Daily Riches: Insisting on Human-to-Human Connections (Omid Safi)

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, ‘How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?’ When I ask, ‘How are you?’ that is really what I want to know. I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul. Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence. Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch. …How is the state of your heart today? Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, ‘I am just so busy,’ we can follow up by saying, ‘I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.’” Omid Safi

“The swiftest runners won’t be fast enough to escape.
Even those riding horses won’t be able to save themselves.”
Amos 2:15
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Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Many people commented on Safi’s original post, deploring how busy they are and how trapped they feel. How about you?
  • How is your heart doing at this moment? …yesterday? …typically?
  • I’ve gotten to the point where I sometimes answer the question “How’s it going?” with just “Hi.” Isn’t that sad?
  • Do you ask people how they are–and then wait for an answer? …a real answer? Do you listen to the answer? Is your response evidence that a “human-to-human connection” has occurred?

Abba, break me of busyness that keeps me from experiencing loving human connections, and from hurry that cannot save me.

For More: Crazy Busy by Edward Hallowell

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Thank you for your support of my blog! I wish you a new year full of divine favor. – Bill

Daily Riches: Purpose Driven or Just Driven? (Mark Buchanan)

“Drivenness may awaken purpose or be a catalyst for purpose, but it rarely fulfills it: More often it jettisons it. A common characteristic of driven people is that, at some point, they forget their purpose. They lose the point. The very reason they began something – embarked on a journey, undertook a project, waged a war, entered a profession, married a woman – erodes under the weight of their striving. Their original inspiration may have been noble. But driven too hard, it gets supplanted by greed for more, or dread of setback, or force of habit. Drivenness erodes purposefulness. The difference between living on purpose and being driven surfaces most clearly in what we do with time. The driven are fanatical time managers – time-mongers, time-herders, time-hoarders. Living on purpose requires skillful time management, true, but not the kind that turns brittle, that attempts to quarantine most of what makes life what it is: the mess, the surprises, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs. Too much rigidity stifles purpose. I find that the more I try to manage time, the more anxious I get about it. And the more prone I am to lose my purpose. Truly purposeful people have an ironic secret: They manage time less and pay attention more. The most purposeful people I know rarely overmanage time, and when they do, it’s usually because they’re lapsing into drivenness, into a loss of purpose for which they overcompensate with mere busyness. No, the distinguishing mark of purposeful people is not time management. It’s that they notice. They’re fully awake.” Mark Buchanan

“And there arose also a dispute among [Jesus’ disciples]
as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.”
Luke 22:24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Which do you see as more valuable, “managing time” or “paying attention?” Which describes the way you live?
  • How often do you forget your real purpose and “lapse into drivenness?” Do you recognize it when it happens? If so, how?
  • Are you too rigid to benefit from the somewhat routine “surprises, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs” of life?

Abba, when I lapse into drivenness, when I overcompensate with busyness, remind me not to hurry, remind me to be fully awake, remind me to listen well, to love well, and to choose a pace that allows for depth and intimacy with you and others.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: What Drives Us (Henri Nouwen)

“When you keep going anxiously to the mailbox in the hope that someone [outside the monastery] …has thought about you; when you keep wondering if and what your friends are thinking of you; when you keep having hidden desires to be a somewhat exceptional person in this community; when you keep having fantasies about guests mentioning your name; when you keep looking for special attention from the abbot or any one of the monks …then you know that you haven’t even started to create a little place for God in your heart. When nobody writes anymore; when hardly anyone even thinks of you or wonders how you are doing; when you are just one of the brothers doing the same things as they are doing, not better or worse; when you have been forgotten by people – maybe then your heart and mind have become empty enough to give God a real chance to let his presence be known to you.” Henri Nouwen

Psalm 46 emphasizes God’s presence with us in chaos and crisis. We can relax in their midst (as Jesus did in his day) – receiving rather than grasping, and relinquishing control to God as a modus operandi. Our response in chaos and crisis, rather than being overwhelmed, can be to remember our limits and trust. The difference between striving, which here is condemned, and working hard, which elsewhere is commended, depends on what is in the head and heart in each case. Once might resemble the other, but the kind of peace found resting in God’s presence, striving cannot give. In its posture, pace, and motives, striving falls short. The mention of Jacob’s God is ironic since Jacob’s ‘preconversion’ name means ‘to grasp’ (cf. Gen. 25:26). It also encourages, since God condescends to use and bless Jacob – and by extension, us. This passage is my permission to ‘relax’ when it comes to work, finances, parenting, marriage – even spiritual formation. I can talk, walk and drive slowly. I can cease striving for control, healing, satisfaction, meaning, companionship, success and happiness – in other words, in all things.” William Britton

“Cease striving and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.

