"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
It's in this verse that I've found the key to mental and spiritual wholeness and integration as I struggle to make sense of my own narrative.
Narrative. That's what life is. We all have a past, a present, and a future - and somehow they need to be tied together. Faith, hope, and love can do this.
But we live so often out of the narrative of fear, guilt, and shame.
Fear - that I cannot control the future.
Guilt - that my past is not what it should have been.
Shame - that who I am today is not enough.
This is the story we are fed by our shadow self if we are unwilling to confront it head on. Fortunately, we are given a new schema, a way to "re-story" our lives:
Faith - a spiritual rootedness in God's faithfulness (for that is what the word fides actually means) in the past, from Creation to Cross to my own life.
Hope - that, because of God's past faithfulness, we can have a confident assurance of continued faithfulness in the future, even if we have no idea what will happen.
Love - therefore, situated in this concrete narrative, we are empowered to love and be loved fully in the present.
The only way to confront and deconstruct the narrative of fear, guilt, and shame is with a better narrative. We must be constantly vigilant for places where these three come up, introspective enough to consider the false belief patterns that are making space for them, and we must consciously and intentionally "re-story" our lives around faith, hope, and love.
And these three remain.