Daily Riches: Feel Your Feelings (Lynn Baab)

“When I’m stressed about something, my feelings get buried under my thoughts. Some of those thoughts center around questions about the future: “What if this happens? What if that happens?” Other thoughts are about the feelings: “You shouldn’t be feeling these negative feelings. You should be trusting God.”Some months ago [my therapist] suggested that I practice self-compassion as a way to cope with negative feelings, and I’ve had a wonderful year learning more about what self-compassion looks like and why God would desire it for me. The form of self-compassion that I have found helpful is summarized in the acronym RAIN:

1. Recognize [feelings]. It takes a bit of effort to figure out what I’m feeling because the thoughts swirling around my brain are so vivid and powerful. When I feel my negative thoughts careening out of control, I’m learning to stop and try to discern the feelings that lie behind the thoughts. Most often those feelings are fear or sadness, but I also sometimes feel anger, hopelessness and frustration.

2. Acknowledge [feelings]. After recognizing the emotion, I sit with it for several breaths. I focus on my breathing and let myself feel whatever it is.

3. Investigate [feelings]. I try to identify where the emotion is located in my body, because this helps identify emotions the next time they happen. I also try to figure out what the emotion wants. Sometimes it wants to dominate my life. Sometimes it just wants to be acknowledged.

4. Non-identify [with feelings]. When the feeling wants to dominate, it wants to be pervasive. It wants me to identify myself with that feeling. When I non-identify with the feeling, I might think about feelings as weather. They come and go. …Or I might focus on other feelings I’ve had that day–such as contentment, joy, happiness, or gratitude, no matter how fleeting–to demonstrate to my brain that this strong negative feeling is only a part of me, a part that needs to be acknowledged, but a part that does not define me.

…Why is feeling feelings a Christian spiritual practice? The Psalms demonstrate that all emotions can be brought into God’s presence. How can we do that if we don’t know what we’re feeling? God made us, knows us, and calls us to love and serve him. How can we do that with our whole beings if our feelings are driving us into counterproductive thoughts and behavior? My swirling negative thoughts truly are demonic, and I’m much better able to let them go if I acknowledge the feelings that lie behind them. This process of feeling the feelings, called self-compassion by some people, extends the same kind of compassion to myself that God asks me to extend to others. Why would God want me to show compassion for others but not for myself? Living under the burden of stress makes it harder for me to love and serve God. This gift of self-compassion through the RAIN process enables me to love and serve God more fully because I am not preoccupied with my swirling thoughts and feelings. Christian spiritual practices help us walk with Jesus and help us grow in faithfulness, and this process helps me do that.” Lynn Baab

“Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes
asked Jesus to leave them,
because they were overcome with fear.”
Luke 8:37

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you dominated by your emotions?
  • Do you see emotions as misleading?
  • What can you learn from your emotions?

Abba, teach me to listen for your voice in my emotions.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

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Thanks for following this blog. Longer this time. Too hard to abbreviate more, too important not to do.

Daily Riches: When Things Happen Too Fast (Carl Honore and Milan Kundera)

“When things happen too fast, nobody can be certain about anything, about anything at all, not even about himself.” Milan Kundera

“Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating. Who wants to live without the Internet or jet travel? The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry. Even when speed starts to backfire, we invoke the go-faster gospel. Falling behind at work? Get a quicker Internet connection. No time for that novel you got at Christmas? Learn to speed-read. Diet not working? Try liposuction. Too busy to cook? Buy a microwave. And yet some things cannot, should not, be sped up. They take time; they need slowness. When you accelerate things that should not be accelerated, when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay. …For a chilling vision of where this behaviour leads, look no further than Japan, where the locals have a word—karoshi—that means ‘death by overwork.’ One of the most famous victims of karoshi was Kamei Shuji, a high-flying broker who routinely put in ninety-hour weeks during the Japanese stock market boom of the late 1980s. His company trumpeted his superhuman stamina in newsletters and training booklets, turning him into the gold standard to which all employees should aspire. In a rare break from Japanese protocol, Shuji was asked to coach senior colleagues in the art of salesmanship, which piled extra stress onto his pinstriped shoulders. When Japan’s stock bubble burst in 1989, Shuji worked even longer hours to pick up the slack. In 1990, he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was twenty-six. …All the things that bind us together and make life worth living—community, family, friendship—thrive on the one thing we never have enough of: time.” Carl Honore

“Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry”
James 1:19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • How often do you realize you’re hurrying for no reason? Do you then slow yourself down?
  • Do you feel compelled or driven to be more productive? What does your answer say about you?
  • Does the way you live allow enough time for “community, family, friendship?”

