Finally, I’m coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am, that I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself. . . . The unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted, when it has been accepted, it will be my own stepping stone to what is above me. –Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude
I have been meditating on the words of Thomas Merton and James Finley. Each morning, they invite me to have a rendezvous with God in silence and to believe that the desire to please God does in fact please God and that receiving God’s love is what pleases God most. God has awakened me to these truths, and I’ve set an intention to not break faith with my awakened heart.
In my latest rendezvous, Merton, Finley, and God invited me to accept myself as I am. So, as I go through my day, I ask God to help me become aware of who I am. This is what I noticed.
I noticed that I often prefer to be alone, I come alive when I’m outside, and I don’t like change unless it’s my idea. I noticed my attachment to money and the thought that I’m indispensable.
I also began to notice how I interpret people’s words or actions to mean that who I am or what I do isn’t enough. Before I know it, I’m forming a plan to improve myself.
Noticing is freedom. As soon as I notice, I can ask myself,
What if your writing doesn’t need to be more literary?
What if it’s okay that you didn’t call that person?
What if your “mistake” is how you learn?
What if you don’t need to do so much in a day?
What if you “failed,” not because you aren’t trying hard enough, but because you’re trying too hard?
What if being who you are right now is enough?
When I listen to the voice of Love asking me these questions, I begin to accept myself as I am. It’s as if I were an artist painting a masterpiece with Jesus beside me. He says, “You can put your brush down. It’s perfect just the way it is.”
I can see the flaws, and I think that one more touch here or there might fix it. But Jesus gently takes the brush from my hand. “Trust me. If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would know you’re perfect.”
I let his words and the tone of his voice sink in. My shoulders relax and my belly softens. Wonder fills my chest. This is what it feels like to be perfect.
Being perfect doesn’t mean being perfectly loving, perfectly kind, perfectly consistent, or perfectly compassionate. It doesn’t mean flawless. It doesn’t fulfill a universal standard of good or beautiful. It means being perfectly me. And since no one else is me but me, no one else but God and I know what that looks like or feels like.
“Be perfect,” Jesus says, “perfectly you, just as God is perfectly God.”
I was neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change. I resented them and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. Then one day someone said to me, Don’t change. I love you just as you are. Those words were music to my ears: Don’t change, Don’t change. Don’t change . . . I love you as you are. I relaxed. I came alive. And suddenly I changed! — Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird.
∗ ∗ ∗
I joined the You Are Enough 8-Day Tapping Solution Challenge. I downloaded the Tapping Solution app and am spending 15 minutes each day tapping along with Nick Ortner. I love that this is an easy way to allow my mind and body to sink into truth I have awakened to.