Daily Riches (CV Era): When You’re “Disappearing” (David Whyte, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Flannery O’Connor)

” . . . I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” Flannery O’Connor

“It might be liberating for us to think of our onward life being informed as much by our losses and disappearances as by our gifted and virtuoso appearances and our marvelous arrivals. As if the foundational invitation being made to us at the core of our continual living and dying is an invitation to participate in the full seasonality of existence. Not just to feel fully here and fully justified in those haloed times when we are growing and becoming, and seen to be becoming, but also, to be just as present and to feel just as much here when we are in the difficult act of disappearing, often against our wills, making way often, for something we cannot as yet comprehend. The great and ancient art form and its daily practice; of living the full seasonal round of life; and a touchstone perhaps, of the ultimate form of human generosity: continually giving ourselves away to see how and in what form we are given back.” David Whyte

“Everything helps me to God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it,
and if you let your life go, you will save it.”
Jesus in Luke 17:33

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Taking everything as a blessing definitely requires some “squinting.” As you witness the horrors of these days, can you also “squint”–struggling to see what less obvious good might accompany the losses?
  • I love Whyte’s humor referring to our “virtuoso appearances” and “marvelous arrivals.” It’s then, when I’m advancing and being applauded that I’m satisfied–and gratified. Whyte challenges me to participate in the “full seasonality of existence”–where I’m unnoticed (“invisible”) and frustratingly unproductive/unsuccessful. Can you do that?
  • Are losses and limits teaching you to accept what you didn’t chose? . . . to nevertheless look for good in a situation you hate, and can’t “comprehend?”

Jesus, you made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the dead to live again. Do something strong in me in this time that seems so stagnant and unpromising.

For More: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

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Daily Riches: Ministry and Contentment (Pete Scazzero, John Calvin)

“Looking over our shoulder to more ‘successful’ ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders.  …We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the ‘new, big thing’ happening around him (John 3:26-30): (1) I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. … (2) I am second. “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. …May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given to us to speak His words to the world. (3) I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: ‘Those who win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.’ You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.” Pete Scazzero

“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you live by the numbers, you’ll die by the numbers. Do you measure ministry success by numbers? Is your identity based on competition and out-doing others?
  • Many leaders are tempted “to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open” that God has closed. When doors close, what’s your response?
  • Your ego has a plan for you as a pastor – and it’s not “disappearing.” Are you aware of it? prepared to handle it?

Abba, give our leaders great contentment serving you.

For More: Open Secrets by Richard Lischer

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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: 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: 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: 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: The Gift of Obscurity (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 more often choose secrecy and obscurity?

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

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with 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)

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