For the past few days (ever since I wrote about God-phones actually) I’ve been thinking more deeply about my own concepts of free-will in relation to my personal spiritual growth and challenges. This got me thinking more about people who feel called to be God-slaves, and whether or not there is a distinction between being a God-slave (which I do not identify as) and being God-owned (which I do identify as). Because I sometimes see these terms being used interchangeably, I thought that I’d add my two cents about why I think these two terms can also be mutually exclusive.
First, a little distinction in my terminology: When I say “God-slave” I am talking about someone who has (of their own free will) made an agreement with a God or Spirit of some variety, to do whatever work or actions that being tells them to do when they tell them to do it. No matter what. To serve the God as a servant without arguing or ignoring their request. I have not been called to be a God-slave, so I’m sorry if my explanation here is limited, and I’m sorry if I’ve butchered your definition!
When I say “God-owned” (and I consider all God-slaves to also be God-owned) I mean that a person’s life is deeply touched and influenced by a certain Deity, or perhaps more than one, and that you are their “charge”. This is more involved than a patron/devotee relationship in my opinion (though not necessarily better). I feel that being called by a God in such a way means a few things: Much of your life-work ends up revolving around the work of and for this God and your personal energy is strongly “touched” by them, and your personal gifts and lessons in this life are ones only that God can teach you. Being God-owned, in my opinion, resembles being someone’s child or partner more than it does being a slave. For me, it means that I still possess the free will to ignore the advice or request of the God who holds ownership over me, just like a child may be in a relationship of shared “ownership” with their parents, but still might ignore or disagree with their parents at times (even if it’s to their detriment!). But deepening your relationship with the God who owns you and learning more about them becomes an important aspect of uncovering who it is that you are. That doesn’t work for everyone, and some people need much stronger lines of differentiation!
I think that it was important for me personally to make a distinction between these two concepts, because of the spiritual lessons about free-will and choice that have been such a large part of my growth in the past few years. People that know me well, know that having to make important choices is sometimes INSANELY difficult for me, and learning to cope with that has often been a struggle. For that reason, I think that had I been called to be a God-slave, it would have been extremely easy for me to do it because it would mean I’d never have to cope with making important personal choices for myself. However, it would also mean that I’d never grow into a responsible person who is able to confidently make choices and stick to them (which I still struggle with). So while I can say I’m God-owned, and that my connection to Loki colors many aspects of my life, he has never treated me as a “slave”, because he knows that would only help to stunt my growth and that’s not what he needs or wants from me. He always gives me a choice, even when I feel like he’s beating his head against a brick-wall because I didn’t follow his advice and caused myself some unnecessary grief because of it.
This is not to say that I think all God-slaves are avoiding responsibility. I imagine that the people called to be in a “slave” relationship aren’t always people that just get off on it, or don’t want personal responsibility. Perhaps those people are the ones that need to learn lessons about revoking their control, letting go and trusting, or who need to learn lessons about humbleness and service, and their God/s saw this as the most effective way to teach them that.
The reason that I thought it might be helpful to share these meanderings, is because I think that sometimes we all fall into the temptation of emulating or choosing those spiritual paths for ourselves that don’t make us grow. I’m not saying that everyone who doesn’t like the idea of God-slaves needs to become one because they’re avoiding what they need, but that sometimes we avoid paths that positively challenge us because they’re harder.
It would be all to easy for me to say “Ok Loki! I’m your slave now, so you can make all of those hard decisions for me!” But he and I both know that would be completely detrimental to my growth as a person, even if it makes the road easier for me. Likewise, the people whose Gods have told them “Look, you need to learn that you can’t control everything, so I’m taking control from now on” may find that to be an equally painful lesson. This may make us romanticize opposite paths that won’t really serve us as a result, and to look at the paths that would serve us in a dismissive way. I’m guilty as charged! Choosing to commit to daily practice wasn’t a big part of my life until a little over a year ago, when I got tired of my life being a disorganized mess; But once I did, my life improved in amazing ways, even though it was harder to learn self-discipline than it would have been if a God had ordered me to do it. One person’s medicine can end up being another person’s poison.
In short, I would say that just because you’re God-owned, doesn’t mean that being a God-slave is automatically the right path for you. It may be, or it may not be. But relinquishing your control and choices isn’t automatically the more pious road, and it may in fact be (as is in my case) a hinderance to your spirituality more than a help. What works wonderfully for someone else and helps them grow as a person may end up stunting you. I think a deep level of personal honesty about yourself and your weaknesses is something that everyone should strive for: not so you can beat yourself up about it and try to force yourself to change, but so you can know TRULY who you are instead of who you would like to be, and can therefore mold your life and your practice in such a way that fits your needs instead of someone else’s. This is why I think all God-slaves are God-owned, but not all people who are God-owned need to be God-slaves.