Week Three – Where are we now?

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.Mark 1. 9-11

One of the pitfalls of following a personally reflective Lent is that we can become so focused on our failings that we begin to lose some of our self-esteem. Lots of the scripture readings set for this season focus on our sins and wretchedness or just how difficult it is to be good followers of Jesus. This is, of course, an important element of our spiritual journey so that we can appreciate the enormity of all that Jesus did for us. Our response, however, should be gratitude rather than guilt. Gratitude for his incarnation, gratitude for the cross and gratitude for his unwavering love.

This week I am encouraging you to spend some time experiencing the depth, height and breadth of God’s love for you. A love that is not dependant on our achievements, our appearance, our behaviour. A love that is intrinsic to who we are at our very core. A love that echoes the words spoken at Jesus’ Baptism. ‘You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.’ Carrying these words with us every day can help counteract the voices inside and the voices of society which try to knock us back.

They are words which can empower and heal us after the daily setbacks which threaten our confidence and self-esteem. Whether it is the insecurity felt after a physical failing or the indignation felt when we have been criticised or insulted, the sense of loneliness when we feel ignored or passed over or the sense of inadequacy when we observe what others around us are achieving. None of these experiences change how God feels about us, we are always beloved children of God. Children with whom he is well pleased. Children who are always loved for who we are rather than what we do.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant loving presence in our lives. Help me to truly grasp just how much of a beloved child I am to you. May I see myself through your eyes and begin to love myself as you love me. Amen