Day 7: As You Are

WHY do we compare ourselves to others? It is one of the greatest sources of both our unhappiness and a font of lies… 

Let’s continue now: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

Come Holy Spirit, You who descended upon Jesus at His Baptism at the voice of the Heavenly Father, declaring: “This is My Beloved Son.” That same Voice, though unheard, pronounced at my conception and then again at my Baptism: “This is my beloved son/daughter.” Help me to see and know how precious I am in the Father’s eyes. Help me to trust in His design of who I am, and who I am not. Help me to rest in the Father’s arms as His unique child. Help me to be grateful for my life, my eternal soul, and the salvation which Jesus has wrought for me. Forgive me for grieving You, Holy Spirit, by rejecting myself and my gifts and my part in the world. By your grace this day, help me to embrace my purpose and place in creation and love myself, as Jesus loves me, through His Most Holy Name, amen.

Listen to this song through which God is telling you, right now, that He loves you as you are, just as He created you.

As You Are

Little hands and tiny feet, pudgy little toes
Mama leans into crib and kisses your sweet nose
You’re not the same as other babes, this we can see
But you’ll always be a princess to me

I love you as you are
As you are
In my arms you’ll have a home
As you are

He was never late for class, never great in school
Only wanting to be liked, he felt like a fool
One night he simply wished to die, believing no one cared
Until he looked up at the door
And saw his daddy there

I love you as you are
As you are
In my arms you’ll have a home
As you are

He sees her sitting quietly, she looks much the same
But they haven’t laughed for oh so long,
She can’t even recall his name.
He takes her hands, weak and frail, and tenderly sings
Words he’s told her all his life

From the day she took his ring…

I love you as you are
As you are
In my heart you’ll have a home
As you are
You will always have a home
As you are

— Mark Mallett, from Love Holds On, 2002©

Even should your mother forsake you — or your family, your friends, your spouse — you will always have a home in the arms of the Heavenly Father.

The Distorted Image

When I say that God loves you “as you are,” that is not to say He loves you “in the state you are in.” What kind of father would say, “Oh, I love you as you are” — as tears roll down our cheeks and pain fills our hearts? It is precisely because we are loved so much that the Father refuses to leave us in a fallen state.

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the Image of its creator. (Col 3:8-10)

When I used to travel and preach in Catholic schools throughout North America, I would often tell the kids: “Jesus didn’t come to take away your personality, He came to take away your sin.” Sin distorts and disfigures who we really are, as where Christ’s love and teachings help us to become our authentic self. 

…the human will causes her to deny her origin, it makes her decay from her beginning; her intellect, memory and will remain without light, and the divine image remains deformed and unrecognizable. —Jesus to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, September 5, 1926, Vol. 19

Have you ever looked into the mirror and sighed: “Who am I??” What a grace it is to be in possession of yourself, to be at ease and comfortable in your own skin. What does such a Christian look like? They are, in a word, humble. They are content to be unnoticed, but notice others. They are more interested in others’ opinions than their own. When complimented they simply say “thank you” (rather than make contortions why God should be glorified, not them, etc.). When they make mistakes, they are not surprised. When they encounter others’ faults, they remember their own. They enjoy their own giftedness but rejoice in others more gifted. They easily forgive. They know how to love the least of the brethren and are not afraid of others’ weaknesses and faults. Because they know God’s unconditional love, and their capacity to reject it, they remain small, grateful, humble.

It’s funny how we seek to love, assure, and see Christ in others — but never extend that same generosity to ourselves. Do you see the contradiction? Are you both not made in God’s image? This should be the attitude toward yourself:

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self You know. (Ps 13913-14)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to come to a place where we cease the endless and exhausting exercise of trying to please or impress everyone else? Where we stop feeling insecure around others, or grasping for love and attention? Or conversely, are unable to be in a crowd or look another person in the eye? Healing begins by accepting yourself, your limitations, your differences, and loving yourself — as you are — because that is how you were made by the Creator. 

I will heal them. I will lead them and restore full comfort to them and to those who mourn for them, creating words of comfort. Peace! Peace to those who are far and near, says the LORD; and I will heal them. (Isaiah 57:18-19)

Your Temperament

We are all equal in God’s eyes, but we are not all the same. During my own silent retreat, I opened my journal and the Lord began to speak to me about temperament. I hope you don’t mind if I share what came out of my pen as it really helped me to understand our human differences:

Each of My creations is fashioned with a temperament — even the animals. Some are unaggressive, others more curious, some are shy, and others more bold. So, too, with My children. The reason is that natural temperament is a means of balancing and harmonizing creation. Some are raised to be leaders for the survival and well being of those around them; others follow so as to keep harmony and provide an example to others. Therefore, it is essential that the apostle recognize this attribute in creation. 

It is also why I say, “Do not judge.” For if one is bold, it may be that their gifting is to lead others. If another is reserved, it may be to provide tempering of the bold. If one is silent and more quiet by nature, it may be a specific call to nurture wisdom for the common good. If another speaks readily, it may be to motivate and keep the rest from sloth. So you see, child, temperament is ordered toward order and harmony.

Now, temperament can be altered, suppressed and even changed according to one’s wounds. The strong can become weak, the meek can become aggressive, the gentle can become harsh, the confident can become afraid, and so forth. And thus, the harmony of creation is thrown into a certain chaos. That is the “disorder” of Satan. Hence, My Redemption and the power of My Resurrection are necessary to restore the hearts and true identity of all My children. To restore them to their proper temperament and even accentuate it.  

