The desire to be something other than we are is often powerful and pervasive; society expects us to conform to certain norms and preconceived expectations of what is acceptable. Definitions of success cling desperately to the material at the expense of the spiritual and emotional; I am only deemed to be a success if I have financial prowess. Such a worldview creates tension and anxiety; the gap between reality and expectation is a yawning chasm, therefore I feel worthless and overwhelmed with the notion that I have somehow failed.
Often we miss the importance of just being ourselves. Each on of us has intrinsic worth; nothing can be added to it or taken away – we are as we are. If we open our eyes to all that is around us in nature, then we can perhaps get a better insight into how life should be lived. Take trees for example – they just are what they are; they give glory to God simply by being. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I love walking through forests, imbibing the stillness as I go.
As Thomas Merton once said: “A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It “consents,” so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.” Likewise, we consent to God’s creative love by being ourselves, with all of our faults and failings; we are what we are and God loves us in our honesty.