Keeping God’s Garden Beautiful By Being Ourselves

It’s so easy to think: it’s not fair.

One friend is radiant. All the time. Even when her children are misbehaving. Another prays effortlessly and ceaselessly. Another seems so peaceful no matter what is spinning around her. Another can organize a big group of people faster than you can think of their names.

And what should our response be in the face of the gifts of others? We should, of course, rejoice in them and how they glorify our generous and loving God. Often, though, it can be a source of temptation to envy and incite our suspicion of God’s goodness: if He’s given that certain gift to her, why hasn’t He given it to me?

St. Therese of Liseux herself wondered why God gives gifts and talents in different type and quantity to souls. In her autobiography Story of a Soul she explains what God made known to her regarding this question:

“Our Lord has deigned to explain this mystery to me. He showed me the book of nature, and I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would lose its springtide beauty, and the fields would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues.

“And so it is in the world of souls, Our Lord’s living garden. He has been pleased to create great Saints who may be compared to the lily and the rose, but He has also created lesser ones, who must be content to be daisies or simple violets flowering at His Feet, and whose mission it is to gladden His Divine Eyes when He deigns to look down on them. And the more gladly they do His Will the greater is their perfection.” (Chapter 1)

It’s truly exhausting trying to be someone we’re not. We are, of course, called to be the best version of ourselves, to lift a phrase from Matthew Kelly. But God doesn’t expect us to be more like our sisters. He simply wants us to love Him and serve Him with the gifts that He’s given just to us.

If we can rest in knowing that He’s made us beautiful and that our unique gifts make Him happy, we’ll reach peace like St. Therese in knowing that the Lord delights in us no matter what flower we might be.

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