Why Do I Believe in God?
Trying to answer a nearly impossible question
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A few weeks ago, my college best friend asked me, “so… how do you KNOW that God exists? Like how are you sure?”
She and I were very ‘new age’ together. We believed in energies. She believes in, and has even seen, ghosts. We were very open to the supernatural. We’d go to crystal shops when I’d visit her in LA. I did my little magic pendulum energy work testing on her, and my muscle testing. I’d learned them both in different trainings. I did this ‘energy work’ on lots of people. They thought it was so cool. I could tell them things like: “oh you have blocked energy in your sacral chakra. And your spleen energy and heart chakra aren’t in harmony. You have some stuck frustration.”
“Yes yes, I do have stuck frustration!” I would have them put their hands on different parts of their body and breathe. Nothing wrong with that part. Breathing is good. And I meant it all, very genuinely. I never “made anything up,” as far as I could tell. I used my little divination tools that I’d learned how to use, and I told the people what the tools told me. To me, I was tapping into my own “intuition.” My intuition, I was told, knew things about their body that it could communicate to me through those tools. My intuition, and our intuition, knew everything. Because everything is connected. We just needed a way to access that information. We needed to trust our intuition. That tools gave us access to that information.
“Your throat chakra has chaotic energy. You may be having trouble expressing yourself. This (the testing) is saying you need to call in the energy of openness. Put your hand here, close your eyes, and…” Then we put our hands on our own bodies, and breathed. Then they usually said they felt better.
Funny enough, I only 'practiced’ energy work on other people for about a year or maybe two. I had been drawn to it for a while. It made me feel powerful, magical, intuitive. I thought it was the kind of trust and openness that God wanted for all of us… if I even believed in a formal God at the time, which, I didn’t always. I went back and forth between believing that all of this intuitive/psychic/energy work was an answer to prayers, from God. Or, I thought it was the Universe revealing to me that we are all God. A different kind of answer to prayer. I thought it was the way I was supposed to heal myself, and then help heal others.
Then I stopped doing it. Nothing dramatic, I just… eh, it wasn’t my calling. It also subconsciously phased out my life because… it never healed me the way I expected it to. Also, the more involved I got, the more something felt off to me, but I just wrote it off as… oh well, maybe this just isn’t my thing.
While it didn’t “heal” me the way it promised, and the way I expected, I will say that I do generally spend my life more “grounded” in my body. Present, so to speak. Feeling what’s going on, instead of checking out. Which is good. Breathing is good. Feeling emotions, instead of repressing them, is good. Learning and implementing all of that body-based, “somatic” feeling stuff was good for me. But those teachings are so often also associated with, and attached to, other things: attempts to develop psychic and intuitive abilities, calling in energies and connecting with spirit guides. The holistic healing world has very fuzzy lines between physical practices that helps the physical body — the very real electric and energetic aspects of the physical body, and then… we quickly get off into essentially, occultic healing practices, and pretty soon we think we are psychic, and talking to spirits, and seeing ourselves as little gods.
I knew many people who would use their divination tools to make decisions for themselves. Sometimes big decisions. Whenever I tried that, it didn’t work. I didn’t know if that was because I just didn’t trust myself to make decisions based on muscle testing, or whether on some level I knew… this could go very wrong. The difference between that kind of divination, is it was asking for information about the future: what’s the decision to make, that will benefit my future? The other stuff I had been doing, testing the energy of the body, was all about reading energy as it was presenting itself NOW. What is going on NOW in your body? How can we correct what is stuck NOW. That felt safer. More practical. More grounded.
I remember my mom telling me, long before, that the danger with psychics was … what if they told you something incorrect, but you started basing your life decisions subconsciously based on what they told you would happen? What if you made it happen, good or bad, just because you believed so strongly that they were right? And what if it WASN’T the right thing for you? What if it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. That was always always in the back of my mind. I knew it wasn’t safe or smart to seek out answers about the future, even if you were given the right information, because… what then? And what if they were wrong?
Turns out, that’s not the only danger with seeking out psychics… but it was enough to keep me wary, and stop me from going deeper and deeper into the energy world I was already steeped in.
