God Loves You, Really

God always loves us just the way we are, and I often say, “No thanks.”

If you’re like me, when you read “just the way we are,” you hear “the way we ought to be.” God will love me when I maintain a peaceful mind, keep all my plants alive, and eat more vegetables. The thing is, God would rather not wait until we’re perfect because though God is infinite, we are not, and I may never become an expert plant tender.

This whole perfection thing, Cynthia Bourgeault says, has been misunderstood. We’re not aiming for perfection. We’re aiming for wholeness.

And wholeness includes those parts of ourselves we don’t much like, the parts we haven’t loved enough, to paraphrase David Whyte. The problem with not loving ourselves is that then we use our faults as a barrier between us and God. We point to them and say, no, I’m broken, I can’t let love in. God is ready to go outside and play, and we say, look at all the work I have to do first.

The French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, writing from the trenches of WWI, said that so few of the soldiers were willing to give their suffering to God. I used to think that because God wants our suffering, God wants us to suffer, but now I think it’s quite the opposite.

Jim Finley says that when you touch pain with love, it disappears. God wants to transform our suffering into love.

It often seems impossible to us that our failings can not only be lovable but also be and become love. It’s impossible for us to work this transformation ourselves, but God can handle it. Really.

So how do we offer our suffering to God, what does that mean? We can’t just wrap it up in a neat little gift box, stick a bow on it, and shyly hand it to God next time we run into each other. Or maybe we can. All that’s needed is a willingness to let love be more important than anything else, a lot of patience, and some attention to the ways God is pointing us toward the “dump your suffering here” drop off station.

Still, this may be a little harder than watering the plants.

6 thoughts on “God Loves You, Really

  1. Really needed this today. “Or maybe we can. All that’s needed is a willingness to let love be more important than anything else.” How did you get so wise so young?
    ACHING but determined, I tried gardening ALL DAY so I could get my bulbs in before the cold coming. I had hoped for two days but alas, as usual, yesterday got away from me. I skipped Saturday dance (hate to) but I knew I needed all day. The yellow “primroses” that aren’t roses at all but a truly viral invasive species, had filled my garden to the brim. Just clearing them took hours. I was all ready to plant when I realized OH NO, IT’s GETTING DARK!!! Nothing would assuage my anger at myself for once again procrastinating too long! I finally breathed, turned the whole thing over to God and came in and ate dinner. I MIGHT get a few more planted in the morning before mass and catechism teaching, but if the weather report is right, I doubt it. Perhaps the angels will gift us with an unseasonably warm Dec. day…… Hoping and trusting. My garden and my God are my joy. It’ll work out.

  2. Good morning Rachel, this is spot on for what is happening in Janet and my life! Thank you for writing this and more importantly reminding us. Happy Thanksgiving and blessings as we move into Advent and Christmas time! Love and prayers, always, Tom and Janet

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