I don’t get to enjoy my spiritual growth spurt for long before I’m made aware of more shortcomings. And not imaginary ones either. I’m talking significant habits that drive people up the wall. My first reaction is to cocoon, my second is to draw up a plan to fix myself. Thankfully wisdom intervenes, and I finally sit with God in my disappointment and sadness.
And what does God do? God doesn’t protect me from reality, nor is God intent on fixing me. Instead, God holds me in my sadness, looks at me and loves me.
When God looks at me, I am not viewed through a lens that filters out my imperfections, nor am I seen as I was when first created, or how I will be when I become my true self. No. God sees me as I am–here, now–and loves me. God is not disappointed with me in the least.
As this truth settles into the core of my being, my sadness dissipates. I begin to feel alive and energized. I can trust the mysterious work of God and am at peace with how God does or doesn’t transform me.
A question emerges. What if this is as good as it gets?
What if I never become that person I long to be? What if my shortcomings never leave and I am compelled to survive by perpetually returning to God’s life-giving gaze? And what if God is okay with that?
If that is true, then there is no place I need to get to, nothing that must be attained, and no one else I need to be. The Soul of Christ prayer says, “Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.”
It also says, “On each of my dyings, shed your light and your love.” I don’t need my shortcomings to die, I need to die to the thought that they render me unlovable.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. –Mark 10:21 (NIV)