I am becoming more convinced that much of the work of Christian communities is to help people discover their belovedness and to begin to heal the wounds that life has created.
A gift of the spiritual life is the ability to see with the eye of heart. Paul speaks about the eyes of the heart being enlightened in Ephesians. So often the eyes of the heart are closed and we fail to see who we really are and who our neighbor really is. So many people today suffer from a poor sense of self or they base their sense of self on their performance, achievements, job, family or health. These things can be taken away and when they are one can lose who they "are" and sink into despair or depression.
When the eyes of heart are closed we judge ourselves and others based on the values of the world and not on who we are in Christ. Paul prays for the Ephesians in chapter three that they may comprehend the love of Christ. He wants them to really "see" who they are and how the world really works.
When we begin to "see" who we are in Christ then we will begin to understand how precious, beautiful, and unique we are. We will begin to be liberated from the bondage to our false judgments of ourselves and others. We will begin to understand how tender and gentle God is with us in our frailties and weakness.
Opening the eyes of the heart is not something we can achieve, we can only receive this gift. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our spiritual practices are to help us be in a place to receive that which has been prepared for us all along. One of the best things we can do is simply to slow down and create spaces in our lives for stillness, powerlessness and trust.
Entering the spiritual life is about trusting God and trusting that God knows what we need, when we need it. Our goal is not ourselves but to simply come and give our attention and consent to the One who created all, redeemed all and is sustaining all.