Abba, in practicing more slowness may I discover more bountiful living.

For More:  In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

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

Daily Riches: Soldiering On In Ministry (Ruth Haley Barton)

“One of the occupational hazards for those of us in ministry is that it can become hard to distinguish between the times when we are ‘on’ and working for God and times when we can just be with God for our own soul’s sake. We might notice that Scripture has been reduced to a textbook or a tool for ministry rather than an intimate personal communication from God to us. Perhaps prayer has become an exhausting round of different kinds of mental activity or a public display of our spiritual prowess. When we repress what is real in our lives and just keep soldiering on, we get weary from holding it in and eventually it leaks out in ways that are damaging to ourselves and to others. Times of extended retreat give us a chance to come home to ourselves in God’s presence and to be with God with what is true about us in utter privacy. This is important for us and for those we serve. …on retreat there is time and space to attend to what is real in our own lives—to celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed tears, sit with the questions, feel anger, attend to loneliness—and allow God to be with us in those places. These are not times for problem solving because not everything can be solved. On retreat we rest ourselves in God and wait on him to do what is needed and we return to the battle with fresh energy and keen insight.” Ruth Hayley Barton

“My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you living/working “for God” without spending time “with God?”
  • Are you emotionally and spiritually exhausted? …running on fumes? …ready to melt down, blow up or burn out?
  • Are you living/ministering out of a place of emptiness? … “a parched and weary land?”
  • If your answers are “yes” to these questions, you’re in a very dangerous place. Can you make some changes? If not, what does that mean?

Abba, may my life and ministry flow out of a cultivated intimacy with you. Only you can do what needs to be done.

For more: Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton

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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. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Where Busyness is a Fetish (Mark Buchanan, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, Tim Keller and Pete Scazzero)

“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still. Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God—the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.” Mark Buchanan

“A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us—not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.” Marva J. Dawn

“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” Eugene H. Peterson

“You cannot have a proper work theology unless you have a proper rest theology.” Tim Keller

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.’”
Isaiah 30:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you positioned to receive what cannot be obtained by pursuing? What might you be missing because of busyness and hurry?
  • Are you gradually being freed from your “feeble attempts” to be God in your own life? Are you learning to let God take care of you?
  • Do you have a “rest theology?” Are you running on fumes? How often do you bring your “best self” to the task or relationship?
  • Is whatever you’re doing now helping you “to know God more deeply?” Why not block out a day soon to “stop, rest, delight and contemplate” (Pete Scazzero), and see what a difference that can make?

Abba, help me live my theology of rest.

For More: The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. Thanks for following and sharing my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment or question. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Necessary Union of Contemplation and Activism (Pete Scazzero, Mother Teresa and Stephen W. Smith)

“Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love.” Erich Fromm

“In Stephen W. Smith’s recent book, Inside Job, he cites the Rule of Life Mother Teresa laid down for her nuns in their work among the sick and dying in Calcutta:

The Sisters shall spend 1 day in every week, 1 week in every month,
1 month in every year, 1 year in every 6 years in the Motherhouse,
where in contemplation and penance together with solitude she can
gather in the spiritual strength, which she might have used up in the
service of the poor.

“Imagine 1 Sabbath day every week, 1 Sabbath week every month, 1 Sabbath month every year, and 1 Sabbath year every 7 years. …Every one of us ministers among the sick and dying. Yet we consistently underestimate how much emotional/spiritual life is flowing out from us. If we are going to have the kind of impact Mother Teresa had, it will require we do less, not more. …Remember, we cannot give what we do not possess….” Pete Scazzero

“God is the friend of silence. His language is silence. And he requires us to be silent to discover him. We need, therefore, silence to be alone with God, to speak to him, to listen to him and to ponder his words deep in our hearts. We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and to be transformed. For silence can give us a new outlook on life. In it we are filled with the grace of God, which makes us do all things with joy.” Mother Teresa

“But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster,
and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
Jesus in Luke 5:15,16

Moving From the Head to the Heart (Scazzero questions)

  • How aware are you of the life that is flowing out of you to others?
  • Our bodies are major, not minor prophets. If your body could speak, what would it be saying to you about the pace of your life today?
  • Are your daily rhythms sufficient for what God has placed before you (Mother Teresa’s nuns spend 3 hours a day in fixed hour prayer)?
  • What adjustments might God be inviting you to make in your weekly, monthly, and annual rhythms?  Often what worked for us in one season (e.g. last year) is not sufficient for the season we are in this year.

Jesus, may I live so that life flows into me from you and out of me to others.

