For a while, nothing was going right in Cheryl Abram‘s life. The God she had put her faith in was doing absolutely nothing for her.
So she got rid of Him.
It’s not that her life suddenly got better, but a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders.
She writes about it in her book Firing God (Non-Duality Press, 2014):
In the excerpt below, Abram talks about the time just before she decided to take a leap of doubt:
Living in constant states of disquiet, ungratefulness, unhappiness and dissatisfaction is no way to live and I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I didn’t want to have hope or faith that life would get better “tomorrow”, or when Jesus came back, or when I died and went to heaven. I didn’t want to have faith and trust in a better future or a different outcome.
I wanted to be happy now. I wanted peace now. But I couldn’t just be peaceful or stop being dissatisfied. Peace and satisfaction relied on a certain set of conditions; conditions that were not being met in my life.
I didn’t want to give up my belief in salvation because I still wanted eternal life and all the stuff that came along with being on the good side, so I thought that maybe if I sacrificed more, prayed more, attended church more, tithed more, repented more, helped others more, fasted more… maybe if I did all these things and more, the suffering, pain and depression would subside. I’d feel better about myself and God would be happy with me and give me something for doing all these wonderful things.
So I switched churches, I began to tithe more, I fasted more, I volunteered more, I prayed more, I read my Bible more and I was sure to repent for every little thought I judged to be out of line with God’s Word.
It didn’t work. I tried it all and it didn’t work. I was still miserable.
Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I needed another pastor, another church, a different husband, a different job, a better image of myself, more obedient children, a happier disposition, a healthier body, a more positive attitude, more sincerity, a better relationship with Jesus, more compassion, more courage or less pride. Maybe I needed to make better choices. Maybe I needed to wait a little longer for God to come through for me. Maybe I needed a different mark; a better mark. Maybe I just hadn’t learned my life lesson and problems were just opportunities for me to be more holy, saved, spiritual and dependent of God.
That’s right! I was supposed to suffer and have problems. This was the price, the sacrifice I had to make to be worthy of God’s love. Jesus suffered so I had to suffer. I made a bad decision, not God. I was disobedient, not God. I couldn’t blame God. This was entirely my fault. He was innocent and only wished to love me. I just had to be patient, pray and wait on Him. He didn’t have to do anything for me if He didn’t want to. I didn’t deserve His love at all. Suffering, problems and sacrifice were a small price to pay for what He had already done for me. I sang this song for years. I made excuse after excuse for this God and His inability to keep his promises. Blaming God for anything was not an option. So I remained on my quest to get more.
I had lots of ideas on how I should be better and how I should view suffering and problems and I tried all of them, but I was not satisfied with the results. The result was still misery and unhappiness and a continuation of the tireless and never-ending search for something better. Salvation didn’t work. Saved from what? Hell? The story of Hell is a child’s fairytale when you’re living the reality. When you’re in a fetal position on the floor, thinking of ways you can end your life, and crying until you can’t breathe, while physically feeling the tightness of despair and hopelessness gripping every cell in your body… the story of Hell means absolutely nothing. I didn’t need a Devil or fire and brimstone as punishment for being a sinner. My own thoughts and emotions were the fire and brimstone. My own hopelessness, helplessness and failure at life were punishment enough. An outside agent was not necessary.
Belief in salvation and unworthiness were beliefs in nothing because that’s what they provided me; absolutely nothing.
I’d made a mistake. I’d mistakenly thought that all the work I’d put into limiting and redefining myself would result in a reward, a boon, a better outcome. Belief in unworthiness and subsequent salvation was supposed to get me something more; something better than what I had before. It didn’t. Now I was trapped by what I’d made. I was trapped by my own definition of myself. I was confined in all the concepts and beliefs in my mind. I was at the mercy of the marks I’d made.
I was a 34 year-old unhappy African American woman, mother, sister and wife with no self-esteem and a laundry list of problems. This is how I had redefined myself. I was a person in search of something more. And I was right about this. No one would argue with my definition of myself. This is who I was. While there were moments of happiness, joy, contentment, laughter and beauty they never lasted. Happiness was fleeting and dissatisfaction always overcame contentment. Time always passed and life always ended so I was continually searching.
I was exhausted. I didn’t want to do this anymore.
Firing God is now available on Amazon.