"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it."
A few days ago I was talking with a friend and this thought went through my mind.
“I remember that I tested God.”
I was around 13 or 14 years old and I was in junior high school. Everyday after school I would stop at the five and dime (I know, I’m aging myself here) Woolworth’s. It was in the center of town located near the school. I would window shop there.
Having been raised in a Christian home, we were taught to believe that God was a vengeful God, and if we sinned, we would be punished for it. Well, one day I decided to test that theory. I went into the store everyday and this one day I did not window shop, I stole. I wanted to have things that others had, not because I was jealous, but because I had low self esteem, I did not feel worthy of anything, and I believe that a part of me, had no self preservation. Corporal punishment was the mode of discipline in our home, and I challenged that all the time. Just because we were disciplined that way, did not keep us from breaking the rules. The rules in our home were far more rigid than any of my friends. However, the day that I first stole from the five and dime, was a record day for me. I remember walking home and thinking to myself, how will God punish me? What does smite mean anyway? Will I know when it happens? Will I go to Hell today? At the end of the day I got into bed and said my prayers, “Please God, forgive me for stealing and God bless, yadda, yadda, yadda.” In the morning I woke up relieved to realize I was still alive and went about getting ready for school. I don’t know how long it was before I stopped waiting for the punishment that never came, but I remember that when it did not come after awhile, I did it again. I went back to the store and stole something a little more expensive. Nothing I stole was important, significant, or expensive, it was just a test. Eventually I stopped stealing and I also stopped waiting for God to smite me down.
I know that it was around that time that I began to think differently about what I was being taught in church. I am in no way saying that what was being taught was right or wrong, I just did not believe the things I was being taught. It was not presented in a way that I understood. I thought differently about it, and I actually developed a kind of peacefulness with that, and still continued to disobey my parents, despite the virtual threat of physical punishment, but I did stop testing God. I had a better understanding about what my relationship with God was. I had a very close and private relationship with him that I still to this day, claim as my own.
I have spent the last year looking within for the true me, and have been fortunate enough to have the awareness I have always maintained, and as a result, I have refined my relationship with God, and it is clearer and stronger than ever. I know it began with “The Secret” and is being expanded by The Law of Attraction, and recently, by the writing of Eckhart Tolle and the Oprah Book Club, which for me, is an extension of the teachings of The Laws of The Universe.