In 2016, Jesus and I set out on a journey of my learning to be kind to myself. In July of that year I wrote, “Be a Friend to Yourself.” In February 2018, I wrote “Be Loved (if You Dare) Now we’re here – April 2019 – and I feel as though I’ve barely taken my first steps on the journey.
Let me tell you something I know for sure: kids are the clearest lens into the heart of God. Watching a toddler grow is slow, delightful, unbelievably frustrating yet deeply inspiring work. When a toddler tries something new it doesn’t matter how comically they fail – the enthusiastic cheers of caregiver and onlookers explode into shouts of “HOORAY!!” accompanied by thundering applause. This toddler is learning that the goal is not perfection, the goal is to try and to grow. They are learning that simply being human is met and sustained by Love.
What does a person look like who is being transformed not just by the existence of Love, but by the deep knowledge that this Love is directed toward them? Could they look a lot like a brave, joyful toddler who trips over their own feet, unfazed because of their mother’s strong, knowing arms setting them upright again?
As I have become more aware of how tragically unkind we are to ourselves, I have begun to see how deeply this self-perception of “unworthy” is rooted in our hearts, minds, and even our bodies. Tendencies as simple as apologizing for talking too much, staying in a job we hate, or indulging in unhealthy eating patterns can point to a lack of belief that every part of us is beloved by God.
This weekend, take note of the little things. The quiet criticisms you make that no one else can hear. The assumptions you have about how people view you. The mediocre habits you keep that show how little you value yourself. Noticing these practices is often the hardest step because they have become so comfortable to us. Ask Jesus to show you and to make these practices repulsive to you as He brings healing, speaking the truth of your belovedness.
Lord Jesus, may know Your love like we know the air we breath. Lead us into deeper gladness than we thought possible as we encounter the kindness You have lavished on us. It is that kindness that leads us to repentance. Thank You for Your unending patience. Amen.