It goes in both directions


Say hypothetically that you or I achieved full health, that fount of youth that our heroes pursued on their lonely journeys, persons of La Manche. Say we, like Tuck Everlasting, or the marvelous “Lucy,” as performed by Scarlett Johansson and written/directed by Luc Besson, became well. Became every bit of our potential.  Say Fortune caught us finally in her gauzy fingers and we no longer were bound by the helix of genetic vulnerability, so much as to say that we are no longer a broken fly, indeed, in a web of inevitable need for salvation.  Would God who is and who is personal be friendly to me?  Or would God who no longer sensed “need” in Her subjects lose interest and wander off into the forest of other brokenness?
That’s a pathological relationship when its function is fueled by brokenness, thinking the brokenness allows for connection and Love.

How bout Me, then?  Would we forget about the One who had tended our hurts, a gentle Giver, like a child moving from one wrapped present under the Christmas tree to another.  Would God serve no purpose in our self-care?  In fact, would there be self-care any more?  Maybe in this hypothetical scene of the perfect human, we would lose connection.  Perhaps we would become like the girl in Hawthorne’s fantastic short story, The Birthmark, who without our imperfections would die, unable to breathe the air.  Unable to receive Love without our flaws.

No.  You and I are more than this.  We are not loved by a God who keeps us in misery for the sake of Her throne, for the purpose of saving us from sickness and suffering.  We are not sought out in a personal intimacy that is, in its own design, sick.

God isn’t afraid of perfection.  Our connection to God who is and who is personal is not threatened by our healthy selves.

Salvation goes in both directions – up and down, when we are doing well and when we are unwell, to our perfect as well as our imperfect selves.

Self-Care Tip:  Let us feel very good to include God who is and who is personal, when confidence lifts.  It won’t jinx Me or my connection to God to value oneself.  Keep on.

Question:  When do you want to connect with God?  Does staying connected with God improve your self-care, even when feeling great?  Have you thought that there is value in connection with God when doing well or poorly?  Is it either-or in any way?  Please tell us your story.

16 thoughts on “It goes in both directions

  1. This is true God will never give up on us and have a personal connection regardless if we are feeling well or not. It is just this money making society wanting to draft us to the feeling of unworthiness so they can make better business from people.

  2. Our society values independence. As we feel better and more competent, we move toward less intimacy and more isolation. A perfect (i.e. complete) person has come to grips with anxieties about dependency and independence. That person will be happy when he can help others, when he can help himself, and when he can gracefully accept the help of others. It is part of his completeness to be able to both give and receive without self-condemnation or anxiety. When we feel self-sufficient, we may cut God out of our lives, but God does not cut us out of His.

  3. I totally agree that “we may cut God out of our live, but God does not cut us out of His.” I don’t remember a time when I was out of contact with God (felt out of contact with God) except when I was in such a deep, dark depression that I was out of contact with everyone, pretty much including myself. I never questioned where God was then. I just didn’t – couldn’t? – care. I have always had a time every day when I spoke with God (except during the worst days of my depression) but, when I was younger, I prayed with more intensity when I felt I, or someone I loved, needed something and just prayed the Lord’s Prayer when everything seemed to be going well. Since I have become very much a senior citizen 🙂 , I am much more aware of my surroundings, the suffering of others, the blessings that are mine and my family’s…butterflies, the frogs in our ponds, a new lily, the clouds, a child’s voice, music, art…and I find that my relationship with God has changed drastically. Yes, I pray intensely when I’m afraid or unwell but I pray with equal intensity when I’ve spent an hour on the porch, when I am in California, when I watch my granddaughter become a black belt in karate, play her flute, sing in church, play volleyball. God has become more like a friend and I have learned to talk to Him/Her without the Episcopalian thee’s and thou’s that I was taught were the correct way to connect with God. It’s a comfortable relationship for me and I have no question that it is for Him, also. (Sorry. Gotta go with “Him”. It’s what I have lived with for all these years. “Her” is okay, too, because who knows? But for me, I’m not sure I care and I don’t picture a Sistine Ceiling God. I just talk and know I’m heard….and know that there is value in having a connection with God always and under any circumstance.)

  4. For me, I want God in my life at all times and in all things and in all places. That being said, I know that I reach for Him more when I am hurting. I listen for Him, I seek Him. I want Him to “fix” what is wrong with me. I try to write about God as often as I can. This is not for anyone else, this is for me. The more I find God in my day to day life, the more I recognize that things are not as bad as I think. The more I hear His whispers to my soul, the more gratitude I have that someone cares for me, just as I am and in spite of myself. I picture God as someone who loves each one of us. Who does not seek to punish us for either real or imagined wrongs. Who is there for us and will help us through our journeys. Even or especially when they are rough and weary. I think that God is always there for me, but the world can drown out the inner peace that He brings. I think that I have to be willing to seek Him and not expect Him to seek me. I think He is always there and has always been there. He doesn’t leave me, but there have been times when I have turned my own back on God. As I get healthy in my own care, I find that I need Him as much as ever. As I get older, I am aware that it is easier to find reminders of Him and His love all around me. That is why I write. I don’t want to forget those things. I don’t want to push Him out of my life because I don’t think I am good enough. For me, letting God in is what helps me heal.

