Daily Riches: The Embarrassment of Being Ourselves (Henri Nouwen, Harold Fickett and Philip Yancey) *

“The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands…. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy … in over 22 languages.”

“In his review of Nouwen’s book The Road to Daybreak, Harold Fickett wrote that he found it disappointing to read that the same problems described a decade earlier in [Nouwen’s] The Genesee Diary–deficient friendships, unrequited love, hurt feelings at perceived slights–continued to plague Nouwen. Fickett went on to explain, ‘It’s disappointing in exactly the same way it’s disappointing to be ourselves–the same person with the same problems who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith. Nouwen does not spare himself or us the embarrassment of this perennial truth.’” Philip Yancey

“My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins. …
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.”
Psalm 25:15-20

Moving from Head to Heart

  • Like Nouwen, Fickett and Yancey, are you “the same person with the same problems” you had ten years ago? Welcome to the human race!
  • It’s “disappointing to be ourselves”, but what can we do? We can give up and live in shame, or be one “who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith.” Can you accept your bad track record and refuse to give up?
  • Can you be honest with others about the need for God’s grace in your life, not “sparing” them your embarrassment, to encourage them?

Abba, today I will take refuge in you.


For More:  Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey


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)

2 thoughts on “Daily Riches: The Embarrassment of Being Ourselves (Henri Nouwen, Harold Fickett and Philip Yancey) *

  1. In an online class based on his book Breathing Under Water, Richard Rohr quoted Theresa of Avila — “serenely bearing the trial of being displeasing to myself.”

    It’s the serenity and the bearing that make a difference in the trial we all share, the disappointment with our current state.

    For me, that serenity is built on a lifetime in the church, but only blossomed into flower when I began recovery in AA. thanks for these reflections!


    • Thanks for both of your posts. I missed the quote from T. of Avila the first time I read this. It’s great. I like your comment on it also. Thanks for sharing, interacting, and encouraging. I hope my blog will continue to be helpful.


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