One of the hardest things we can do is look at ourselves honestly. Often our view is distorted. We think we have so many faults no one could love us, or we may have a hard time finding any faults. In this chapter, we are going to look at areas of ourselves we’re tempted to ignore. Even from ourselves and God. We’re afraid to face whatever parts of ourselves we don’t like. I’ve learned if we don’t acknowledge our weaknesses, we will find it hard to love ourselves or others in a complete manner. Don’t judge yourself when you realize your weaknesses. In fact when I face them, I usually imagine Jesus looking at me with love. We aren’t perfect and never will be. We all have weaknesses. Does that make us any less loved by Jesus? I will delve further into that thought throughout the coming chapters.
What are some of the things we like about ourselves? You can write them down if you like. This may be difficult if you’ve been taught not to brag about yourself. I don’t see it as boasting. I see it as reflecting on the gifts God has given you. If you like, list your skills and actions that help others. At some point, I hope you can go deeper and talk about your spirituality, your relationship with Jesus, etc.
Now, how did it make you feel as you wrote them? Good about yourself? Uncomfortable?
Next, I encourage you to write some of the challenges you have. For example, finding it hard to meet others; or even as simple as finding it hard to be at work on time. This can be uncomfortable because it’s difficult to see ourselves in this way. However, don’t judge yourself and remember we all have challenges.
Now comes to the most difficult part. There are characteristics about ourselves that we need to acknowledge and work on. For example, we all have prejudices. This is very hard to acknowledge, but we all have them. It could be a different culture than yours, a different age range, or any number of things. I know this is not easy but necessary in being honest with ourselves. I will explain one of the reasons why later on.
Who are the people in your life you have found it impossible to forgive? They probably hurt you deeply, and you may wonder how you could forgive them. You have every right to be angry and hurt, but how long do you want to carry those feelings which rob you of peace? Now it’s no longer them hurting you, but you hurting yourself. Hate and anger are awful burdens to bear. They drain us of the energy we need to live life completely. You need to work through your feelings and think about how they have affected your life. I’m not saying this will happen overnight. It takes time and often needs someone to help. I’m not asking you to forget what was done or condone it. I am asking you to rely on Jesus; He will help you find the will and courage to forgive.
When I was able to forgive the people who had sexually abused me, I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. They no longer controlled me or my life. In no way does it mean I condoned what they did. My dream is to help others who have been abused know they can lead a joyful life and that sexual abuse can be worked through. Never forgotten, but worked through. Another aspect of ourselves might want to be in control over others. This makes it hard for the light of Jesus to work through us if we want to control. Only you know what areas you need to work on. Again, I ask that you please not judge or condemn yourself. You are doing a reflection that many people find very hard to do and are too afraid to try. You have accomplished a great deal for going through this exercise. Congratulations!
This is the last reflection. Take a moment and relax, close your eyes and go to the deepest part of yourself. Imagine the most glorious light you have ever seen. This light has a powerful love and splendor which we have no words to explain. This light is small yet at the same time seems endless. Goes through your entire body. It is complete goodness, hope, and
completely free of stress, fear, hate, and worry. It is peaceful and knows Jesus is living and breathing within this light. This light was there before you were born and will be with you in heaven. This holy light is you! It is Jesus who dwells in you. Jesus is a part of you!
As you become aware of this, what does it mean in regards to the way you live your life? How does it make you feel knowing you have the wonderful light of Jesus within you? For me it is a joy I find hard to express. I have experienced this light many times and am always grateful, humbled and overjoyed. To think that Jesus is within me is such a blessing.
In this chapter we have looked at the gifts Jesus has given us and also the challenges and weaknesses we have. We have realized that even with our weakness, the light of Jesus is within us. Deep inside we have goodness and love far beyond human understanding. What a wonderful gift Jesus has given us, alleluia!
Reflect on the questions I asked in this chapter. What are the gifts Jesus has given you?