Note: The Scripture for the Scrupulous newsletter will resume January 2020.
Years ago I had a spiritual director who had a colorful way of describing the problem of self-loathing. He called it “swimming in pus.” This image made perfect sense to me. The anxiety, perfectionism, and scrupulosity I struggled with stuck to my soul like slug juice.
My director saw that, insecure and afraid of my own sinful shadow, I struggled to accept basic Christian tenets: that God created me out of sheer goodness and love, that he destined me to be his child, and that Jesus’ death and resurrection promised me life and freedom.
He suggested I meditate on God’s love every day as part of my battle against scruples. His advice followed that of the saints: the scrupulous must “assiduously” cultivate trust in God, St. Alphonsus Liguori says.
Those mediations built a spiritual foundation that carried me through a rock bottom and into spiritual and psychological healing. I cannot overemphasize how important coming to know and live in God’s love has been for my own growth in Christ. We hear God Loves You so often that we tend to tune out the message. But Love is what God offers us. In Love, he draws us into union with himself, proving himself greater than our fears. I still struggle, but by God’s grace I can at least pray, “These feelings are painful, but you’ve redeemed it. Amen.”
The Scripture for the Scrupulous newsletter is for my fellow pus-swimmers. (It’s a gross analogy. I know.) Every other week I send out a scriptural reflection touching on themes important for us who are anxious about sin and our relationship with God.
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