Imagine you are trapped in a small glass box. The only way you can get out is to smash the glass box. However this leads to you getting cut with the shards of glass. The pain takes up all your attention and you forget you are no longer trapped in the box.
Sometimes things happen in our lives which cause us pain; physically, mentally or spiritually. When things like this happen it’s hard to see how this could ever be part of God’s plan for your life. A lot of the time when we find ourselves in these situations we focus solely on the hurt and find it hard to see the bigger picture. All we see are the wounds from the shards of glass, however if we persevere someday we will see that we are now free from the glass box.
In John 13:7, Jesus speaks to his disciples and says “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” Sometimes we can feel this way too, but from this verse we are given hope that although we have to endure terrible suffering it is for a bigger purpose. Of course, sometimes it can be so difficult to see this but if we put our trust in God and persevere we will one day be able to see the reason why.
One of the best examples of this, is surfer, Bethany Hamilton. When Bethany was 13 she was in a shark attack, whilst out surfing in her home town in Hawaii, causing her to lose most of her arm. Her main concern was that her accident would prevent her from surfing, and at first it made it much harder. But this amazing girl persevered and has now helped many others who have had accidents leading to amputations through her charity and despite her disability, became a professional surfer!
She is an inspiration to so many people and a great reminder that there is hope! 1 Peter 1:6 says “So be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”
Remember, through Christ there is hope!
What if we spoke to other people the way we speak to ourselves?
Over the past five days I was at an event run by my diocese called “On the Move” which is a street reach mission trip which aims to spread God’s word and love through serving others. This year we roamed Letterkenny in our (very bright) yellow t-shirts. On the back of them was printed a part of Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbour.” But on the Sunday morning a women came up to me and a few others and said “don’t forget to love yourself, that’s just as important” she was referring to the rest of the verse, “Love your neighbour as yourself”
The women quickly walked on, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what she had said for the rest of the day. It’s true that sometimes in the midst of our busy lives we focus so much on how we treat others that we forget about ourselves. Jesus doesn’t tell us to love our neighbour and hate ourselves, he asks us to love our neighbour and ourselves equally.
I feel that in today’s society people (including myself) sometimes think that if they love themselves it makes them cocky or big headed-it doesn’t! You can still be grounded and love yourself, in fact, the two go hand in hand.
I understand completely that sometimes it’s harder than others to love yourself, but in these situations I take a step back and remember to whom I belong. In Ephesians, Paul describes us as “God’s masterpiece” and in James it says “we, out of all creation, became His prized possession.”
God sees the darkest parts of us and yet loves us as if we were perfect. We need to know that we are significantly loved and that we can love ourselves, just as we love the people we surround ourselves with.
Today I was reading an article about the beautiful Cara Delevigne (my eyebrow role model) and she was speaking candidly about her struggle with depression. The journalist then commented saying how shocked she was to hear these words coming from the mouth of one of the world’s most renowned super models who supposedly “has it all.” Yes, her exterior comes across as if she is a girl full of fun and laughter, but below the surface there is much more.
It’s the same in our own lives. With the growing phenomenon of social media, people are sharing what seems to be their whole life with the world, but are we really? Most of the time we just post the best parts. You don’t see many Instagram posts saying “throwback to the day I couldn’t get out of bed.” Of course it’s ok not to post every little thing that happens to you online, in fact I don’t recommend doing that. The thing with this is that it easy to think that everyone has a better life than you, you think you must be the only person to have a rubbish day. But trust me everyone has those days.
It’s not only online that we cover our real problems with a mask. I know for me my mask is my extremely smiley and loud personality. Yes, usually that is how I genuinely act and feel, but not all the time. And the only person who I’m affecting is myself. Imagine every time someone asks you how you are, you answered truthfully. Most of the time I say “good, thanks” without even thinking about how I really feel.
But the thing is, its ok! It’s ok not to always feel ok all the time. In fact, it’s more than ok. In the Bible Jesus speaks on the sermon of the mount about how broken people are blessed. The amazing thing is that God doesn’t only love us if we are perfect, He loves us for exactly who we are, unconditionally. We don’t need masks, in fact they are pointless when it comes to God because he sees the depths of our hearts, he sees the hurt and the pain and the laughter and joy. Not one bit of us goes unnoticed by him, “the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”(Matthew 10:30)
Just remember, the next time you are putting on your mask, you don’t need to! God sees the real you anyway and still wholly and unconditionally loves you.