People I’d done energy work on in the past, like my college friend who lives in LA, would ask me to do it when I saw them again a year later. “Oh, I haven’t done that in a while actually,” I’d tell them. I phased it out. I stopped being the chakra and energy work and pendulum girl with all my friends. I phased it out of my online business too, and became just purely a writer. It felt better that way. But I didn’t change my worldview on it all for about four more years. And up until mid-2022, I was still deferring to a psychic friend of mine, who had been one of my many energy work teachers, when she would give me advice on what was going to happen, and what I should do, in a way that I am floored by now that I think back on it. Even though I knew that “knowing the future” could be dangerous, she was both my friend and had a level of “authority” because she had been my teacher. I thought, well, she is more intuitive than me. Maybe she knows better than me. This is a longer story that I’ll get into another time. Actually, I have tons more stories about my time as an accidental new age witch that I hope to eventually write about.
Anyway… fast forward, back to my best friend asking me how I know that God exists. I said to her…. “That is such a good question. And one that I do not have a quick answer to. I don’t even know what my answer is… and I should. Especially if I think I am going to be writing a book about all of this.” Actually, that’s the reason that I am still dragging my heels on the book. It’s daunting. The topic is so daunting.
There are two layers to this answer. Because, I’ve actually always believed that some version of God exists. And what that version of God was has changed through time. But I’ve always believed. I’ve always believed that I was being helped, because I have been.
It started back when I was young, and I would pray for things, and they would happen. Stupid things. I prayed that our broken printer would print my KidPix, and it did. A printer miracle. Why? I don’t know. Maybe to affirm my 9 year old faith in God and miracles.
I think that this printer miracle was the moment that really affirmed my belief in God and in miracles.
Then I prayed for other impossible things, and I got them. A dog when my parents said a hard “no.” New bedroom furniture when my mom said a hard “no.” Plastic surgery when my mom definitely said a hard “are you crazy.” All of these things were extremely silly. Or extremely superficial. I’m sure there were other, smaller moments too, but these are the big ones I remember. The impossible ones. So, even though they were mostly superficial, they still affirmed my belief that God actually heard me, and that prayer actually does something. So, I believed. I didn’t understand why or how. But I believed.
But then, God didn’t answer my biggest prayer. He didn’t heal me of all my teenage hormonal health problems. That was the thing I begged for. I made bargains. I lit candles in churches. I prayed constantly. I dieted obsessively to show him I was trying not to be a glutton. I didn’t have a relationship with God, or, I didn’t have a good one. He was my prayer answerer. He was my genie. I didn’t try to change, or understand what God wanted. I didn’t really know how to surrender. All I did was develop an eating disorder in my own attempt to heal, while I waited on a miracle that seemingly never came.
So, in college, I abandoned that version of God, the genie version that I associated with my Catholic upbringing. I moved to New York for college, and I started learning about energy healing, manifestation, the Law of Attraction, the power of our thoughts… and I thought ohhhhhh, so this is what I have to do to heal. So, all of those answers to my prayers… that was ME all along? Manifesting my new bedroom furniture? It was just … me? Wowwwww I have so much more power than I thought. Too bad stupid Christians don’t understand this…
And down the rabbit holes I went. I wrote about this a little bit in Tired as F*ck, from a more self-help angle, and less of a spiritual journey angle, but there was a lot of overlap. I was obsessed with creating my reality through my thoughts. It literally gave me anxiety that my negative thoughts could be creating negative things. I spent a few years doing this, and then… I relapsed… I relapsed and I prayed to a personal God, instead of commanding a co-creation with an impersonal universe. And I prayed to God again to be healed.
And then… not long after that, I had my F*ck It Diet ‘epiphany.’ And I have to say, that all along, it was clear to me: this was not “of me.” It was God. I just… I didn’t know what my beliefs about God were. Was God the universe? Was God consciousness? Was God the intuition inside of us? Were we little g gods? Or was God truly separate and above us? I didn’t know. But I DID know, that God, or the universe, was helping me. Guiding me. Giving me answers. Giving me the healing I didn’t even know I needed. The F*ck It Diet was a radical healing of my relationship with food, a healing that had to happen, before any other physical healing could ever happen. It was the thing I never knew I’d start writing about. It also gave me my career as a writer, which wasn’t even my actual plan. Not only was I being guided with my healing with food, and my writing, but I was “guided” or “brought” to my literary agent in a way that was so “magical” that I knew it never would have happened without supernatural help.