    • Hello Patty! Thank you for your transparency, one of the many talents you have and are that I am greatly grateful for ;)!
      So let me ask you, who describe in such eloquence, your connection to God who is and is personal, how He/She improves your self care? How your connection with God influences your self-care? Or otherwise?
      Keep on.

      • You ask some good questions here. So, how does God improve my self-care? Well, the simplest reason is because He loves me in spite of myself. I love the story in the New Testament about the Prodigal son. The son came home, hoping to be the lowest of servants, instead, He was forgiven and treated as a son of the house. There is so much more to this than the short version, but as a councilor told me once, “Patty, there was only ever one perfect person in the world, and you are not Him!” That sticks with me. God never expected me to be perfect right this minute. I am the one who expected that of my self. He knows the perfection is a process that will not happen in this lifetime. Yet, with all my failings, like the prodigal son, He loves me in spite of myself. He loves me in spite of all the times that I have walked away. He never leaves. He does however allow each of us out free agency to choose and we can choose to walk away. Yet, like the prodigal, He comes running to us when He sees us coming home. Part of selfcare that I struggle the most with is simply learning to love and accept myself. God reminds me that I am lovable, that I am acceptable. So connecting with God helps me to learn to like myself and maybe even sometimes love the person that I am becoming. Part of this is also knowing that I don’t need all the answers. Sometimes, we just have to go by faith and trust that everything is going to work out ok. I wish that I could say abuse never happens. That no child would ever need to go through what I have been through. But just because I don’t understand, does not mean that there isn’t a God. One of the most beautiful things I heard was by someone whom I hold in high esteem. He was asked how, if there really was a god, he could let such bad things happen to little children. How if this higher power really exists, he could let such evil loose in the world. He replied that many of us were strong in the previous life and we chose to come to those homes so that the cycle could be broken with us. We knew that it would not be easy, but because of what we have done, others will not have to continue to suffer for generations down in the family. I believe that I am a cycle breaker. And it helps me to know that He thought I was strong enough to change the things that have happened in my family for way too long. Looking at that, makes me so grateful that I have changed my own life. Perhaps, we hurt ourselves more when we ask “why me” without also asking “why not me”.

  5. I think that God improves my selfcare, because through God I find hope. A hope in a hereafter where there is no illness, a hope in acceptance, a hope that all things are possible. I also find reasons to keep fighting, to keep enduring. My own adult children don’t understand the depression and how far it brings me down at times. They are uncomfortable with my occasional wish to not be here any more. I am not so unhealthy that I would do something to bring harm to me, but there are times when depression and anxiety cause me to wish. I can’t talk about that to anyone but God. So, His comfort improves my ability to take care of myself. To spend time with myself. To reflect on what is good that I am currently missing. Sometimes, especially with depression that comes through a current difficulty, I become obsessed with what is wrong and forget to look at what is really right all around me. I focus on how much I hurt instead of how much I am really blessed. God helps me remember that He is always there, no matter what current trial I might be in, He loves me just as I am. Sometimes, that reminder is enough to take one more breath and then one more step and finally to see the good that I am surrounded by.

    • thank you Patty! I’ve been thinking on your and what you said. this is a lovely testimony.
      May i press you further perhaps? How does God intersect with your paradigm of being kind to yourself, being friendly to yourself?

  6. God intersects because if He can love me, than there must be something inside me that is worth loving. All my life, I have struggled with self-worth. It is so easy to look in the mirror and find the faults, But I know in my deepest heart that God loves me in spite of those things. That I have a purpose and a reason. Part of being able to be kind and friendly to myself is purpose driven. I have to feel useful. I need to feel that I have worth. I need to do more than just take up space. I suspect that part of it for me is knowing that He knows all about me and loves me anyway. I think I am learning that I am so much harder on myself. I tend to forgive everyone else, but I look at myself as if I should have been able to fix it, even when I was a child. My expectations for myself are not realistic. That is what I am working on. It helps be to believe that God does not expect me to “fix” anything by myself.

    • He can, can’t He. I’m amazed by that too. That He values Me is the start/stop of each pulse. I really resonated with this comment. Thank you so much Patty. You testify to me. You are welcome to keep talking any time any where. I really need to hear you. Keep on.

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