When your higher power isn't your best friend
Not everyone has or wants a higher power. But for those of us to do, feeling connected to our higher power is not always straightforward. For some people, their higher power is nature or "the universe"; for others, it is some notion of God. What these things have in common is that they take us out of ourselves and help us feel more connected to the whole of Creation (or the universe, if you prefer).
If you're just setting out on your journey to find a higher power, or you've had bad experience with a religion or particular spirituality, feeling connected can be a daunting endeavor. You might be saying to yourself, "How can I connect with my higher power, if that power has been judgmental in my past, or if I was taught to be afraid of it?" The image of God as a father is also very difficult for some people, who may not have had a warm and supportive relationship with their father growing up.
When I first tried reaching out to my higher power, I couldn't figure out for a long time why it was so hard for me to feel a sense of connection. Then I realized that I was expecting judgment from God, and so I could not see God as a friend or ally in any sense. I realized this had more to do with my upbringing and relationship with other people than anything to do with a previous experience of God.
Since then, I have been working hard to reprogram my expectations and at least be open to the idea of a God who is not there to judge but who is on my side. Sometimes I think of a parent with a small child, watching that child blunder and have setbacks, but knowing that with time the child will develop and grow. Not that we are children, but I see a similar process in how we stumble and take a step back for every two steps forward as we develop to become the best of our true selves. In my mind now, God is there, watching me stumble and fall, but always the cheerleader at my side, knowing the great person that I am capable of becoming and wanting only for me to become that person.
If you're struggling with all this, one thing that may help is a little daily meditation. I find that when I am meditating, my defenses go down and I am more open to experiencing things I haven't before. I've even had "dialogues" with God--whether they were really with God or all in my head doesn't really matter--that left me feeling loved and embraced for who I am.
God can be a fraught topic for some, but having some openmindedness and a little curiosity can take you a long way. You just have to be patient. Good luck!