I wondered if I’d manifested this somehow. But, it was also just so specific, and so beyond anything I could have thought of, that it deepened my faith in something beyond just manifestation. I didn’t have the intelligence to ask for this specifically. Something, or I guess, someone, knew what I needed, way more than I did. I was being guided and helped in what felt like a very specific in personal way. But again, at the time, I was very new age, and based on my current belief system, we were in charge of our own reality. So, I believed that I was manifesting my highest reality, somehow, because I was energetically releasing blocks in my energy system… I was both, making this happen, and also open to the Universe’s hand on my life. Does the universe have hands? Does the universe have thoughts? Is it angelic beings and spirit guides at the universe’s behest? Who is running the show? Was I in control? OR was God/the universe in control? Is it really just a big soup of consciousness? Are we really creating our reality? Like a matrix? Where do these angelic beings come into play? What are the spirit guides doing? And why? What kind of authority would they have? I didn’t have answers to any of these questions. All I knew, is that something supernatural was happening, it felt personal, and it was beyond me, and so far, it was amazing.
Even though I didn’t understand wtf was going on, how it worked, or why, I felt like I really could trust this …God, or this universe, or whatever. I had a trust. And that trust also became a big foundation of my healing with food, and the F*ck It Diet. It’s actually something that I didn’t really write about as much as I maybe should have: my trust in my body was beyond just the physical body, though I do think you can trust your body and your appetite… But… I had a trust in life. In God… (or the universe… Again, I didn’t know.)
Actually, at the time I was extremely turned off by religion. It seemed so controlling and so limited. So closed minded. I’d learned too much about abuses in different churches. It was all too culty, I thought. So the term “God” was too associated with religion to me. I didn’t use it, really. And when I did, I think I meant “universe.” But still… I did have a sense of a personal God, or… I secretly preferred relying on a personal God, even though I didn’t like the word because of what I associated it with. And didn’t know if that was actually how it worked.
And then, not long after this, I went deeper and deeper into energy work. I thought this was the way to be closer to God. I thought this is what I was supposed to do, to understand God… or the universe… or myself… And I thought it was what I was supposed to do to fully heal. I thought that if we were all truly free of our earthly programming, and our energetic blocks and trauma, we would all be physically healed and intuitive and psychic, little g gods co-creating with the universe. Or something like that.
And as I’ve said before, things seemed to go really well: a new career, book deals, freedom around food, lots of social media followers… but it also came alongside some pretty intense new health problems, and a deepening confusion and discontent under the surface. Still, on the outside, things looked great. Look at everything I’ve manifested! Or, look at everything the universe/God has given me!
So, that’s why I believe in some version of God.
But the next layer of the question, on the newest part of my God journey, is actually way harder for me to answer, beyond what I’ve already said in my God Stuff posts: Why am I now believing in a more traditional version of God? Why do I now believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And, how can I be so sure?
Why Do I Believe in the Version of God I Do Now
Well, the short answer is, as I’ve parsed out in earlier posts about this, is that I started to actually believe in dark, demonic spirits. I started realizing that I had opened doors I didn’t mean to open, through different spiritual practices: seeing Shamans, trying to connect to spirits on the other side, trying to build psychic abilities, and more.
And I started believing in the counterforce: God.
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The slightly longer version is…
The more stories I heard, on how all of my spiritual practices were actually opening doors to make contact with whatever spirit wanted to answer, I started realizing that… I had dark spiritual influences on my life. I was ridden with anxiety. I’d lost my trust in God, because I had been taken over by the lie that I was God. That everything what in my control. That I had to save myself. The more I learned about the reality of the world, the more I became hopeless. Everything went wrong. I felt incredibly isolated. And all of this happened by my following the same principles I followed before that led to such seemingly “great things.”
I remembered some times when I’d been particularly involved in these spiritual practices, when I’d started getting very dark intrusive thoughts, which I’d never experienced before. I also remembered a time when… I was standing on a subway platform in NYC, back when I lived there, and I heard, what I can only describe as a terrifying, demonic voice over the speaker, only for a few seconds. It was deep and low and growling, and I don’t know what it was saying, but it was loud. Even though the subway intercom was usually a pre-recorded voice… I assumed some nut job had somehow hacked the intercom system. I looked around at all the other people on the platform, expecting them to look back in horror or confusion. But no one looked up. It was like… no one heard it at all. Only me. I couldn’t explain that one, so I tried to forget about it. But more recently I’ve remembered.
In fall 2022, I kept hearing these stories from people who’d converted to Christianity after being involved in mediumship and psychic work and other new age and trendy occult practices… Why? Because their life had become unmanageable and dark. Their mental health was terrible. And they were feeling plagued by… demonic dark stuff. Stuff I didn’t even believe was real before, but now, upon reflection on my life… I did.
These people turned to Christianity because Jesus, another name that triggered the hell out of me… (literally, LOL) is the antidote to the darkness. I kept hearing over and over that his incarnation, and death, and resurrection, defeated the darkness, and so now, while we are still on earth, we can get under his protection. You can call on his name, and the darkness flees. Crazy, I know, but now… I feel like I have experienced it.
