EXERCISE 10: An honest appraisal:
Quiet yourself by centering yourself.
In your imagination, take yourself to a ‘safe place,’ somewhere where you have experienced peace, safety, somewhere where you can relax. Remember it; what it looks like, what it feels like, what it smells like.
Now, take God (or Jesus or any other master figure you admire. I suggest Jesus mostly because He is the human face of God for many of us) there. Imagine this person is there with you. Perhaps you are walking together, or sitting together on a bench…
Now, tell this person who you really are. Describe yourself to him/her. Be honest. Don’t hide anything, not even your darkest secrets. Be totally honest. Don’t justify yourself. Just describe yourself, honestly, candidly, completely. Don’t judge yourself either. Just describe.
Here are some questions to help you:
- Is there stuff your family never talks about?
- Is there stuff about you you have never told anyone?
- What is your greatest fear about yourself?
- What is the biggest lie you have ever told?
- What is the nastiest lie you have ever told?
- Have you ever betrayed someone?
- Have you ever hurt someone?
- What is the biggest weight you carry around with you?
When you are finished, listen to what this person might say to you: if you hear a voice of condemnation, that’s not God’s voice! if you hear a voice of acceptance, compassion, understanding, love, that’s God’s:
- listen to it
- see if you can say the same thing about yourself
- remember how this feels
- God does not condone, but accepts
- life is a long, hard journey towards fullness
- be honest, accept yourself with compassion, and
- continue on your God-quest
- when you slip and fall, get up, note your failure with compassionate understanding, and keep trying
Write down how the experience felt. Write down any discoveries you made about yourself.