Do you see yourself the way God sees you or do you see yourself as Adam saw himself after the fall, naked and afraid?
Yesterday I was driving our boys to spend a few days with my parents. All was well until 5 minutes before our exit. Traffic came to a complete stop. I waited a minute wondering if maybe there was 1 lane construction. No movement. Then I notice some cars in the emergency passthrough lane attempting to turn around. “That’s not good”, I thought to myself. I check the traffic view on Google Maps and sure enough, there’s an accident a mile ahead. We were stuck. No way forward, no way back. Fortunately, I wasn’t pressed for time so after I came to peace with this temporary reality, I decided to catch up on videos I missed from Matt Fradd. Little did I know how much I needed to hear the inspired conversation Matt had with Fr. John Burns. If you’d like to watch for yourself, you can go here (starting at 1:15:59, but the entire interview is beautiful).
During this part of the conversation, Fr. John describes the internal tension that exists when someone who truly loves us gazes upon us. It’s difficult to receive. Matt relates this tension to Song of Songs 2:14:
Imagine God is in your midst whispering these beautiful words to you, and they reach into the depths of your soul. Part of you wants to run to Him, to embrace this perfect love, to pour your heart out to Him, to be seen, known, loved, and understood. But there’s this other part of you that withdraws, that hides in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, concealing your face. You are afraid: afraid of rejection, of condemnation, of your own reflection. Like St. Peter, you turn away and hide your face, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” ~Luke 5:8.
Can you relate to this tension? Do you struggle to see yourself the way God sees you? Do you really know how God sees you? What struck me most when reflecting on these passages from scripture was the impact this has on how I look at others. If I can’t see myself the way God sees me, how can I see others that way? On the surface it seems possible to love others better than I love myself, but is it true?
I shared with you a few months ago that I was beginning a year long journey in the Resilient Catholics Community getting to know myself better so that I can have a greater capacity to love others. I am slowly seeing the first fruits of this work. This particular conversation between Fr. John and Matt Fradd has inspired me to make a daily effort to accept the Lord’s loving gaze on me, and in-turn look upon my loved ones with that same gaze, delighting in the sound of their voice and the sweetness of their face.