Jesus can and will spiritually protect you, in ways you cannot protect yourself. And then, if you let him (and not everyone does) he will transform you and your heart, slowly, into someone who is more like him. You are not promised the things of this world. That’s what the darkness promises: fame, money, glory, power, beauty. You are promised a new heart. And a relationship with a God who loves you, and guides you, and protects you.
And yes, I get all of the resistance. All of the but this is so weird. Why would God do it this way? Any logical rebuttal to the story in the Bible — I get it. As I’ve said, this sounded stupid to me before. Like… why this reality. It seemed too specific to be real. And, in many ways, too illogical. But, the more I listened, and read, and researched, and prayed, and doubted, and resisted, and asked, and got my prayers and questions answered, the more, in time, I came to believe. And I came to believe largely by noticing the change in my own life. I came to be so so thankful that I could truly rely on a loving God who could protect me and guide me. Don’t get me wrong, again, I had a lot a lot of doubts. I still have outstanding questions. But in the big picture, I believe. I now understand the love, and the goodness, and the forgiveness of God, even though in our culture God and Jesus have been branded as badness. But despite all the reasons I was turned off by it before, I can now see the goodness, and the love, and the guidance, and the protection, and the redemption, and the transformation, in others, and in myself. And so, I believe. And I surrender. And I trust more than ever before.
I had been a stupid little witch. And I had been treating God, when I even believed in God, like a genie. And I had been treating myself, too often, like God. I had been thinking that I could act as a God in my life, by doing spiritual practices that actually opened up relationships with dark things pretending to be good. I had no idea. And I was lured in with shiny, beautiful promises, and at first, everything looked great. And then, everything got dark.
I repented to God for all of the stupid things I did. All the ways that I thought I knew better. All of the ways I wanted superficial things. All of the ways I didn’t trust. And he forgives me, because that is what God does.
And now… honestly, I am much, much happier than I was. My mental health is so much better. My anxiety is severely reduced, if not almost gone. My sleep is so much better. I feel close to God in a way I never have before. In a very simple way. A way that does not require psychedelics or meditation or anything but a very human way of talking to God. Asking for help. Surrendering to an intelligence and power far greater than my own.
Some people have very dramatic changes, experiences, deliverances. Mine is subtle. So subtle I sometimes wonder if it’s even real. But, it is. It’s a distinct change for the better.
I know it sounds crazy. Like, I get it. I get that this post didn’t really explain what is nearly impossible to explain. I understand there is a gap in this explanation. That’s what so hard about this question. But how do you know? How are you SURE that Jesus is the one who does all of this? What if it is all in your head?
If it is all in my head, then it has been the most successful and liberating mind “self-help” experiment that I’ve ever done — this idea of a personal God who loves you, and cares about you, and knows you deeply. Who knows better than you could ever know what you need, not only what you need to thrive, but what will help to turn you into the person you are meant to be… and not only for you, but for everyone too. Yes, it’s a lovely worldview. If it is just placebo effect self-help, and it’s helped my mental health that much, then great. But the thing is, it doesn’t feel like self-help at all. I didn’t help myself this time. God helped me. And I tried for soooooo long to help myself. I tried everything. Every modality that’s out there. But I didn’t have to do it. I just had to finally surrender and admit that I am not God. That I can’t do it by myself. To accept the things I previously refused to accept. To trust there is a bigger plan and a more beautiful purpose than I could ever see or understand. I had to realize that, left to my own devices, I was up shit’s creek, without a paddle, surrounded by demons who I’d thought were my angel friends.
I’ve also heard enough personal stories with even more obvious and dramatic demonic deliverances and miracles — stories where I just continue to believe more and more. I know there are fake stories. I know there are charlatans. I know there are terrible people who hide behind the church, and use the name Jesus ‘in vain.’ But I also know that all of these stories cannot be fake. And I know there are people who have been truly transformed, slowly and surely. I feel it myself.
And no, I still haven’t been dramatically healed of my health stuff, the original reason I left God, and believed I could be my own God. But, I feel at peace about it. And there are actually some shifts that are helping my health in slow and steady ways, like my healed sleep. And so, my own subtle shift into someone more calm and more hopeful, someone who sleeps better and has surrendered their life to a trustworthy and loving God… for now, it’s enough for me. And it’s all I have so far to prove that it’s real. And that won’t be enough for most people, but it’s enough for me.
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