How we relate to God is similar to most other relationships in our life; our relational history impacts what happens in the present. It’s common for us to perceive God similarly to how we’ve perceived other attachment figures in our lives or to perceive ourselves similarly to how we’ve felt in those relationships. This can be very  painful for us because we may struggle to reconcile what we are taught about God with how we feel or think. The following exercise may help bring clarity to this struggle and give you somewhere to focus going forward:

Take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side, write down who you know God to be according to the faith (Hint: loving, merciful, patient, forgiving, etc). On the other side, write down the thoughts and feelings that block you from fully believing or experiencing who He is.

Next, take a look at those thoughts and feeling and ask yourself, “Where might I have received these messages about myself and others”? Explore times in your life that you have felt similar or experiences you’ve had that could have directly or indirectly made you think or feel this way.

Lastly, prioritize healing these experiences with the resources available to you (therapy, spiritual direction, sharing with friends/loved ones, private prayer, etc). As we begin to take in new and more attuned responses from others, we can experience new possibilities, including how we relate to God. We don’t have to be stuck with what was modeled for us.

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* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.⁣


Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team