Yahweh of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

Psalm 46:10,11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Life in a monastery doesn’t eliminates the desire to be exceptional, noticed and admired. Do such desires lead to striving in your life?
  • Can you differentiate between working hard and striving?
  • Are you learning to “relax” as Jesus did in the midst of chaos and crisis?

Abba, the “God of Jacob” is perfect for me.

For More: The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen

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If you liked this, please share it! – Bill

Daily Riches: Hooked On Productivity (Jan Johnson, Evelyn Underhill and Eugene Peterson)

“We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest.” Evelyn Underhill

“My jabbering prayers have been full of what I want, what I think I should have, and what I want God to do. …Instead of fussing, striving, and monitoring, we surrender ourselves to God over and over again. For those of us who are hooked on productivity, this approach is radical. …Letting go of the need to perform for God sets our hearts on things above and turns our backs on self-importance. Instead of trying to have an accomplishment-driven relationship with God, enjoying God’s presence points us toward:

  • resting instead of productivity,
  • being silent instead of talking,
  • listening instead of giving advice,
  • empowering others instead of preaching to them,
  • asking questions instead of knowing answers,
  • surrendering instead of gritting your teeth,
  • giving instead of consuming,
  • striving for brokenness instead of upward mobility, and
  • gearing down to simplicity instead of gearing up to empire building.” Jan Johnson

“In our religious striving, we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.” Eugene Peterson

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “kept in perpetual unrest?” Are you “hooked on productivity?”
  • If so, what do these things say about your need to seem important to others? …to seem important to God? Could that be what you’re “usually looking for?”
  • The Scripture reminds us that God does not require or want our anxious striving. The list above spells out what a relaxed, trusting life might look like. Look at that list again. Is God speaking to you about anything there?

Father, May I rest instead of striving.
walk instead of racing.
receive instead of grasping.
listen instead of speaking.
endure instead of quitting.
May I trust instead of worrying.
appreciate instead of griping.
forgive instead of blaming, and
above all, may I love.

For More: When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer by Jan Johnson

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting (Susan Scott, Pierre Lacout, and Gunilla Norris)

“Silence makes us nervous. …we fear that silence may be interpreted as low self-esteem or questionable intelligence. …Many feel silence is a form of nonparticipation, signaling lack of interest. …For fear of being thought clueless, have you dived into a conversation, throwing out opinions, arguing your point, defending your ideas throughout a debate, only to discern later, once you stopped to catch your breath, that there was another, wiser road you could have taken? It is understandable that emerging leaders believe they need to be fast on their conversational feet …Fierce conversations, however, require silence. In fact, the more emotionally loaded the subject, the more silence is required. And, of course, this carries over into our homes, into our personal relationships. Often we are simply trying to intuit something about ourselves, our companions, or the topics themselves. Sometimes we need silence in which to make a decision about the closeness we feel for our companions or the distance we feel from them. Once in a precious while, silence is merely abstinence from self-assertion.  …Often my role is to slow down a conversation, and silence is my greatest tool in this. As we talk with people, as we sit with them in silence, what is in the way–anger, numbness, impatience, manipulation, rigidity, blame, ego, cruelty, ambition, insensitivity, intimidation, pride–may  fall away. It is in silence that such attributes, emotions, and behaviors reveal themselves as unnecessary. …My conversations with the people most important to me, silence has become my favorite sound, because that is where the work is being done. Of all the tools I use during conversations and all the principles I keep in mind, silence is the most powerful of all.”  Susan Scott

“When we can stand aside from the usual and perceive the fundamental, change begins to happen. …Silence brings us to back to basics, to our senses, to our selves.” Gunilla Norris

“Silence is the welcoming acceptance of the other.” Pierre Lacout

“fools multiply words”  Ecclesiastes 10:14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you remember that “silence is required” in your next “emotionally loaded” conversation?
  • In your relationships, can you trust silence to “do the heavy lifting” like that described above?
  • Will you embrace silence and be brought “back to your senses?”

Abba, I come today only with silence.

For More: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott*

*Special thanks to Tad Blackburn for making me aware of this book.

