The Creation story in Genesis tells us that God not only made us in his image but actually intended us to be like him. How’s that working out for? If you’re anything like me, life’s been a bumpy ride and I haven’t always dealt with it very well. For years I’ve felt like I was too much for people or never enough. Emotional chaos has boiled just below the surface. I’ve faced years of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. My marriage held on by a thread. I’ve been unkind to the people I should love the most, including myself.
We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. — 2 Peter 1:3
I want to believe these words from, Peter, I really do. To that end, I’ve spent the last few years trying to lean in to everything that God has given me. My body, my emotions, my thoughts, my will. Rather than fighting them all, I’ve asked God to reveal his goodness to me in and through my humanity. As I began to approach myself with compassionate love and grace, my fight-or-flight reflex began to calm down. It became easier to be present in the moment, to God, to myself and to others. My inner mental and emotional landscape became clear to me: my patterns of behaviour, coping mechanisms and pain avoidance strategies laid out for me to see and repent of. This allowed me to excavate dark corners of my soul and revealed deep wounds that were ready for healing. Over time, I began to feel emotionally cohesive, steady and whole.
To my greatest surprise, deep within myself, where I feared that I would find only wretchedness and evil, I found a loving God smiling back at me. Under the Law of Moses, the best I could hope for was cleansing from my many sins but under the new covenant of Christ, we can experience genuine transformation in every part of our body, soul and spirit.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. — Psalm 16:7
Call me crazy but I’ve learned to trust and love myself in a way that feels holy and righteous. That doesn’t replace my need for a saviour; it’s happened because of what the saviour has done for me. He calls me Beloved and I am learning to call myself the same. It’s changed everything for me.
Jonathan Puddle is the 2020 winner of the David Mainse Best Blog of the Year Award, and is host of the the popular interview show, The Puddcast. He lives in Guelph with his wife and 3 kids.
You can learn more about Jonathan’s journey (and how God speaks to us through our emotions, thoughts, meditative practices, etc.) in his new devotional, You Are Enough: Learning to Love Yourself the Way God Loves You, available now.
Learn more at jonathanpuddle.com.