Even the most loving parent, like unto your most loving image of God, having brought a child into a fearful world, became subject to the tests of time. Thus did the world become a world of effort with all things in it and beyond it, including God, weighed and balanced against the idea of fear.” (A Course of Love, T4:3.6)
We were raised in a dysfunctional environment—all of us, regardless of how loving our parents tried to be toward us. They too partook of fear, and thus we were nurtured in fear. The world became a place in which we sought the approval of our parents, and this approval became something to earn, something about which we must exert effort.
Our relationships continued from this first one, of parents to children (us). We sought to grow through achievement, our own efforts, and the world became a fairly grim place indeed. We projected this fear upon our image of the God within, though we didn’t know that He was within. Most of us saw God as an external Creator, someone, something like Santa Claus, who knew everything that we thought and did, and weighed it in the balance to decide if we were good little boys and girls. This is indeed a fearful way to view God, and we imagine that this might indeed hurt Him (if the Creator were to have an ego such as we have, which He doesn’t).
So we grew up, supported by our fearful ideas of this world. Only religious convictions can actually save us from the dilemma in which we find ourselves. And these do not necessarily have to be of a traditional sense. God is God of the secular as well. And He will provide. We need only ask, though we are apt to forget the asking part when we are fearful.