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Summer Vacation Break

Hi everyone. I will be on vacation this week, so I won’t be sending out any Daily Riches from richerbyfar.com. As always, I really appreciate your interest in and support of the blog. Thanks for reading and sharing, and for your prayers!

While I’m away, don’t forget there are about 450 daily posts from the last 18 months. I’m sure there is something there you haven’t seen and that may encourage you as you seek after God and God seeks after you. (see below)

Bill

Daily Riches: Worshiping a Truly Human Jesus (Edward Hays)

“Since smiling is extraordinarily rare in depictions of divine or savior figures, Buddhist scholars are careful to distinguish the smile of Buddha. They list six classes of laughter, from the most sublime in a descending scale to the most uncouth and crude. They begin with sita, a faint, almost undetectable smile, which is followed by hasita, a smile that involves the slightest movement of the lips, revealing only a glimpse of the teeth. The third classification is vihasita, a broad smile reaching from ear to ear that is often accompanied by laughter. Next comes upanhasita, a broad-faced smile that is accompanied by some laughter. Fifth is apahasita, a smile accompanied by loud laughter so intense as to bring tears. Finally in last place is aithasita, the belly laughter that is so boisterous as to rock the entire body. This wonderful Buddhist catalog of smiles was influenced by the ideals of aristocratic superiority, where only the first two classes were proper for those with refinement. In those circles, the Buddha is shown only smiling with that faint, almost undetectable, sita smile. If artists ever began to depict the joy of Jesus, they will no doubt also limit his expression to a sita smile. The next two classes of smiles, of moderate laughter are those ascribed to the merchant or the average person. The last two classes of excessive and vulgar laughter are reserved to the lower, coarse, and uncouth classes, such as peasants. Yet Jesus of Nazareth was no aristocrat, but a peasant and common workman, so if he laughed, did he do so in a boisterous way? If he did, would a raucous full-bodied laughter diminish in any way his holiness – his intimate union with the All Holy One? While Christianity lacks religious images of …smiling saints, Buddhism has that notoriously happy saintly, old and fat, potbellied Pu-Tai. This famous laughing Buddha is a statue often found at the entrances of Chinese restaurants. He is always depicted laughing with great gusto…. Pu-Tai …spurned the cloister claustrophobia of monasteries to wander the open road. He went dancing down the road to some inaudible music, played with little children in the village streets, and delighted them by acting the crazy fool with joyful, mad humor. Pu-tai, both a wise and holy man, knew that for those living in a village or a monastery the greatest temptation was the craving of the hungry old ego for respect or to be important. [But] Old Pu-Tai was unconcerned if his fat potbelly didn’t make him look saintly, nor that he was the target of the laughter of children and adults.” Edward Hays

“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter,
and everyone who hears about this
will laugh with me.’”
Genesis 21:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you imagine Jesus laughing with full-bodied laughter?
  • Would you still respect and worship Jesus if he had a pot-belly?
  • Pu-Tai reminds me at points of St. Francis, and of Jesus. Must we take ourselves so seriously?

Abba, help me follow my savior into a life of laughter and joy.

For More: The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

 

 

Daily Riches: Leadership with Vision (Pete Scazzero)

“The only miracle, except for the resurrection, that is recorded in the four gospels is Jesus’ multiplying of the loaves and fishes. Why? The truths contained there are so vast and far-reaching. In Jesus’ mentoring of the Twelve, he returns to it multiple times to teach them about mature leadership.

‘Why are you talking about having no bread?
Do you not see or understand?
Are your hearts hardened?’
Jesus in Mark 8:17

MATURE LEADERSHIP

  • …redefines abundance as the presence of Jesus Himself.
  • …sees beneath other’s anxiety and fear to the deeper work God is doing in and around them.
  • …responds to the situation according to his values and beliefs (integrity).
  • …courageously does what is best for everyone despite other’s lack of support and validation.
  • …invites others to combine their ‘loaves’ and thankfully offers them to the Father.
  • …creates specific steps to make an overwhelming task manageable by effectively breaking down the problem.
  • …models flexible (not rigid) balance of rest and service to others to do good when the need arises.

IMMATURE LEADERSHIP…

  • …defines abundance by considering only visible resources.
  • …gets entangled in other’s anxiety, fear or negativity.
  • …responds to the pressure of others and accommodates them.
  • …takes an easy path in an attempt to keep everyone ‘happy.’
  • …leaves people alone and isolated in their fears, limits and discouragement.
  • …grumbles, blames or ignores the problem because of feeling overwhelmed.
  • …becomes so rigid it results in losing compassion.

