I have to admit it - I'm a weak, flawed, fallible human being who does not always understand herself. One minute I can be riding high, capable of kindness, capable of being patient, understanding, loving, even with people who'd try the patience of a saint. The next minute I can be impatient, intolerant, snap at someone, become deluged in self-pity, indulge in emotional over-eating. I'm surely not a saint.
Scripture helps me through my delusional thinking. St. Paul talks about having the same problem with himself: "What I do I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.... For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. ....So then I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.... Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."(Romans 7: 14 ff.)
We keep falling down. Day after day. And it happens because we're still mortal, with a limited mind and body. We continually yearn for something new to enchant us, some new satisfaction or comfort, thinking things will buy us happiness. We yearn to be freed from the daily, exhausting grind of responsibilities that require unselfish self-discipline, forgetting that it takes self-sacrifice to find the joy of love. Or we push ourselves too hard out of unacknowledged egotistical pride in our accomplishments, forgetting true self-love and consideration for our bodies and minds. Or we judge others as mercilessly as we think God judges us, just to build ourselves up in our own eyes as being superior.
So often we give in to self-pity that leads to irritability, or to laziness, or we drown our sorrows by buying something extravagant and beyond our budget that we don't even need, or we withdraw and bury ourselves in unhealthy addictions. We spend our precious time criticizing others instead of building others up. We commit the basic evil of turning away from God. We've temporarily forgotten how to love God, how to love ourselves, how to love our neighbor.
We've forgotten God because we've forgotten that we live in Christ and the Spirit of Christ dwells in us. When we remember, God gives us the strength to get up again, the miraculous grace to begin again. We look inward, into our spirits, our souls, and, breathing a thankful sigh, we look into God's loving eyes once more. We've rediscovered the Power to turn away from the death of sin. The inner Power to choose life and love, peace and joy. We've re-discovered our true identity as children of God.
God gives us the Power to return to our Father and confess our sins and receive His endless mercy. The Power to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice instead of pampering ourselves as the center of our universe. The living sacrifice of love is our true destiny: hospitality, showing one another honor, contributing to the needs of one another. Rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep. Resting and relaxing as beloved sons and daughters in God's arms, the One Who is both Father and Mother to us.
Yes, our high destiny is only possible if we're humble enough to crawl like a child into our Heavenly Parent's embrace. There, safe in God's arms, we see how beautiful God thinks we are, how our love is the great gift God our Father desires more than anything else. And there, embraced, we re-discover that the matchless gift of God's love for us is all our true selves will ever want or need.