To see ones own sins is both a blessing and a curse. It is really hard to know the truth about ones self. To be fully shown how by my own sins drag me down and affects me. It can also be a blessing since once we see our own sins we have the ability to repent and try to live a better way of life. I never like going to confession but once I go and receive absolution I feel like a brand new person that is able to continue the good fight. There is a reason why confession in the Orthodox Church is a sacrament. It is a mystery that I do not even want to know an answer to just like the Mother of God and the Incarnation, there are some things that I really do not want an explanation for. To see my own sins is what we ask God to grant us during Lent so that we can repent but the process of it and actually experiencing it is a different story.
Someone once told me that as a parent you will truly see yourself and know who you really are. I am beginning to see what they were talking about. I look at my impatience as a new mother and really try to correct it everyday but I get more impatient with myself because things never go the way I want them to. So the battleground that is in my heart has become a fight between pride, because I want things when I want them, and patience which the Lord teaches me every day with my son. The Lord by His great mercy allows us to see our sins one at a time it seems like. Like an iceberg if we were to see the whole bottom part of the iceberg it would be scary to even travel near it. Same with our sins, if we were to see all of our sins at once we would just fall into despair and never look back. “Oh look at all my sins and my inability to do anything holy” I complain to my spiritual father. “Yes and look at Gods mercy as He works out your salvation.”
Grant me to see my own sins. Probably the hardest thing we can ever ask God. It is this part of the St. Ephraim prayer that I struggle with most of all because truth is I do not want to think of myself as a horrible person. Part of it is because in this society we are told to feel good about ourselves the majority of the time and if we don’t then fill in the blank for a quick fix remedy that is prescribed by your TV, food, games, shoes, lattes, etc. I do not want to see my sins because that means I am doing something wrong, how can that be? Is there such a thing as perfection?
Recently my quest for perfection has made me realize many things about myself. It made me realize that my quest for perfection is based on society’s standards and not the Churches teachings. It is when I try to be perfect that I fall into other temptations such as judging and end up being the Pharisee. It is hard for a new mom such as myself to not look at other moms and wonder how they are raising their children and judge them. Yes, to see my own sins is a blessing and a curse. It is in seeing my own sins that I realize more and more that there is no such thing as perfection for me right now. I may never be a perfect mom or a perfect wife. As long as I continue to strive towards Christ and follow His commandments that is when I can somehow someway begin to transform my life into a better one. A perfection that is in Christ alone not some idea of perfection. It is a hard and narrow road but well worth it in the end.