It is interesting to think about how much time we spend wondering how we are viewed by others. We wonder how we look to other people and consider the things we’ve said, done, worn, etc. The reality here that may give us some solace is that most people aren’t wondering what you’re doing. They are thinking too much about what they’ve done. Even when we are criticizing others, it’s often to make ourselves feel better or superior.
The amount of time we spend evaluating ourselves can take many forms. It can lead us to deep and fruitful self-reflection. It can help us understand why we feel a certain way. It can draw us towards Christ when we’ve looked away and walked away. On the other side, it can lead us to overwhelming self-hatred and despair. We are typically much more merciful to others than we are to ourselves. It can be difficult to give ourselves the love and mercy that the Lord gives us.
In His unconditional, flawless love, our Lord stays close to us, regardless of how close we feel to Him. He stands alongside each of us through our darkest times and our most joyous and peaceful times. He welcomes us through every circumstance and choice. When we feel the ugliest, He sees beauty. Our true selves are always in His sight. If we could see even a speck of what He sees, we would be better able to bounce back from our missteps.
If what we truly seek is to be people who foster thriving relationships that serve others, we have to put the work into serving our relationships with our Lord. A simple, not easy, answer is to keep our eyes on Him. When we’ve looked away, to look back. When we’ve walked towards unhealthiness and served ourselves, He’s still looking at us…so turn around and walk back. If we spend too much time in the “pig pen,” and condemn ourselves over and over again, we’re entering the role of judge…which isn’t ours to take.
We often judge others, knowing it’s not who we are and not our job. We must also remember that it’s not our job to judge ourselves. Our day by day, moment to moment work, is to look back at Christ when we’ve lost our way. As we know from the story of the Prodigal Son, He “came to Himself,” and then got up and went back to His Father’s house. He didn’t waste time hating himself in the pig pen.
Receive His love and forgiveness. Welcome comfort and peace. Give yourself plenty of grace and mercy. Yesterday is gone. Take your eyes off of your missteps and look towards Christ. Pray that He keep you aware of the true self He has given you to be.
If we want to be our best, we have to welcome our Lord’s forgiveness and love.