“Look at your life and see how you have filled its emptiness with people. As a result they have a stranglehold on you. See how they control your behavior by their approval and disapproval. They hold the power to ease your loneliness with their company, to send your spirits soaring with their praise, to bring you down to the depths with their criticism and rejection. Take a look at yourself spending almost every waking minute of your day placating and pleasing people, whether they are living or dead. You live by their norms, conform to their standards, seek their company, desire their love, dread their ridicule, long for their applause, meekly submit to the guilt they lay upon you; you are terrified to go against the fashion in the way you dress or speak or act or even think.” Anthony de Mello
“When we freely assent to the mystery of our belovedness and accept our core identity as Abba’s child, we slowly gain autonomy from controlling relationships. We become inner-directed rather than outer-determined. The fleeting flashes of pleasure or pain caused by the affirmation or deprivation of others will never entirely disappear, but their power to induce self-betrayal will be diminished.” Brennan Manning
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you aware of how much control over your life you’re giving away? Have you lost yourself somewhere in the process?
- Is your core identity that of “Abba’s child?” If not, what needs to change?
- Are you willing to be true to yourself and learn to resist the urge to “betray” yourself when you feel pressure from others?
Abba, help me to slowly gain autonomy from the controlling relationships in my life as I look for approval from you alone.
For More: The Way to Love by Anthony deMello
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
A very helpful and practical pairing of Manning commenting on DeMello’s observation of our need for approval in its many forms.
Thanks Mary, and thanks for reading. I love a lot of de Mello, but sometimes he leaves me wanting more direction than just “be aware.” 🙂 Manning does step in nicely there.