I’ve continued churning through the idea of conquering monsters and I realized I needed to readjust the way I speak about monsters. It also dawned on me that I could help you with a little context as to where this word ‘monsters’ is coming from. So, I invite you to see with me where this goes.

I started reading through “How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is On the Way and Love Is Already Here” by Jonathan Martin the day after that fateful conversation with my wife. I can only conclude that meeting the author — he’s a remarkable man — was undeniably God’s grace, and my ordering the book that night and its subsequent arrival a godsend. On Sunday, I did not know that my own ship was in the process of wrecking. Well, Mr. Martin refers to monsters as the creatures that inhabit our own inner darknesses.

What most caught my attention was that Mr. Martin — I’m calling him Jonathan from here on, because I’ve actually met the man and had a conversation with him — contextualizes these monsters in the Job story. Look back at it and you’ll see that God talks about Leviathan in chapter forty-one. God refers to Leviathan as a household pet essentially to tame and put on a leash. I don’t know about you, but this isn’t the God I know or remember. Who is this God? This God is a God much bigger than the god I keep in my back pocket or in my day-to-day prayers. This God is powerful beyond my comprehension, but also immensely loving and compassionate. The God in this passage is a lover of and friend to monsters. What. The. Hell?

I don’t have the time here to go into the broader implications of this, as they are more vast than I understand. However, I am not a monster. I can say this with certainty. But, I have monsters within me. God doesn’t want to kill them, though. I want to kill them. The latter doesn’t much matter, as they’re bigger than me; I can’t put them to death on my own, no matter how badly I wish I could. Instead, God wants to tame them and befriend them. God wants to know them. God wants to know me. Every. Single. Aspect. God doesn’t reject any part of me.

My own self-loathing now seems…prideful. God doesn’t want to kill the ugly parts of me, even though He could in a breath. He doesn’t want to hide, erase, or otherwise remove what I consider unsightly. Why should I continue seeking to do otherwise? Is my judgment better than His?

I have a lot to learn about loving myself. There is a long way for me to go before I feel I am able to embrace and know intimately my monsters. Luckily, I cannot nor am I supposed to tame and love them on my own. I have the help of my Father the Leviathan tamer. I have friends, my community, and family. Monster taming, too, is a community effort. I think I’m ready to go diving into my depths a little further this time.

Originally published at faiththroughdoubt.com on August 27, 2017.