I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools for 12 years. I’ve received all of the sacraments except for Holy Orders (becoming a nun or a priest) and Last Rights (blessing before you die). I haven’t practiced Catholicism in 10+ years, but on the occasion I visit one for a wedding or a funeral, I still know when to kneel, sit or stand and can recite the proper responses automatically. I miss the look of sunlight as it poured through the stained glass windows. I miss the hymns. But that’s it.
Sadly, I wasn’t taught how to have a relationship with God; I wasn’t worthy of one. Most prayers were recitations and those I heard that were not, addressed God as, “Lord.” So that is how I addressed Him on the occasion I decided to pray. Luckily we found a wonderful church in 2008 that taught me I was worthy, I was loved. I learned about grace and unending second chances. I learned how to develop a relationship with God. I got to know Him and I now speak to Him all the time.
However, I still addressed Him as Lord. It was solely out of habit and every time I said it or thought it, I’d stumble in what I wanted to say. It made me uncomfortable to call Him Lord and so I’d pause, mentally shake my head at myself, think of another word to use and by the time I did, the momentum of my prayer was gone. So many others whom I admire and look up to for spiritual guidance address God as “Jesus”. When I find myself using the word Lord, I back up and start over with Jesus.
I don’t think it matters what you call Him – God, Lord, Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, Mother Earth, The Force, etc. I believe we’re all referring to the same Being. So why did it bother me when I called Him Lord? I finally figured it out in the wee hours of the night yesterday. Lord is a title; Jesus is a name. Lord is formal and it usually refers to a ruler, not a Father. Jesus is the first name of the God who took a human form and suffered and died for all of us, including me. That’s how much He loves me! I couldn’t have a deep, intimate relationship with someone I addressed by their title but I can with someone whom I’m on a first name basis and who also knows what it’s like to be human.
You know what else I realized in those wee hours? I don’t have to call Him anything! You know why? Because I don’t have to summon Him from the other room. I don’t have to let Him know that what I’m saying is directed at Him. He’s here, with me, all the time! He never leaves my side. He actually hears everything I say, regardless of whom it’s directed towards and whether or not I want Him to hear it. ;o)
After that A-HA! moment, lying there in the dark, the hubs and B still sound asleep, this warm peace spread through me, starting at my heart. And when it reached my face, my mouth just spread into a big smile. He was telling me He was proud that I’d finally figured that out.
So now when I talk to Him, I start with, “Hi” or “Hey there” or I just start saying what I want to tell Him without any introduction. Because He’s there’s, always and ready to give me His full attention.