 

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you practicing a rhythm of “rest and service” like Jesus did? If not, what does that say about you?
  • What are you doing to keep compassion at the heart of your ministry, to keep it more central than anything else?
  • What might be the miracle waiting to happen should you focus on what you have, rather than on what you don’t? (Scazzero)

Abba, keep me from ministering with an unbelieving heart that misses how abundant the resources are in your hands, that settles for the reasonable, that misses out on the miracle.

For More: The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Pete Scazzero

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Freed From the Need to Impress (Henri Nouwen)

“‘Truth’ in our culture has become so largely determined by statistics that is is easy for us to truly believe that the number of people who listen, watch, or attend is a measure of the quality of that which is presented. It is difficult for us to believe that salvation came from the remnant of Israel. …that something very good came from an unknown place. …that our God is a God who came in the unspectacular form of a servant, who entered Jerusalem on an ass, and who was killed as a common criminal. And it is even more difficult to believe that a few unsophisticated fishermen brought God’s good news to the world. We act as if visibility and notoriety were the main criteria of the value of what we are doing. It is not easy to act otherwise. …How do we overcome this all-pervading temptation? is it important to realize that our hunger for the spectacular – like our desire to be relevant – has very much to do with our search for selfhood. …Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work? The more insecure, doubtful, and lonely we are, the greater our need for popularity and praise. Sadly… the more praise we receive, the more we desire. The hunger for human acceptance is like a bottomless barrel. … Jesus responded to the tempter, ‘You must not put the Lord you God to the test.’ Indeed, the search for spectacular glitter is an expression of doubt in God’s complete and unconditional acceptance of us. It is indeed putting God to the test. It is saying: ‘I am not sure that you really care, that you really love me, that you really consider me worthwhile. I will give you chance to show it by soothing my inner fears with human praise and by alleviating my sense of worthlessness by human applause. …The basis of all ministry is the experience of God’s unlimited and unlimiting acceptance of us as beloved children…. This experience of God’s acceptance frees us from our needy self and thus creates new space where we can pay selfless attention to others. This new freedom in Christ allows us to move in the world uninhibited by our compulsions….” Henri Nouwen

“whoever takes the lowly position of this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:4

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you fallen for the “numbers” trap?
  • Are you trying to “soothe your inner fears” with applause? to receive from people what God must give?
  • Can you sit quietly before God and just let him love you?

Abba, deliver us from illusion.

For More: The Selfless Way of Christ by Henri Nouwen

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Thanks for reading and sharing “Daily Riches.” –  Bill

 

Daily Riches: The Temptation to be Relevant, The Need to Be Respected (Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning)

“The first temptation with which the devil accosted Jesus was that of turning stones into loaves of bread. This is the temptation to be relevant, to do something that is needed and can be appreciated by people – to make productivity the basis of our ministry. How often have we heard these words: ‘What is the value of talking about God to hungry people? What is the use of proclaiming the Good News to people who lack food, shelter, or clothing? What is needed are people who can offer real help and support. Doctors can heal, lawyers can defend, bankers can finance, social workers can restructure. But what can you do? What do you have to offer?’ This is the tempter speaking! This temptation touches us at the center of our identity. In a variety of ways we are made to believe that we are what we produce. This leads to a preoccupation with products, visible results, tangible goods, and progress. The temptation to be relevant is difficult to shake since it is usually not considered a temptation, but a call. We make ourselves believe that we are called to be productive, successful, and efficient people whose words and actions show that working for God’s Reign is at least as dignified an occupation as working for General Electric, Mobil Oil, or the government. But this is giving in to the temptation to be relevant and respectable in the eyes of the world.” Henri Nouwen

“The world will respect us if we court it, it will respect us even more if we reject it in disdain and anger, but it will hate us if we simply take no notice of it or it’s priorities or what it thinks of us. In John’s gospel the Jews are said to be incapable of believing because ‘they receive glory from one another.’ There is a radical incompatibility between human respect and faith in Jesus Christ.” Brennan Manning

“… you accept glory from one another
but do not seek the glory
that comes from the only God”
John 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart
.
  • Are you “hooked” on others’ approval? What does that mean?
  • In Jesus’ day, it was the religious community “receiving glory from one another.” Pleasing the world is probably not our gravest danger.
  • Are you prepared for the day when you seem unproductive?

Abba, may your approval be all I need.

