“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 was indifferent towards you?
Maybe you’ve reached out a few times and He didn’t return your calls. Maybe you did all the right things: you didn’t cuss, didn’t drink, went to church, and even shared with your little brother, but something horrible happened to you. Maybe you don’t think God exists, and if He does He certainly hasn’t shown any interest in your life. Maybe you followed the formula and your life didn’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 else and it’s definitely not you.
I feel that way sometimes too.
It’s very easy to feel like God is indifferent towards us or that we’re being ignored on some cosmic level. If you’re a Christian, or especially if you’ve been a Christian for a while, sometimes it can feel as though you’re in a one-sided relationship with the divine. It’s as though there was an initial moment of intense love and devotion and then it quickly fizzled into mere service and duty.
Isn’t that our greatest fear? That either by accident or by some great striving effort we will reveal the most intimate parts of ourselves and be rejected in the most awful of ways- 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 a forthright rejection. If someone walks away from us we can at least watch him or her go and know that we cannot close the gap between us. Hatred and disgust are at least active exchanges of energy to which we can react to and process through.
We fear apathy, indifference, and silence.
We absolutely cannot stand the thought of not having closure or if someone doesn’t even care enough to commit to a rejection. There’s that level of uncertainty or passivity that hurts us in the most intimate of ways. It’s the relationships that lack closure keeping us up at night.
So when God gets quiet it’s easy to think he’s ignoring us or 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 realms of relationship.
So now that we’ve established that apathy isn’t an attribute of God and we’re therefore in relationship to Him or with Him we must ask ourselves the fundamental questions of relationship:
Do you love God?
There might be a variety of answers ranging from absolutely, 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 as they acknowledge they are indeed in some type of relationship.
If you answer yes, you do love God, then I have a further question:
Does God love you?
How often are you deeply operating out of the 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 so much rather go around working hard to love God and do all the right things than to truly cultivate an identity where we are genuinely 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 still enough or quiet 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 walk around 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 change the quote at the beginning of the 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 primarily 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 existence. It would mean that what we do on this earth matters, because our creativity plays into the greater creativity of the Creator as a whole.
God isn't indifferent towards you. No, quite the opposite. He's passionately calling to you and waiting on you to use your talent, creativity, and giftedness out of a place of love and acceptance. Which means you can't fail. But it starts by first healing our view of our place in the world and healing our view of God's place in the world too. Then and only then can we partner together to actually bring healing and renewal to our neighborhood, our city, and our world.