Daily Riches: Our Deep Need for Approval (Anthony de Mello and Brennan Manning) *

“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.”
 Psalm 62:5-7a

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 de Mello

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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)

Daily Riches: Our Need to Impress (James M. Campbell and Ruth Haley Barton) *

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

“We might commit ourselves to pondering the things that take place during solitude in our heart, as Mary did, at least for a time, rather than sharing them too quickly or using them immediately as tools for ministry. This a way of keeping some things precious and sacred… [like] we protect the privacy of our interactions with intimate friends.” Ruth Haley Barton

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Could you keep silent about something so impressive for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Are you quick to share things that make you look good? a substantial prayer life, some “power encounter”, a long fast, an experiment with monastery life, years of keeping the Sabbath or centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something “precious and sacred”, it changes it. What is gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.

__________

For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell

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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)

Daily Riches: Praised, Blamed – and Loved by God (Donald McCullough) *

“One of the most important gifts that came my way in those days of misery [removal from ministry], I now realize, was the loss of public approval. … It forcibly separated me–the essential me– from the public’s perception of me. … To learn, not just in my head but in the depths of my being, that I was someone different from and always more than the perception of others was like being in a hot, stuffy room and having the windows thrown open. … [Now] I’m not much impressed with the cheering or overly worried about the jeering. I am who I am thank God. And yes, thank God, because who I am is a child of God, a beloved of God, a man in whom God takes delight. I had known this before, to be sure, but I didn’t know how much I still needed to learn it until I came to the limitations of public approval. Enduring these limitations was something I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy; now it’s something that, if not for the dishonor of it, I would covet for my dearest friends.”  Donald McCullough

“Everyone said I was doing really well, but something inside me was telling me my success was putting my soul in danger.”  Henri Nouwen

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court;
indeed, I do not even judge myself.  …
It is the Lord who judges me. …
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will expose the motives of the heart.
At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you know in the depths of your being that you’re “someone different from and always more than the perception of others?”
  • Have you come to the place where you can “care very little” about the cheering or jeering (or judgment) of others?
  • The next time someone cheers you or jeers you, can you return to your “essential” status as “beloved of God” instead of letting cheering or jeering define you?

Abba, I need to sense your love for, acceptance of,  and approval of me in the depths of my being. Please keep me from being distracted from this by what others think of me – by either their blame or their praise.

__________

For More: The Consolations of Imperfection by Donald McCullough

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“Then suddenly it happened, I lost every dime, but I’m richer by far, with a satisfied mind.” (“Satisfied Mind”, lyrics by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes) Often it’s in our most painful losses that we find what really matters, and the satisfaction found in God alone. I hope that Daily Riches will help you to be “richer by far” as you grow in such satisfaction. Thanks for reading and sharing Daily Riches!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: When No One is Applauding (Richard Foster) *

“Because our daily tasks afford us constant opportunity to engage in the ministry of small things it is through this work that we become most intimately acquainted with God. … Small things are the genuinely big things in the kingdom of God. It is here we truly face the issues of obedience and discipleship. It is not hard to be a model disciple amid camera lights and press releases. But in the small corners of life, in those areas of service that will never be newsworthy or gain us any recognition we must hammer out the meaning of obedience. Amid the obscurity of family and friends, neighbors, and work associates, we find God.” Richard Foster

“Whoever can be trusted with very little
can also be trusted with much,  
and whoever is dishonest with very little
will also be dishonest with much.”
Luke 16:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you normally think of your “daily tasks … amid the obscurity of family and friends” as opportunities for important ministry? as opportunities for profound personal transformation? as opportunities to “find God?”
  • Are you content to labor away in obscurity, ministering for God in a way that no one but God will ever notice? What does your answer say about you?
  • Sometimes it’s hard for me when I realize, “I’m invisible. No one notices me. No one is applauding.” Can you relate? Do you think this painful experience can be beneficial?