When My apostle is led by My Spirit, the natural God-given temperament is not nulified; rather, a healthy temperament provides the foundation for the apostle to “go out” of himself into the heart of another: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.” (Rom 12:15-16)

…And so My son, never compare yourself to another as much as a fish should not compare itself to a bird,  nor a toe to a hand. Take your place and purpose in the order of creation by humbly accepting and living from your God-given temperament in order to love God and to love others, as you love yourself. 

The problem is that our sin, wounds, and insecurities end up fashioning and changing us, which is expressed in our personalities. 

Your God-given temperament is the natural inclinations you feel. Your personality is what is formed through the experiences of life, your formation in the family, your cultural context, and your relationship with Me. Together, your temperament and personality form your identity. 

Notice, My child, that I did not say that your gifts or talents form your identity. Rather, they augment your role and purpose (mission) in the world. No, your identity, if it is whole and unbroken, is the reflection of My image in you. 

A Word on Your Gifts and You

Your gifts are just that — gifts. They could have been given to the next-door neighbor. They are not your identity. But how many of us wear a mask based on our looks, our talents, our status, our wealth, our approval ratings, etc.? On the other hand, how many of us lack confidence, shun or put down our gifts or bury our talents because we can’t compare to others, and that in turn also becomes our identity?

One of the things God healed in me at the end of my silent retreat was a sin I hadn’t realized: I had rejected my gift of music, my voice, my style, etc. On the way home, I was going to sit in silence, inviting Our Lady to accompany me in the passenger seat to just reflect on the great graces of those nine days. Instead, I sensed her telling me to put on my CD’s. So I played Deliver Me From Me first. My jaw fell open: my entire silent healing retreat was mirrored in that album, front to back, sometimes word for word. I suddenly realized that what I had created 24 years earlier was actually a prophecy of my own healing (and now, I pray, for many of you). In fact, had I not accepted my gift anew that day, I venture that I may not even be doing this retreat. Because as I listened to the songs, I realized there was healing in them, imperfect as they are, and I was inspired to incorporate them into a retreat.

So it is important that we use our gifts and not bury them in the ground out of fear or false humility (cf. Matt 25:14-30).

Also, the world doesn’t need another St. Thérèse de Lisieux. What it needs is you. You, not Thérèse, were born for this time. In fact, her life is a case-in-point of someone who was virtually unknown to the world, and even many of her fellow sisters in the convent, for her deep and hidden love for Jesus. And yet, today, she is a Doctor of the Church. So you see, do not underestimate what God can do with our seeming insignificance.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

God wants you to accept your purpose and place in creation because there is a reason for it, perhaps just as much as there is a reason for distant galaxies that no one will ever see.

Knowing Yourself

Take up your journal now and ask the Holy Spirit to come again and help you to see yourself in the light of truth. Write down the ways in which you have rejected your gifts and talents. Note the ways that you feel insecure or lacking in confidence. Ask Jesus why you feel this way and write down what comes to mind. He may reveal to you a memory from your childhood or some other wound. And then ask the Lord to forgive you for rejecting the way He has made you and any way you have not humbly accepted yourself, as you are.

Last write down your gifts and skills, your natural abilities and the things you do well, and thank God for these. Thank Him that you are “wonderfully made.” Also, make note of your temperament and thank him for making you the way you are. You can use these classic four temperaments, or a combination of them, as a guide:

Choleric: The go-getter, great at accomplishing goals

• Strengths: A born leader with energy, enthusiasm, and a strong will; self-confident and optimistic.

• Weaknesses: May struggle with being empathetic to others’ needs, and can tend toward being controlling and overly critical of others.

Melancholic: The deep thinker with strong ideals and passionate feelings

• Strengths: Naturally skilled at keeping things organized and humming along smoothly; a faithful friend who connects deeply with people.

• Weaknesses: May struggle with perfectionism or negativity (of self and others); and can be easily overwhelmed by life.

Sanguine: The “people person” and life of the party

• Strengths: adventurous, creative, and just plain likable; thrives on social interactions and sharing life with others.

• Weaknesses: May struggle with follow-through and gets easily over-committed; can lack self-control or tend to avoid the tougher parts of life and relationships.

Phlegmatic: The servant leader who is calm under pressure

• Strengths: supportive, empathetic, and a great listener; often the peacemaker looking out for others; easily contented and happy to be part of the team (not the boss).

• Weaknesses: may struggle to take initiative when necessary, and can avoid conflict and sharing strong feelings.

Closing Prayer

Pray with the following song recognizing that it is not people’s approval, recognization or praise of you that you need, but the Lord’s approval alone.


All That I’ll Ever Need

O Lord, You are so good to me
You are Mercy
You are all that I’ll ever need

O Lord, You are so sweet to me
You are Safety
You are all that I’ll ever need

I love you Lord, I love You Lord
Jesus, You’re all that I need
I love you Lord, I love You Lord

O Lord, You are so near to me
You are Holy
You are all that I’ll ever need

I love you Lord, I love You Lord
Jesus, You’re all that I need
I love you Lord, I love You Lord
Jesus, You’re all that I need
I love you Lord, I love You Lord

O I love you Lord, I love You Lord
Jesus, You’re all that I need
I love you Lord, I love You Lord
Jesus, You’re all that I need
I love you Lord, I love You Lord
You’re all that I’ll ever need

—Mark Mallett, Divine Mercy Chaplet, 2007



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