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: Held by God in Both Light and Shadow (Merton, Manning, Egan and Tillich) *

“One of the keys to real religious experience is the shattering realization that no matter how hateful we are to ourselves, we are not hateful to God. …Who am I? I am one loved by Christ.” Thomas Merton

“… the depths of our union with our indwelling God, [is] a sinking down into … the vivid awareness that my inner child is Abba’s child, held fast by Him, both in light and in shadow….”  Brennan Manning

“I stand anchored now in God before whom I stand naked, this God who tells me ‘You are my son, my beloved one.'” John Egan

“Faith is the courage to accept acceptance, to accept that God loves me as I am and not as I should be, because I’m never going to be as I should be.”  Paul Tillich

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived
and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us,
not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of his mercy.”
Titus 3:3-5a

“Though my mother and father forsake me, Yahweh will receive me.” Psalm 27:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is it true that in this life you’re “never going to be as you should be?” Do you hate yourself for that? Should you? Does God hate you for that?
  • Are you able to “stand naked” before God and yet be “anchored in him?”  to know that you’re “held fast by Him, both in light and in shadow?”
  • Do you worry that “accepting acceptance” or “sinking down” into God’s grace in this way may be letting yourself off too easy? Do you think that fear of judgment will keep you in line better than unconditional love? If so, can you identify the source of that conviction?

__________

For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

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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 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  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 de Mello

_________________________________________________

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: Broken Before God … and Beloved (Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and John Egan) *

“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

“Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence. It is not merely a lofty thought, an inspiring idea, or one name among many. It is the name by which God knows us and the way He relates to us.”  Brennan Manning

“I stand anchored now in God before whom I stand naked, this God who tells me ‘You are my son, my beloved one.’”  John Egan

“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 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? (“the greatest trap”)
  • Do you feel loved by God?  Is that sense of His love at “the core of your existence?”
  • What can you change in your life to better hear “the sacred voice that calls you ‘the Beloved’?”
Abba, may the truth of your love for me be the foundation of everything I think, say and 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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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antoinette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.” (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: Being the Beloved of God (Henri Nouwen) *

“Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, ‘Prove that you are a good person.’ Another voice says, ‘You’d better be ashamed of yourself.’ There also is a voice that says, ‘Nobody really cares about you,’ and one that says, ‘Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.’ But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.’ That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us ‘my Beloved.'”  Henri Nouwen

“The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Nouwen

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love,
and to know by experience this love that surpasses knowledge —
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness from God.”
Ephesians 3:17b-19 (my trans.)

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I’ve heard all these other insistent, noisy voices, with their deceiving and devastating counsel. Have you?
  • Just how “wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love” for you? Do you actually “know by experience” about God’s love for you, or is this something you merely believe or confess?
  • Are you spending sufficient time in the silence of solitude to hear for yourself that you are God’s “beloved?” If not, what specifically can you do about that?

Abba, may I be rooted and grounded in Christ’s unfailing love for me, comprehending that which surpasses knowledge as I experience it in the deepest part of who I am. Help me to protect silent spaces where I can listen to your voice.

__________

For More: The Still, Small Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen

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Thomas Merton expresses my heart for Daily Riches: “If I dare, in these few words, to ask you some direct and personal questions, it is because I address them as much to myself as to you. It is because I am still able to hope that a civil exchange of ideas can take place between two persons — that we have not yet reached the stage where we are all hermetically sealed, each one in the collective arrogance and despair of his own herd.” I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. (Psalm 90:14) . I appreciate your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: Held by God in Both Light and Shadow (Merton, Manning, Egan and Tillich)

“One of the keys to real religious experience is the shattering realization that no matter how hateful we are to ourselves, we are not hateful to God. …Who am I? I am one loved by Christ.” Thomas Merton

“… the depths of our union with our indwelling God, [is] a sinking down into … the vivid awareness that my inner child is Abba’s child, held fast by Him, both in light and in shadow….”  Brennan Manning

“I stand anchored now in God before whom I stand naked, this God who tells me ‘You are my son, my beloved one.'” John Egan

“Faith is the courage to accept acceptance, to accept that God loves me as I am and not as I should be, because I’m never going to be as I should be.”  Paul Tillich

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived
and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us,
not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of his mercy.”
Titus 3:3-5a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is it true that in this life you’re “never going to be as you should be?” Do you hate yourself for that? Should you? Does God hate you for that?
  • Are you able to “stand naked” before God and yet be “anchored in him?”  to know that you’re “held fast by Him, both in light and in shadow?”
  • Do you worry that “accepting acceptance” or “sinking down” into God’s grace in this way may be letting yourself off too easy? Do you think that fear of judgment will keep you in line better than unconditional love? If so, can you identify the source of that conviction?

__________

For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

_________________________________________________

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 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 Preposterous Idea of “Worthiness” (Thomas Merton)

“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

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  Isaiah 6:1-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • “God … sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.” Do you think of your approval and acceptance with God as depending on your performance? It is irrelevant how we perform?
  • Are you able to “forget” the unworthiness of your brothers? If not, is that because you yourself are keeping score? Are you doing better than they are? Are you doing well enough to be “worthy” before God?
  • Think about it, what makes such an idea of worthiness so laughable and “preposterous?”

__________

For More: Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley

_________________________________________________

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

_________________________________________________

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: Being the Beloved (Henri Nouwen)

“Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, ‘Prove that you are a good person.’ Another voice says, ‘You’d better be ashamed of yourself.’ There also is a voice that says, ‘Nobody really cares about you,’ and one that says, ‘Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.’ But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.’ That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us ‘my Beloved.'”  Henri Nouwen

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love,
and to know by experience this love that surpasses knowledge —
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness from God.”
Ephesians 3:17b-19 (my trans.)

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I’ve heard all these other insistent, noisy voices, with their deceiving and devastating counsel. Have you?
  • Just how “wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love” for you? Is this something you “experience” or something intellectual or doctrinal?
  • Is the amount of time you spend, just listening in the silence of solitude, enough for you to really hear that you are God’s “beloved?” If not, what can you do to change that?

Abba, may I be rooted and grounded in Christ’s unfailing love for me, comprehending that which surpasses knowledge as I experience it in the deepest part of who I am. Help me to protect silent spaces where I can listen to your voice.

__________

For More: The Still, Small Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen

_________________________________________________

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)