for God NOT to be in a constant conversation with humankind. He can either be angry with us or completely enamored with us, but He cannot ignore us. It’s outside of the realm of relationship, which He Himself created.
So now that we’ve established that apathy isn’t an attribute of God — and that we’re, therefore, in relationship with Him — we must ask ourselves some fundamental questions regarding this relationship:
Do you love God?
There are a variety of answers to this question, ranging from absolutely to sometimes to never. Which is totally fine. I respect everyone’s right to come to their own conclusion regarding their relationship to the Divine, so long as they acknowledge they are, indeed, in some type of relationship.
If your answer is yes, then I have a follow-up question:
Does God love you?
How often are you operating out of the intimate knowledge that God loves you? It’s so easy to define ourselves by saying that we love God. But it’s so much harder to live out of a place where our primary source of identity isn’t dependent on us. We would much rather spend our time working hard to love God and doing all the right things than truly cultivating an identity where we are aware of God’s deep affection for us. Which would explain why we’re so tired. We’re only getting one-half of the relationship conversation. We’re running around saying we love God, but we’re not standing still long enough to hear He loves us.
When was the last time you had an affectionate thought about God? When do you think was the last time God had an affectionate thought about you?
Before we can go out and change the world, we have to change the way we view our place in the world. If we live in blind devotion — spinning our wheels to prove our love and worth — then we’ll never live out of the giftedness that God desires for us.
I’m going to modify the quote I shared at the beginning of this blog. I don’t know Dr. Kimmerer, but I think she’s onto something incredibly profound when it comes to our relationship with God.
“The exchange of love between GOD and people calls forth the creative gifts of both. GOD is not indifferent to us, but rather calling for our gifts in return for HIS- the reciprocal nature of life and creativity.”
The implications of this relationship might possibly be too great. The implications of living a life rooted in an identity of love would mean that we get to be co-creators with Christ. It would mean that we are not just noticed but also loved by the very thing we’ve been striving to know for our entire lives. It would mean that what we do on this earth matters because our creativity plays into the greater work of the Creator.
God isn’t indifferent towards you. No, quite the opposite. He’s passionately calling to you and waiting for you to use your talent, creativity, and giftedness out of a place of love and acceptance. Which means you can’t fail. But in order to succeed, we have to start by first letting Him heal our view of our place in the world. And, even more importantly, we have to let Him heal our view of His place in the world. Then — and only then — can we partner together to bring renewal and redemption to our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world.
PC:@_meganholloway_ via #belovedlife