To continue then, the next line reads:
"Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be."
Right out of the gate, I envision laptops snapping shut after reading that line. The atheists insisting there is no God. Another significant portion of the world, railing at the idea that the Divine, is referred to as "God" & "him."
I most certainly do not claim, to have the definitive inside track to the divine. I don't know who you are, but I know, neither do you. If we can get that out of the way, and have a discussion in terms of "possibility" and mystery, maybe you'll reach the end of this post. I'm not trying to promote my view or discount the view of others. I don't need anyone to share my view and I'll listen to yours, but I'm not interested in it being force fed to me.
To some degree I would say the choice of the words (God & him) reflect conventions of the era Desiderata was written. I don't wish to discount, discredit or diminish what has occurred with respect to the feminine aspect of the divine over the centuries. I accept to be true that there is continued healing and work to be done in that realm as well as; to focus exclusively there, is very limiting and places the limitless, infinite divine, in another limiting finite box.
So do what you need to do; to make the suggestion from Desiderata palatable, and then in the context of what was said before it, and that which will follow, examine it for yourself.
I believe, the assigning of gender to the divine as exclusively one or the other, is erroneous. I believe both exist equally. Further I believe that people the world over, create the image of the divine, to suit themselves, according to whatever they most need it to be. So for example someone that renounces a male or female oriented deity; correspondingly has unhealed "issues," with that parent and ongoing history of angst relating to that corresponding gender (or anyone that has similar energy to the "offending parent."
No paradigm that excludes the masculine or the feminine works for me. They are present in all human beings, regardless of what "gender" the individual "identifies" with.
I would say - where the divine is concerned, whether you call it God or Goddess... you are not at "peace" with it - if you are denying "half of it." Given the existence of both energies & and aspect of the divine within me, if I'm repressing/rejecting to varying degrees, part or all of one energy, the other or both... I'm rejecting myself (and the divine). No peace there, I can assure you.
I'm no authority on the source or path to peace.... but I could extensively and comprehensively outline what isn't the path. In that respect I'm not uniquely wise or gifted, nor do I have some special connection. I was compelled to seek a path to peace (which is an ongoing work in progress) when my life drove me to my knees. My seeking is not a demonstration of superiority or virtue on my part; it was necessary to save my life. Seeking the peaceful answer represents a necessity to me. I'm not interested in debating the existence of a path that works - I want and need, a path that works.
The masculine and feminine energies within me were bestowed by the Creator as part of "creation." Certainly I am free to reject this gift in part or in whole. I've never found peace in doing so & I've never met anyone, that was at peace through doing so.
Humanity hasn't learned to live a balanced approach to much of anything. Even some of those that honour "nature" - ignore that both energies exist in that very nature.
Any one can make an argument for their world view and while a vice-like grip is maintained on that view, ample "evidence," will present to support it. It doesn't mean one has the monopoly on the whole truth, it just means, they can see only, what they are willing and allowing, to be seen.
Gender specific deities don't have to mean one is at odds with the opposite sex - there can be those with a balanced world view, but it's just as likely that there are those, that are hiding from the more painful parts of themselves, through wide scale renunciation.
The way I see it, this whole post is composed in finite language, & barely scratches the surface of this matter of the divine. My experience is, the more widely I'm able to accept myself, others, life on life's terms and take responsibility for where I'm at, with all of it - the more peace I feel.
I don't need to agree with anyone's view to listen to it. The sharing of it might reveal something to me that will become assimilated into my awareness. Or it might prompt me to explore further what was said or the path you are espousing.
I have found through my life .. those times went I adamantly defended what I thought I knew; (or what I wanted someone else to believe I knew) were the times, when I was the most uncertain and scared. I clung to my position like a drowning man grasps a life preserver (again - No Peace!)
I'm inclined to believe ... believe what you want, but if in order to present those views, or if someone questions them; & you fly into a rant, there is no peace. I don't want to just talk about my beliefs, I want the path I follow, to be embodied in a peaceful way of being.
I can't and won't try to define the divine. For me, those that claim theirs, to be the definitive viewpoint hold to something far too small - essentially they have wrapped the divine in their own ego projection.
It is enough for me to acknowledge it exists and then continue to ask what are the implications of this, and how is it meaningful to me, one day to the next.