For More: The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Gripping the Hands of Jesus (Mother Teresa, James Stewart and Joan Chittister)

“Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” Mother Teresa

“Another thing which commonly stifles prayer is men’s business. The days become so full that prayer gets crowded out. Sometimes when that happens, the plea is urged in extenuation that work itself is prayer, that honest work is indeed one of the highest kinds of prayer which can ever be offered, and that, therefore, the crowding out of the devotional hour does not really matter much. But look at Jesus. Busy and crowded as our days are, his were emphatically more so. Read the opening chapters of Mark’s Gospel. There you have a number of pictures of typical days in Jesus’ ministry, days that were quite usual and normal for Jesus; and as you study these pictures and see how one duty was heaped upon another, how sick people and broken sinners came clamoring for him until far into the night and none of them were sent away unhelped, you can almost see the virtue going out of him and can realize something of the strain and the drain of it; and yet the harder the days were, the more time did Jesus make for prayer.” James Stewart

“Prayer that is regular confounds both self-importance and the wiles of the world. It is so easy for good people to confuse their own work with the work of creation. It is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important than what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow. It is so easy to commit ourselves to this century’s demand for product and action until the product consumes us and the actions exhaust us … [In Benedictine prayer] … a whole new life emerges and people are changed. Not in the way tornadoes change things, perhaps, but in the way that the sand in oysters does.” Joan Chittister

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace.”
Proverbs 11:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Have you ever succumbed to “self-importance” or “the wiles of the world” while ministering?
  • Have you ever lost your grip on the hands of Jesus while spending yourself in ministry?
  • What practices help you to remember your proper place? your dependence upon God to act?

Abba, humility, humility.

For More: The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ by James Stewart

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

 

Daily Riches: Gluttonous Insecurity (Mark Buchanan and Thomas Merton)

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” Thomas Merton

“Some of the most gifted people I’ve met are also some of the most broken. Their giftedness has not led them to a place of serenity and thankfulness…[instead] it’s led them to barrenness: fretting, blaming, self-pity, envy, accusation… My giftedness – modest as it is – has fed my insecurity more times than it has helped me vanquish it. I rarely rejoice in the times I think I have spoken or written well. It produces in me something more akin to panic: Can I do it again? Did I really do it then? If I’m doing well, why don’t more people say so? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with me? In quietness and rest is your salvation, God says. But we want to flee and amass horses, chariots, accolades, pats on the back – just about anything to bolster our sense of security and worthiness. But none of those things can. All they do is send us scurrying in the opposite direction. They just widen the hole we want them to fill. Like gluttony, insecurity’s appetite increases with every bite.” Mark Buchanan

“The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him.” … “Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.” … “God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness. And to laugh, after all at  the preposterous ideas of ‘worthiness’.”  Thomas Merton

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns?
No one.”
Romans 8:33

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you insecure? Do you need to think well of yourself?
  • Do you depend on the respect of others for your “sense of … worthiness?”
  • Have you entered into “the deepest reality [of your] utter nothingness” before God? Have you “surrendered yourself with all your sinfulness to God … [who sees] only his child redeemed by Christ?”

Abba, if I have you, I will want for nothing – and I have you.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Purpose Driven or Just Driven? (Mark Buchanan)

“Drivenness may awaken purpose or be a catalyst for purpose, but it rarely fulfills it: More often it jettisons it. A common characteristic of driven people is that, at some point, they forget their purpose. They lose the point. The very reason they began something – embarked on a journey, undertook a project, waged a war, entered a profession, married a woman – erodes under the weight of their striving. Their original inspiration may have been noble. But driven too hard, it gets supplanted by greed for more, or dread of setback, or force of habit. Drivenness erodes purposefulness. The difference between living on purpose and being driven surfaces most clearly in what we do with time. The driven are fanatical time managers – time-mongers, time-herders, time-hoarders. Living on purpose requires skillful time management, true, but not the kind that turns brittle, that attempts to quarantine most of what makes life what it is: the mess, the surprises, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs. Too much rigidity stifles purpose. I find that the more I try to manage time, the more anxious I get about it. And the more prone I am to lose my purpose. Truly purposeful people have an ironic secret: They manage time less and pay attention more. The most purposeful people I know rarely overmanage time, and when they do, it’s usually because they’re lapsing into drivenness, into a loss of purpose for which they overcompensate with mere busyness. No, the distinguishing mark of purposeful people is not time management. It’s that they notice. They’re fully awake.” Mark Buchanan

“And there arose also a dispute among [Jesus’ disciples]
as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.”
Luke 22:24

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you find that the more you attempt to manage time, “the more anxious you get about it?” … and more “prone” to lose your purpose?  or temper?
  • How often do you “pay attention more?” How often are you “fully awake?”
  • Do you “overcompensate with busyness” when you stray from your purpose? What can you do to change that?

