God sees you nothing like you see yourself. When you see damaged goods, He sees something good in the making. When you see your woundedness, He sees healing beyond belief. When you see you sin, He sees redemption.
How do you see yourself? I want you to take a second and really think about this. What thoughts have you had about yourself today?
Odds are, you probably thought about something negative. And why? We often place our worth on the accomplishments we did or did not make, the past we may have lived, the moments that we slip up, what we see in the mirror, or anything else that we wish you could change about ourselves. It’s our human tendency to be our own worst critic. And this never does anyone any good. I don’t know about you, but beating myself up for something almost never led to the change I wanted to see in myself. Honestly, it’s only led me deeper down the path I did not want to be on, leading to even more disappointment in myself.
But none of it has to be this way.
About 2 years ago, I went on a Croatian Catholic retreat for young adults where my heart had been healed in unexpected and unimaginable ways. I had gone into it with a thwarted image of myself after going through heartbreak, switching majors after feeling incapable, doubting my beauty, falling into old bad habits, and feeling completely at a loss with the direction God was wanting me to go in. At that point, my heart was hoping to just feel something. And without fail, it did.
Right before Adoration, a speaker encouraged every retreatant to close their eyes when he said this:
“Ask God right now to show you how He sees you… And do not leave here until you have your answer.”
It was that statement and that hour in adoration that helped me change the way I view myself even to this day. I did exactly as the speaker said. I shut my eyes and cried to God, begging Him to show me what He sees. Then I saw it: a little girl being held in the arms of the Father. She was being hugged tightly before she jumped out of His arms and began to play. The Father got up, tenderly grabbed her hand, and began leading her into an ever-glowing light. And with that, all of the tension in my body slipped away. I saw myself being loved and led. He saw what I could not. He did not show me the very things I disliked about myself or as the failure I thought I was. He showed me a child, wholly loved. He showed me that I was being taken care of, despite my shortcomings. What better medication than God’s pure love is to a searching person? That, my friends, is the antidote.
God sees you nothing like you see yourself. When you see damaged goods, He sees something good in the making. When you see your woundedness, He sees healing beyond belief. When you see you sin, He sees redemption. It’s just as St. Pope John Paul II once said,
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.”
We are not our past, our sins, or our brokenness. We are the sum of His love for us.
When we start to look through God’s eyes, we begin to lose the distorted images that we have conjured up about ourselves. We see His love and mercy, despite all of our shortcomings. We live knowing that God loves without limit. He does not love you anymore than when you are running straight to Him and He does not love you any less when you turn away from Him. Rest assured that anything that you may have thought about yourself today does not make God call you His child any less.
We see so many instances of this in the Bible. Think about St. Paul. He once was no saint at all. In fact, he was the very one to persecute Christians. And yet, after his encounter with Jesus and experiencing a love like never before, he converted to Christianity and even became one of Jesus’ apostles. And think about each time Jesus invited sinners to share a meal with Him, despite the abhorrence of those around Him. God sent His only Son to show us that His love is a gift freely given. These stories teach us that it is through knowing God’s love and receiving His grace that change is initiated. We are never called to remain stagnant, but to grow and be transformed through that which pours out from Him. It is this that will heal us from our negative perceptions – the very thing that will spark the growth that we could not make in our own criticism, even when at times we may still fail.
Therefore, it is when we look through God’s point of view and experience this profound love that our lives truly begin to change.
So, that thought you may have had about yourself today? Try it again, this time asking God to show you how He sees you. Do not stop until you have your answer.