Abba, I want to live with you as my sole audience, needing only your applause. Deliver me from the worry about what others think of me. Help me to do “small things” faithfully, with confidence that you’re using them to shape my life.

__________

For More: The Challenged of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster

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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)

Daily Riches: When You’re Addicted to the Approval of Others (John Ortberg) *

“Vast amounts of human behavior, though painstakingly disguised, are simply attempts at showing off. … If we begin listening for these kinds of comments, we will discover that attempting to control the way others think of us is one of the primary uses we put words to in contemporary society. Human conversation is largely an endless attempt to convince others that we are more assertive or clever or gentle or successful than they might think if we did not carefully educate them.”  John Ortberg

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood
and speak truthfully to your neighbor,
for we are all members of one body.”
Ephesians 4:25

From The Head to the Heart

  • How much does it matter to you what other people think of you?
  • In conversation or on social media, do you work hard to cause people to see you in a certain way? What does your answer say about you?
  • What would it look like if you stopped trying to “carefully educate” others so they would think well of you? Can you name several things that would change?

Abba, you are enough for me. You suffice. I only really need to please you. Help me to remember this in the midst of all the temptations to do otherwise. Help me to live each day for your approval.

__________

For More: The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg

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“Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.” – Augustine   My prayer is that these Daily Riches will always be offered and received in this irenic, unpresumptuous spirit. Thank you for reading and sharing my daily posts. Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Obscurity and Intimacy with God (Richard Foster and Thomas Merton) *

“Because our daily tasks afford us constant opportunity to engage in the ministry of small things it is through this work that we become most intimately acquainted with God. …Small things are the genuinely big things in the kingdom of God. It is here we truly face the issues of obedience and discipleship. It is not hard to be a model disciple amid camera lights and press releases. But in the small corners of life, in those areas of service that will never be newsworthy or gain us any recognition we must hammer out the meaning of obedience. Amid the obscurity of family and friends, neighbors, and work associates, we find God.” Richard Foster

“It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.” Thomas Merton

“Who dares despise the day of small things …” Zechariah 4:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The small daily opportunities we have to obey and serve – doing little things that garner us no applause  – God uses to make us “most intimately acquainted” with him.
  • Are you willing to do without the applause? to purposely choose to stay out of the spotlight? to be relatively invisible? Is God’s approval enough for you? What do your answers say about you?
  • We’re really talking about our inner lives with God and the battle being fought there. What change can you make to what you regularly do, to allow secrecy and obscurity to shape you?

Abba, as much as I hate to admit it, I love the sound of applause. Help me, whether I choose obscurity or have it thrust upon me, to submit myself to its good work in my life.

__________

For More: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster

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Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching mediation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: An Undivided Life (Richard Rohr)

“Jesus tells us to give alms, and fast, and pray secretly…. These are the three religious disciplines honored by most historical religions. Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, ‘Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?’ The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, ‘I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor. And I don’t even need people to know this.'” Richard Rohr

” … and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:18

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you “preoccupied … with looking good” at church? If so, why? Are you as good as you look? Do you feel free to be transparent?
  • Do you ask, “Why am I doing this?” Are you aware of your ego’s need for a “strong social payoff?” of your “hidden reasons?” Becoming aware is the first step to uniting your “inner and outer worlds.”
  • Sometimes I think, “I hope someone will share this about me at my funeral.” I don’t mind if it’s a secret until then – after all, I want to be (and be known!) as a modest person. I don’t feel the need to advertise what few things might make me look good … but, I do want credit, even if I’m dead! Is it just me, or can you relate?

Abba, I admit I want credit. I admit I want to be admired. I admit that, even though your approval should be everything, I seem to need more. Help me to focus less on what others think of me and more on what others need from me.