Abba, when I lapse into drivenness, when I overcompensate with busyness, remind me not to hurry, remind me to be fully awake, remind me to listen well, to love well, and to choose a pace that allows for depth and intimacy with you and others.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting (Susan Scott, Pierre Lacout, and Gunilla Norris)

“Silence makes us nervous. …we fear that silence may be interpreted as low self-esteem or questionable intelligence. …Many feel silence is a form of nonparticipation, signaling lack of interest. …For fear of being thought clueless, have you dived into a conversation, throwing out opinions, arguing your point, defending your ideas throughout a debate, only to discern later, once you stopped to catch your breath, that there was another, wiser road you could have taken? It is understandable that emerging leaders believe they need to be fast on their conversational feet …Fierce conversations, however, require silence. In fact, the more emotionally loaded the subject, the more silence is required. And, of course, this carries over into our homes, into our personal relationships. Often we are simply trying to intuit something about ourselves, our companions, or the topics themselves. Sometimes we need silence in which to make a decision about the closeness we feel for our companions or the distance we feel from them. Once in a precious while, silence is merely abstinence from self-assertion.  …Often my role is to slow down a conversation, and silence is my greatest tool in this. As we talk with people, as we sit with them in silence, what is in the way–anger, numbness, impatience, manipulation, rigidity, blame, ego, cruelty, ambition, insensitivity, intimidation, pride–may  fall away. It is in silence that such attributes, emotions, and behaviors reveal themselves as unnecessary. …My conversations with the people most important to me, silence has become my favorite sound, because that is where the work is being done. Of all the tools I use during conversations and all the principles I keep in mind, silence is the most powerful of all.”  Susan Scott

“When we can stand aside from the usual and perceive the fundamental, change begins to happen. …Silence brings us to back to basics, to our senses, to our selves.” Gunilla Norris

“Silence is the welcoming acceptance of the other.” Pierre Lacout

“fools multiply words”  Ecclesiastes 10:14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you remember that “silence is required” in your next “emotionally loaded” conversation?
  • In your relationships, can you trust silence to “do the heavy lifting” like that described above?
  • Will you embrace silence and be brought “back to your senses?”

Abba, I come today only with silence.

For More: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott*

*Special thanks to Tad Blackburn for making me aware of this book.

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Restless Self Loves Its Illusions (Henri Nouwen)

“While teaching, lecturing, and writing about the importance of solitude, inner freedom, and peace of mind, I kept stumbling over my own compulsions and illusions. What was driving me from one book to another, one place to another, one project to another? …What was turning my vocation to be a witness to God’s love into a tiring job? These questions kept intruding themselves into my few unfilled moments and challenging me to face my restless self. Maybe I spoke more about God than with him. Maybe my writing about prayer kept me from a prayerful life. Maybe I was more concerned about the praise of men and women than the love of God. Maybe I was slowly becoming a prisoner of people’s expectations instead of a man liberated by divine promises. …I had succeeded in surrounding myself with so many classes to prepare, lectures to give, articles to finish, people to meet, phone calls to make, and letters to answer, that I had come quite close to believing that I was indispensable. …While complaining about too many demands, I felt uneasy when none were made. While speaking about the burden of letter writing, an empty mailbox made me sad. While fretting about tiring lecture tours, I felt disappointed when there were no invitations. While speaking nostalgically about an empty desk, I feared the day on which that would come true. In short: while desiring to be alone, I was frightened of being left alone. The more I became aware of these paradoxes, the more I started to see how much I had indeed fallen in love with my own compulsions and illusions, and how much I needed to step back and wonder, ‘Is there a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world?’” Henri Nouwen

“[Jesus] appointed twelve
that they might be with him….”
Mark 3:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has being a Christian or a minister become a “tiring job” for you?
  • Is your doing for God anchored in your being with God?
  • What were some of Nouwen’s illusions? his motivations? What are some of yours?
  • Is there a still point that anchors your life? What is that?

Abba, may I be a person liberated by divine promises, then useful to you and others.

For More:  The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen
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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”