Wrestling with God

Reading time: 4 min

Feeling hopeless is both a symptom and a cause of chronic illness. A deficiency of hope causes degeneration and corruption of our actions. Our diet becomes too difficult. Chocolate becomes irresistible. We no longer have enough time to workout. Our thoughts become infected with rationalizations and defenses against our weaknesses and faults.

Without hope we can find little to live for. Work, health, relationships, finances feel less meaningful, more complicated.

Time, health, energy, money and love seem increasingly scarce.

Hopelessness is the inevitable result of desiring what is harmful to you and fearing what is beneficial. At some level you know your “sick” desires and fears will result in misery. You are fighting with nature, your own nature.

Eating “non foods” that are genetically engineered, grown using synthetic fertilizers, sprayed with poisons, stripped of nutrients, overcooked, bleached, colored, flavored and preserved with chemicals is not good for you. It makes you fat, sick, tired, stupid, mean, anxious, ugly, aged, sterile and poor.

To eat fruit and almonds and drink pure water is natural and wholesome. To be compelled to eat bagels or chocolate, or to require daily coffee or wine is unnatural and destructive. Because it is unnatural it requires inordinate amounts of effort and expense to do it. The end result of wrong desire is always suffering, regret and despair. (That’s what makes them wrong, sick, foolish, stupid.)

Trying to sustain a way of eating that both poisons and starves your body drives your mind insane because this behavior IS insane. In other words you feel miserable both physically and mentally but you can’t quit because you need the fix.

I like to use the New Year to ruthlessly evaluate my successes and failures in the preceding year and open my heart wide and call out to the Gods of my dreams to come inhabit me. I yearn and beg and pray to be the man of my dreams. I allow myself to cringe and cry at the ways I let myself down, the ways I refuse myself what I most want and continue to poison and hurt myself; the ways I lack faith in my own greatness and power.

I wrestle with my cowardice to even admit that I want the good I want. I feel how my fear of failure keeps me from even the most faint hope that I might try again where I always fail, where I’ve never succeeded, where I believe I am uniquely incapable.

This is wrestling with God, my god. I have to get down to what I really love, what I want and hope for. I wrestle with my firm convictions that I am not capable and certainly not worthy of such greatness. It feels, if you would, “blasphemous” to even utter the prayer for such greatness such nobility, courage, manliness. Equally daunting is wrestling to be able to even admit to myself, to voice one feeble prayer that I would be stripped of my cherished addictions or indulgences.

It’s frightening, agonizing. But I know no other way.

I can’t live without hope. I really, really do hope to be a living god. That’s what I really hope for. Sounds so arrogant I can barely write it. Better said, I want to be the best man I can be. I want to be what any man can be. I want to perform my most ordinary human actions, my thoughts, words, deeds with kindness and intelligence. I want my actions to match what I know to be true, good and beautiful.

And I am afflicted with believing that I know very well what greatness requires of me, at least a few things, at least right now. This scares me, it intimidates me. I’m afraid somebody, anybody might point out to me what I know all too well, that I have very real faults and shortcomings. I might have to do what I perceive as the difficult work of living up to the greatness I long for.

My cowardice, shame, embarrassment, unworthiness seem insurmountable. The God in me is passionate, pure hearted, wise, fearless goodness. Though I flee the contest at every opportunity, I find nowhere I can hide. So we wrestle.


“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it!
Boldness contains genius, power and magic.”  ~ Goethe

If you can do it, THEN DO IT.
If you can’t, admit it and seek help. ~ AA saying

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

She who hides her illness
Can never be cured.  ~ African proverb