__________

For More: Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System [CD] by Richard Rohr

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I appreciate your interest in my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Giving Up the Need to Be Noticed (Dallas Willard)

“In the practice of secrecy, we experience a continuing relationship with God independent of the opinions of others.  …One of the greatest fallacies of our faith, and actually one of greatest acts of unbelief, is the thought that our spiritual acts and virtues need to be advertised to be known. The frantic efforts of religious personages and groups to advertise and certify themselves is a stunning revelation of their lack of substance and faith. Jesus, surely with some humor, remarked that a city set on a hill cannot be hid (Matt. 5:14). I would not like to have the task of hiding Jerusalem, or Paris, or even Baltimore. The Gospel stories tell us how hard Jesus and his friends tried to avoid crowds and how badly they failed. Quite candidly, if it is possible for our faith and works to be hidden, perhaps that only shows they are of a kind that should be hidden. We might, in that case, think about directing our efforts toward the cultivation of a faith that is impossible to hide (Mark 7:24). Secrecy rightly practiced enables us to place our public relations department entirely in the hands of God, who lit our candles so we could be the light of the world, not so we could hide under a bushel (Matt. 5:14-16). We allow him to decide when our deeds will be known and when our light will be noticed.” Dallas Willard

“… let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
 …Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.
Matthew 5:16, 6:1

Moving From Head to Heart

  • The exact same activity can be good or bad depending on the motivation – to enhance God’s reputation, or your reputation or that of your ministry. Are you sensitive to this dynamic?
  • Have you prayerfully considered why you do what you do – devotions, acts of service, sacrifices for others, spiritual disciplines, impressive ministry?
  • If you take what is personal and intimate in your life with God and use it to promote yourself, you change it. Can you “place your public relations department entirely in the hands of God”, focusing on his approval – leaving the rest to him?

__________

For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

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I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate it!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Our Deep Need for Approval (Anthony de Mello and Brennan Manning)

“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.”
 Psalm 62:5-7a

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)

Daily Riches: Self-rejection and Being the Beloved (Henri Nouwen)

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can, indeed, present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. … Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” Henri Nouwen

“Who then will condemn us? No one—
for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,
and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand,
pleading for us.”
Romans 8:34

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of how dangerous it could be to your spiritual life for you to be really successful or popular? Can you list some of the possible pitfalls?
  • What about us makes power, success and popularity so intoxicating? (a “trap”)
  • Do you feel loved by God?    Is that sense of His love at “the core of your existence?”
  • What can you do to better hear “the sacred voice that calls you ‘the Beloved’?”
Abba, may the truth of your love for me “become enfleshed in everything I think, say or do.” Jesus, thank you for pleading for me. Drown me in your love.

__________

For More: Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

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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)

Daily Riches: Approval Addiction and Being the Beloved (Donald McCullough)

“One of the most important gifts that came my way in those days of misery [removal from ministry], I now realize, was the loss of public approval. … It forcibly separated me–the essential me– from the public’s perception of me. … To learn, not just in my head but in the depths of my being, that I was someone different from and always more than the perception of others was like being in a hot, stuffy room and having the windows thrown open. … [Now] I’m not much impressed with the cheering or overly worried about the jeering. I am who I am thank God. And yes, thank God, because who I am is a child of God, a beloved of God, a man in whom God takes delight. I had known this before, to be sure, but I didn’t know how much I still needed to learn it until I came to the limitations of public approval. Enduring these limitations was something I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy; now it’s something that, if not for the dishonor of it, I would covet for my dearest friends.”  Donald McCullough

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court;
indeed, I do not even judge myself.  …
It is the Lord who judges me. …
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will expose the motives of the heart.
At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you know in the depths of your being that you’re “someone different from and always more than the perception of others?”
  • Have you come to the place where you can “care very little” about the cheering or jeering (or judgment) of others?
  • The next time someone cheers you or jeers you, can you return to your “essential” status as “beloved of God” instead of letting cheering or jeering define you?

__________

For More: The Consolations of Desolation by Donald McCullough

_________________________________________________

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)