I'm just going to come out and say it.
God doesn't care what we call him. And you know why I believe this? Because I've had a relationship with the divine for my entire life, and I've called It/They/Him/Her by so many different names. The feeling of connection has ALWAYS been the same.
I have a very firm belief that as humans, we are able to use whatever name that resonates with us when we speak of or speak to the divine. I don't think the energy that created us cares what we call it. I don't think it desires to be called any one particular name. And I truly believe that our desire to have other people refer to or connect with the divine in the same way that we do is more about being right than it is about anything else. Yep. I said it. Our desire to recruit people into our way of believing is about fear of being wrong.
I truly, honestly, deep down believe to the core of my soul, that all the words we use are just words for the same thing. Because we all have our own life experiences and come from different places. We speak different languages depending on where we're from- that's where all the differences come into play. The point is using a name that resonates and makes sense to where you are on your journey.
Here's the list I often use and quick definitions from my perspective only. (Remember, you are free to see and interpret this anyway you want).
God - this name is the generic one, and the one I use most often because it gets right to the point. The problem, though is that people have a visceral reaction to this name- because it's been used for justify all kinds of horrible things throughout history. All kinds. No wonder people cringe and shut down. It's typically associated with Judeo-Christianity in the western world, and all of the baggage that comes with it.
Goddess - this one resonated with me for a long time, and I still tap into my view of the creative energy of the universe as feminine when I need to connect with that part of myself. This one is usually associated with Neo-Paganism, Wicca, Witchcraft and other forms of female-centric spirituality.
Spirit - some say this is new-agey. Some call it fluffy, some think it's not direct enough. But to me, it works and also allows for interpretation.
Higher Self - you could see this as the divine part of you, or the deeper part of you.
The Universe - This one is my favorite, because it's a great metaphor for all that is. And in my view, the divine is literally EVERYTHING. You, me, that tree over there, the chair you're sitting on. Everything.
And there are so many others. There are people who look at the various aspects of Divine energy and choose to address each aspect of that as an individual entity. This is really helpful if you're looking to bring more of a certain kind of energy into your life.
Now that we have that out of the way- what if you could just open up and talk to God without having to use a name first? Would God hear? I think so. I actually used to do this regularly after I dropped off the kids in the morning. I'd just drive and talk - "Hey it's me again... this is what's going on, I'd love some insight. Thank you for everything, Amen."
Bottom line, the energy is there whether we name it or not. It will respond to you whether you name it or not. Because of this when I pray, I often close with "In Your many names I pray."
What do you usually call the divine? What resonates with you?