This is the title of the book that I've found most helpful this Lent. It's by Ian Adams, who is an artist, poet and priest based in South Devon - go to the "Beloved Life" website to find out more...
"Wilderness Taunts" is a series of 40 imaginative meditations, accompanied by black-and-white photos. Ian's photos are haunting and bleak, but what I really like is the way he gets under the skin of our vulnerable selves, in the taunts that are designed to undermine us and lead us into self-hatred and despair - and then turns the tables, in the second half of each meditation, by responding with a kind of God-perspective that affirms us as we are.
I suppose it rings a bell with my own experience of times when I feel bad about myself, but more than that: whenever I meet someone struggling with issues of mental or spiritual health (and that's most of us at one time or another), everything seems to go back to an undermining, perhaps from earliest times, of their sense of self. A voice has said: "you are rubbish", and that voice keeps re-surfacing. Worst of all, that voice is often taken to be the voice of God.
Ian's words remind me just how real, how persuasive, that voice can be; but also, more importantly, how the true voice of the God who loves us expresses something quite different - a gentle, deep-rooted acceptance of us in all our frailty. Thanks be to God!