This topic is inspired by some prayer and healing that I’ve been experiencing of late. It also brings to mind many key ideas brought up by my LWGL sister, Michelle, in her reflection on overcoming perfectionism here.
On a recent morning, I was sitting in my usual morning prayer spot, coffee in hand, and I started reading through my typical morning prayer routine. I started sitting, chewing, and meditating on some of the pieces of Scripture when I heard a voice say, “I am pleased with you.”
You are pleased with me? Is that you, God?
I didn’t receive any kind of answer, aside from a knowing within me that it was indeed Him—God, my Father.
These words didn’t particularly relate to the Scripture I was meditating on, so I sat with these words and pondered them. Then I realized how difficult it was to believe that God is pleased with me. I’ve often gone through life believing there was something inherently wrong with me, or that I had to prove my worth. “I’ll be enough when I [do this thing]…”
As I sat longer with these words in this time of prayer and stillness, I realized that God was inviting me down a path of restoration in a critical area I needed healing in. To believe that I, indeed, was pleasing to Him, and to accept Him into my heart and life in a more profound way.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent years trying to prove myself to God, to prove that I was good enough and holy enough and austere enough to be loved by Him. I had it totally wrong for so long!
I was enough (and apparently pleasing!) to God before I’d ever been created. And so are you.
Maybe this isn’t big news to you, but it has really rocked my world lately (lol). I mean, I suppose I always knew (in my head) that God loves me and delights in me, but there was a part of me that still struggled about Him being OKAY with the fact that I’m a sinner. I mess up, make mistakes, and don’t always love my neighbor perfectly. These things are true of me—on a daily basis—and He is still pleased with me?
Well, of course God isn’t pleased by my sin. He loves us so much that He doesn’t want anything to separate us, and that’s what sin does. But even in my sin, He is pleased with me as His child. I’m a daughter He loves and delights in, one He approves of, and one He is pleased with.
Wrap your head around that for a second. The God of the universe who calls you to great things, to perfection, is pleased with you, with the person you are, at this very moment.
This is a really big deal. Why? Because it means that we are free to be ourselves. We can know, without a doubt, that in our imperfection and rawness, we will still be unconditionally and infinitely loved. Utterly.
God is so kind to us in telling us that despite our shortcomings, He’s on our team, cheering us on. He’s already there, wanting to root us into an unshakeable foundation, where we can rest and find our safety in Him—just as we are, right now.
After I sat with these words long enough, I realized God wasn’t done with this little morning lesson. God is pleased with me, but He wants me to believe that, deep in my core. You know why? Because I need to work on loving myself more deeply, with an unabashed acceptance of all that I am—and am not! And that’s all good. ‘Cause He’s pleased with me!
When we can stand more firm in the truth that God is pleased with us, as we are right now, we can learn to accept ourselves more fully. And when we can do this, my friends, we are starting to become very dangerous (in a good way) tools in the hands of God. When we can embrace ourselves fully, we dip our toes into an interior freedom that opens new horizons for us. At that point, we make room for the Spirit of truth to lead our hearts and minds more. And we know that “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
When we start to enter into the freedom of our real identity as children of God, the enemy of our souls and lives loses power. Emboldened by the Spirit who has revealed the truth to us about who, and WHOSE, we are, we can respond more fully to the call to love God with all we are, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Can you imagine the kind of world we’d live in if we all did just that, in greater freedom?
And that’s not all. When we can believe, wholeheartedly, that God is pleased with us, we might dare to go an extra step and become pleased with ourselves. Not in a selfish or vain kind of way, but to appreciate and value ourselves as we are, imperfection and all. To accept ourselves so heroically that we can then turn to the person to our right and to our left and shout, “You are amazing! Do you know that!? I’m so happy to be sitting alongside you, dear friend!”
And God is telling us we’ve already got all the ingredients to start our heroic journey! He’s pleased with us, so we know He loves us and has our backs. And we know that His grace is sufficient and with Him all things are possible!
Doesn’t St. John Paul II hit the nail on its head when he says,
It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives…”St. Pope John Paul II
Yes! That is true. Deep within me, and I’m going to guess that deep within you as well, there lies a desire for greatness, to do something great with your life, to give of yourself in an all-consuming way…to the point of heroism.
So, friends, if by any chance you don’t know that God is pleased with you, I invite you to sit with God for a moment and ask Him about that. Let Him reveal it to you, until it’s etched deep into your bones. And then, go pick up your sword and shield, and become the hero of your own great story!