A. W. Tozer famously wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A few sentences later Tozer further observed, “Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.” Our “real idea of God” is not the idea we mentally give assent to or verbally agree with; it is the idea about Him that we feel deep in our gut. And this “real idea of God” is so deeply flawed in all of us that it absolutely requires “a painful self-probing.” This painful probing is necessary, not only to “discover what we actually believe about God,” but also to move beyond it into a belief in and relationship with the true person of the God who actually exists. What comes to your mind when you think about God? Have you ever admitted to yourself what you really think about God?
So often we deal our real thoughts about God (thoughts that I believe can be quite suspicious) by either shushing the deeper narrative we tell ourselves, or by taking our life into our own hands and then making some kind of life for ourselves on our own terms completely without God. Neither path leads to life. I believe the healthiest first step of dealing with what Tozer calls the “a painful self-probing” process is to just take the bold step and do what I have come to call “cough up the fur-ball” – coughing up all my “real ideas of God” (the construction of God I’ve created in my head and heart), examining them, dumping that which is false, embracing that which is true, and begin the process of re-aligning my life in the capital “R” reality of life before God as He actually is, not as I’ve constructed Him in my head and heart. What fur-ball do you need to cough up?