“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” –John 17:20-23
I’ve been reading and studying the trinity in 2021. The idea that we have a God who is One and yet who is three persons is possibly the most bananas theological truth we will ever try to grasp. When Jesus prayed for us to all be one as he and the Father were one, he kicked off a wild ride for humanity. In John 17:26, Jesus asked the Father to put in us the love he had for Jesus, and then he prayed that he, himself would be in us.
I would draw you a diagram of how this “God in Jesus and Jesus in God while love and Jesus are in us and we are in God” thing works, but even imagining it is too exhausting. I choose to marvel instead.
And it really is marvelous, and bananas today, isn’t it?
Personally, I’ve been anxious lately. I lay in bed last night, wholly exhausted but unable to sleep. My brain wouldn’t stop running away with new thoughts. My mind remembered some pajamas I want to buy and some work I need to do on my website.
In between those rabbit trails, I worried about my teens’ latest life crises. (BTW, raising teens is like being an adult who has another adult living inside your body, fighting to come out. It’s kind of like the movie alien, except scarier.)
Around midnight, I panicked about possibly needing a four-wheel-drive vehicle this winter. At long last, I lost myself to anxiety over whether or not a decision I made ten years ago was the right one.
I began to feel trapped in my bed with a monster who looks just like me, shopping for jammies and calculating SUV car rental fees.
I sat up in my bed and words bubbled out of my soul, “I need a friend.”
Anxiety disconnects us from reality and from ourselves; it untethers us from reality. Even though we know the anxious winds blowing us out of control are mostly harmless, their unrelenting nature agonizes us.
But even when we feel far from ourselves, God is always with us. Jesus is a friend who is closer to us than our flesh and blood relatives. The Holy Spirit is our comforter. And the Father always holds us securely in the palm of his hand. And they’re all one God fo love together. This offers us such good news.
One obit of good news is that the persons of God love himself and give himself to himself. It’s wonderful and strange to consider what it must be like for God to be like this, full of generous, sacrificial, and submissive love that circles and dances through eternity.
But even more wonderful and strange is that when this truth dropped in my heart late last night, it occurred to me that Jesus asked God to put that love in us all. We are full of the kind of love that is motivated to both give oneself to others and love oneself.
I am left wondering if, sometimes, God has given us ourselves as a friend. When there is no one to tuck us back in and sing us a lullaby; when our friends aren’t available to listen to our troubles and reassure us; I hope we will dare to be the friend to ourselves that our loving God would provide right now if he could.
Today, I’m practicing being a kind friend to Carrie, the person God loves very much. I’m prioritizing making space for myself to be sleepy and a little out of it. I took a bot bath already today, and it’s only the early afternoon. I’m encouraging myself to take care of my responsibilities, despite being tired. I’m eating whole, healthy food because my body needs it. And I’m drinking coffee, for obvious reasons.
It might sound a little bananas, this be-self-loving-thing, but it’s working. I feel closer to God and more connected with myself here at my desk, as my laundry spins down the hall, snuggled up in my cozy shacket and slippers. I feel more equipped to care for my family and friends, and I am more determined to accomplish all my tasks because I have remembered I am a person who needs friendship and care.
If no one has told you this lately, you are a person God loves. You are worthy of friendship and kindness. You may not always be at your best, but you are always moving forward and growing in God. If self-love is foreign space for you, I hope you begin to be wooed by all the wonderful characteristics God gave you when he made you in his image.
You’re a chip off the old block, really. How bananas is that?
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I love this! It’s so important to be real and honest about our fears and anxieties and treat ourselves as kindly as we would a friend who’s confiding in us. “Love your neighbor as yourself” we’re told. Also, I’m gonna be reminding myself I’m a chip off the old block often!