Our natural instinct is to trust
Because we are creatures of God, we were made to be naturally trusting. We were instilled with innocence. As kids we have no problem believing there is a large, old man that squeezes through the chimney and gives us presents. The belief that a little fairy flies into our room in the middle of the night to leave money when a tooth comes out is not far fetched in the least.
If we look at our childhood, we realize our natural instinct as human beings is to trust what others tell us. This can work to our benefit but it can also harm us. Some of us have too readily believed certain lies that actually discourage what God originally intended for us.
The fundamental truth revealed by Scripture and the life of Jesus Christ never changes.
However, through the centuries, with people, societies, trends of all kinds, we tend to express our faith differently. We interpret and misinterpret. We do our best to make sense and translate scripture into our lives.
But something that’s hard for us to accept is God is perfect, I am not.
I have misunderstood so much of my faith throughout my life and consequently misrepresented it in countless ways. We all unfortunately are subject to imperfectly living out our faith.
Lies we believe
Throughout history, our Church has experienced some significant highs and lows. There have been heretics left and right and there has always been darkness to battle the great light our Church carries within. Our Church condemned heretical teachings like Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Jansenism that made false claims about our faith but they still managed to infiltrate the hearts of some of the faithful.
Some of those strains of thought promote these misconceptions and distortions of truth: Hard is better. The only way to high levels of holiness is through suffering. We are shameful beings and the Lord is disappointed in us. Suffering is a higher calling. We need to earn our salvation. Extreme acts of asceticism are necessary for holiness. The list goes on...
Now, when I learned about some of these, I embarrassingly had this small voice in my head that thought, “Wait, this is wrong? I’m not supposed to believe this?”
We have made progress beyond these confused interpretations of what it is to pursue holiness. But I can say that in my experience and in the experience of so many Christians I know, some of these beliefs are still holding on tight to so many of us.
Shed the old skins
As we go back to our roots and read our Church Fathers, we realize hope is our inheritance, not despair.
As Saint Pope John Paul II claims, “the Good News is always an invitation to joy.”
Here are some truths for you:
God does not delight in your suffering.
God can and does make all things good if you give them to Him.
God only wants good things for you.
God is within you which means we are infinitely good, valuable and complete.
God desires for you to be whole.
The negative emotions and thoughts that enter your mind are not you.
You are Christ who lives in you.
God desires for you to have joy always and forever.
God desires for you to be free.
Life will naturally bring hardships, but the cross is not the end.
Christ has won for us Resurrection.
Resurrection, wholeness, new life is on the other side of every cross. Christ promises that to us and offers that to us, every time.
Shed all the old lies and skins you’ve been carrying that God never intended for you to have. Let go of it all because God wants you to run to him with joyful expectation and with a heart overflowing!
Do I believe God only wants good things for me? Do I believe that it is God that deals out suffering? Do I believe the path to holiness needs to be hard? What are other truths about God and myself that I have yet to truly embrace?
Abba, I believe you are an affectionate father that only wants good things for me. I trust your abundant love. I know you are not out to get me. Open my eyes to who I really am. Help me to see that I am more than the identity I’ve patched together for myself. I am complete, whole, beautiful and good. I am who you are through me. Open my heart to the wonder that I am simply because I am yours.