God doesn’t like me right now.
He doesn’t want to spend time with me.
He’s telling me I better shape up.
I’ve heard these words fall from the lips of people I love in recent days, and my immediate response has been to call those words out like the lies from hell they are:
He always likes you.
His enjoyment of you never ends.
He always, always, always wants to spend time with you.
Those aren’t God’s words to you.
That isn’t his voice.
Why is it so easy for me to see that truth so clearly when it comes to the people I love? It’s another story when it comes to me.
Today is another day of discouragement for me, just like yesterday was. But it’s different from yesterday, in that yesterday’s heaviness had to do with feeling oppressed by the darkness of the world and the powers at work in it that make the light and love that I have inside me feel so small.
Today’s discouragement has to do with me.
Barking, snarling voices in the back of my mind tell me everything I’m doing wrong. They yelp about all the ways I’m falling short and failing. They diminish me. They make everything and everyone else feel so big, almost monster-sized.
They make it hard for me to reach Jesus — to see him or hear his voice or even sit still enough to let him find me.
Thankfully, I have the experience of a really good friendship that has taught me a thing or two about how to receive love in moments when I’m feeling particularly unloveable.
This friend and I have been gifted with many moments of realization in the years of our friendship that the love and acceptance we feel toward the other person might — just might — be the same love and acceptance they feel toward us.
It’s always a healing aha moment when we can turn the tables on ourselves in a particularly heavy moment and offer ourselves this kind of reverse perspective:
Hmmm. If you told me that you feel about yourself the way I’m feeling about myself right now and that you feared I would feel that way toward you, too, I know without a doubt that I’d feel the exact opposite than what you fear.
So perhaps — just perhaps — you feel the opposite toward me right now than what I fear you feel.
Reverse perspectives can be so helpful and such a gift. I think every time I’ve exercised a reverse perspective in a friendship, I have been set free from my heaviness and fears. I’ve been able, thankfully, to accept the possibility of love and open my heart to receive it.
So today, just a little while ago, that is what I did with God.
In the midst of all those snarling voices barking at me, I remembered those responses I’d shared the last few days with people I love who have voiced to me their dark beliefs about God’s perspective of them.
He always enjoys spending time with you.
He always wants to be near you.
He never grows tired of you.
He does not condemn you.
And I turned those words back on myself.
It really helped. Those snarling voices faded away, seen for the lying dogs they are, and the light of God’s truth shined brighter and brighter still.
Today, I’m going to keep moving toward that light. I’m going to keep advancing toward Jesus and the truth he speaks over me.
How might a reverse perspective help you in the midst of your own feelings of shame or discouragement today?