Why Do People Say “My God. . .”?

St. Andrew by Jusupe de Ribera

St. Andrew by Jusupe de Ribera

Last night on Facebook a woman I know wrote “My God is a loving, supporting God and has. . .” and ended with “Find your own God and you will find peace.”

I’ve heard that sentiment a thousand times. What does it mean? I do understand the English language and think the person is saying she believes in God, God is loving and supporting, and if the reader will believe in God he/she will find peace.

But that’s not what was written.

Michelangelo painted several variations.

Michelangelo painted several variations.

Instead the concept of God is being claimed as personal and exclusive. When I say “My husband is a loving supporting guy, and if you had a husband you would find peace,” what I mean is he’s mine, I’m not sharing, and go find your own among the masses of men.

This perception of what I hear is one of the reasons (among others) I’ve never been able to blend into religious groups.

The Prometheus by Niclas-Sebastian Adam

The Prometheus by Niclas-Sebastian Adam

My mother did say a word or two about God when I was young enough to believe everything she said. One sentence she repeated several times was, “God loves everyone.” When I was six years old Mother was the one mother I could comprehend, and she was the source of my daily physical and mental comfort, so I listened when she said such things.

I incorporated her statement to mean the one and only God, who I was to believe in, loved everyone, which I took to mean Mother, me, my kindergarten teacher and the boys next door who entertained themselves by skinning live snakes. My small mind has held that nugget of mother dictum as steadfastly as she taught me to appreciate well-prepared food.

Did I hit upon something when I wrote two paragraphs back,

El Coloso by Goya

El Coloso by Goya

“the one mother,” and above that “My mother”? She of course is my mother, not yours,  and you have your own mother whether you know her or not. So, does everyone believe there are many Gods? Like many husbands? Have I missed knowing this by missing church all these years? Is that the secret belief one gets baptized to hear?

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12 Responses to Why Do People Say “My God. . .”?

  1. Bumba says:

    First to dispense with the expression, the manner of speech, “Oh, my God!” It’s a manner of speech, it makes little sense, and let’s dispense with it. As for “my” God, and why people think that they have their own personal God, it’s tied into the childish notion that God is watching and guarding and intervening for them personally all the time. Of course an omnipotent God has infinite time on His hands, but how he could have the patience to listen to several billion little prayers and rosary counts and vain wishes for success every single day of the year over thousands of years running seems a bit of a stretch, even for a celestial being.

  2. I agree, especially when I think of God as a man or heavenly father as so often personified. People seem to need that personal, human-like touch. I think there is something going on. . .but I don’t know what. Thanks for commenting.

  3. ridicuryder says:

    Rebecca,
    I suspect saying you don’t know about God is several times more accurate than saying you do. On the other hand, it doesn’t make me less inclined to figure stuff out 🙂
    Mark

  4. Rebecca I can’t speak for anyone else only me. I used to think ‘Oh God has more important things to do than take time with me,’ but that was really more a reflection of how I felt about me rather than what he says He feels about me. When I say, “My God…” it’s because I have a personal relationship with Him. I guess you could say my relationship with God is just like my relationship with everyone else in my life – what I make it.

  5. Yes, it’s what we all make of it, I think. My only real point on “My God,” is wondering if the person saying it is claiming God for themselves and believing God is owned by them and not everyone. Sort of as in “My church is the one with answers, not yours,” or “God will lead us to victory,” meaning someone else loses because my God chooses me first. All this is only curiosity, not accusation because I also agree with you that God is essentially a personal relationship. 🙂

    • 🙂 I understand completely. I’ve know so many whose relationship with Him is an unhappy one, others who are at peace, still others who see Him only through the eyes of others and have no real knowledge of Him at all. Ultimately, it’s the curious ones, the ones who continually search out, and seek Him that really find him. After all, those who seek, find. So stay curious and keep writing! I enjoyed your post very much.

  6. This is a fascinating topic. I’ve attended church most of my life and heard that statement countless times – “My God…” To my memory, I’ve never once said such a thing, though I do believe I have a personal relationship with Him. But that phrase has always rubbed me a bit the wrong way.
    Though I believe a human relationship to God can somewhat resemble that of a marriage – so the “My God” statement could make sense from that standpoint – I’ve always felt that those words have indicated a level of arrogance. Like, “My God may also be your God, but YOU don’t know Him like (as well as) I do!”
    Thanks for the thoughts!

    • You’ve mirrored my thoughts exactly. It used to really bother me when I heard that (Did I have a thin skin or what?), but now it just seems like childish fear that needs to be special, or like you indicated, arrogant. In either case, it doesn’t bother me now unless it seems to be separating people because of an attitude or agenda.

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