The other day I was scouring the internet looking for a quote to share on my Instagram feed that would express some type of sentiment about “the quest for happiness” and I came across a quote from a man named Steve Maraboli. Now the quote is irrelevant, but my search for a quote deepened because finding this quote also led me to research the quote author since I never want to make the mistake of sharing a quote made by a jerk. My research brought my attention to a book written by Steve Maraboli called, “Pretend God Is Deaf,” and I became instantly shook. I did not read this book, I truly have no idea what it’s even about, but the mere thought of pretending God is deaf led me down a spiral of thoughts and an almost instant state of flow, I knew I had to open up the laptop and start writing.
I do not have any tattoos. Not because I have anything against them, I truly don’t, but because I fear that once I start, I’ll never be able to stop! There are too many people, places, images, and phrases that are important to me… I wouldn’t even know where to begin. So, since writing is the form of art I choose to express myself in, and since it has been so long since I have actually had the time and mental bandwidth to do so, I decided to jump at the chance.
I am a deeply spiritual person of Christian (Catholic) faith but am often so torn with “religion” as an institution. I want to raise my children in a way that they not only “follow the rules”, but also in a way that they learn to let God in and allow their faith to guide them. I want their faith to be a source of strength and joy for them as it has been for me.
But as I put so much of my focus into trying to raise these kids with all the same opportunities for faith in a world where that is becoming more and more uncommon and almost taboo, I’m also suddenly aware of the fact that I am still learning and growing. I fail… constantly. It is so hard to know where to put my focus, and honestly my focus is so often pulled in the wrong directions… how do I ensure that I keep growing in faith and as a person? How do I know if I’m on the right track?
The words “pretend God is deaf” is my answer. All at once I was in awe and almost like, duh of course! This pulls the emphasis away from the rules and to the most obvious answers in an instant.
Here’s what this means to me. I believe and know that Prayer is important. I believe that God hears my prayers for my family, my prayers for the poor, my prayers for the unborn, my prayers for the children of the world who don’t have loving homes, my prayers for victims of crimes, for the sick, for the grieving and for the intentions deep in my heart. I have felt His love and seen His miracles. The power of prayer is real and alive. I also think I place a lot of importance on “what I think is right”- my opinion and views on the way things should be. And believe you me, I let these opinions be known. I somehow think my opinions matter and make me better than the other side. Prayer and opinions are just words.
But what if God was deaf? Do I live like I care about these things?
I don’t know that I always do.
The world is full of people spouting opinions, stepping up on social media soap boxes, or talking about who is wrong and who is right. I don’t want to be one of those people, but I know that I am in many ways. I have very strong opinions, but my proverbial tattoo will remind me that my opinions aren’t what will get me to heaven or make me a better person. It’s my actions. God gave me my mouth and mind, but he also gave me my hands, feet, and heart. How do I treat others? How do I serve? Do I live my values? What do I give? Do I use my gifts and strengths?
I think one of the reasons people have moved away from religion is because they are making it about the institution rather than what it is really supposed to be about, your relationship with God. You can use your religion as a tool, but my belief is that ultimately it’s all between you and God. I also plan to use these words as a tool. “Pretend God is Deaf” is so simple, but it is also challenging us to grow and empowering us with the answers. It’s another way of saying “put your money where your mouth is” or “actions speak louder than words”. It’s the new What Would Jesus Do? Notice the phrase wasn’t What Would Jesus Think or Say? It was What would He Do?
“Pretend God is deaf” inspires action.
So, if I were to ever get a tattoo, it would say “pretend God is Deaf”.
Words to live by if ever there were such words.
But, I’ll likely settle for a bracelet.
(Thank you for the inspiration, Steve Maraboli.)