For More: Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa

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If you liked this, please share it! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: The Primary Work of the Christian Leader (Gordon MacDonald, Henri Nouwen and Parker Palmer) *

“The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God’s honor and God’s purposes.” Gordon MacDonald

“Before we can conquer the world we must conquer the self.” Oswald Sanders

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“The goal of education and formation for the ministry is continually to recognize the Lord’s voice, his face, and his touch in every person we meet.” Henri Nouwen

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
  Almighty Yahweh!
My soul yearns, even faints,
 for the courts of Yahweh;
my heart and my flesh cry out
 for the living God.”
Psalm 84:1-2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Christian leader, do you consider “the forming of your soul that it might be a dwelling place for God” to be your “primary work?” Have you established routines and prioritized practices accordingly?
  • When you think about whether you are successful, how often do you turn to consider how you’re doing at this “core activity?” If not this, what do you think about instead? Are other responsibilities, real or imagined, deterring you from this non-optional, first-level activity?
  • Gordon MacDonald is a wise guide here. Can you accept his warning that if you fail at this point you probably “will not last in leadership for a life-time … [or your work will] become less and less reflective of God’s honor” over time?  Can you take the time to be this kind of leader in spite of the expectations and pressures others place on you – even perhaps with little encouragement from anyone else?

Abba, I pray that the Christian leaders I know would live a life of deep intimacy with you. Call them to yearn for you like the psalmist does, and to seek your empowering presence. And Lord, help those of us under their care to prayerfully support them and diligently protect them when they attempt this greatest of all work.

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For More: Cultivating the Soul by Gordon MacDonald

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Sabbath and the Trance of Overwork (Wayne Muller and Thomas Merton)

“Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop…. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished. … In the trance of overwork, we take everything for granted. We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world; rather with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away.” Wayne Muller

“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity
when activity is not demanded of me.” Thomas Merton

And [Jesus] said to them,
 “Come away by yourselves
to a secluded place
and rest a while.”
Mark 6:31

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is the “trance of overwork” preventing you from having “time to savor this life?” Is your urgency necessary or “artificial?” Really?
  • Is your life characterized by a “dizzying haste?” Do you have the time to care “deeply and gently” for yourself and your loved ones?
  • Is your “time to stop” only when you’re “finished?” If so, what does that say about you? Do you ever really stop?

Abba, teach me to stop and rest – to learn to care deeply and gently for myself – and then out of that place, to care deeply and gently for others and our world.

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For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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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: Activism Requires Contemplation (Wayne Muller and Chris Heuertz) *

“I have sat on dozens of boards and commissions with many fine, compassionate, and generous people who are so tired, overwhelmed, and overworked that they have neither the time nor the capacity to listen to the deeper voices that speak to the essence of the problems before them. Presented with the intricate and delicate issues of poverty, public health, community well-being, and crime, our impulse, born of weariness, is to rush headlong toward doing anything that will make the problem go away. Maybe then we can finally go home and get some rest. But without the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom, and delight embedded in the problem-solving process itself, the solution we patch together is likely to be an obstacle to genuine relief. Born of desperation, it often contains enough fundamental inaccuracy to guarantee an equally perplexing problem will emerge as soon as it is put into place. In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable.” Wayne Muller

“My rhythms have become clearer over the years. I know I need:
Sabbath for Rest
Retreats for Reflection
Vacations for Recreation
Sabbaticals for Renewal.
“And if I don’t make rhythms for rest, reflection, recreation and renewal then all of these opportunities will inevitably be wasted on recovery.”
Chris Heuertz

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.’”
Isaiah 30:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Years ago Lewis Grant coined the phrase “sunset fatigue” to describe the exhausted state in which many arrive home at the end of a day. Do you often feel like you’re done before the day is?
  • Exhaustion sabotages much of what we do, not only at home after “sunset”, but in business settings, community service or in the work of social justice. Can you relate?
  • Muller and Heuertz both insist that we need to regularly stop, rest, delight and contemplate – essentially that self-care must precede any kind of usefulness. Does your life reflect this truth?

Abba, lead me regularly into the sabbath rest you have for me, and help me to live out of that. Impress upon me the need to care for myself well if I’m to be of any use to others.

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For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against.” (Malcolm X)  I love these words of Malcolm X , but I don’t agree with everything he’s said, written or done. The same is true for those who show up on the pages of Daily Riches. Eventually, writers and teachers from many diverse backgrounds will make an appearance here, and I offer their insights to you without any kind of vetting for “orthodoxy.” Sometimes we learn the most from those with whom we differ, and to turn only to those who are always right or reliable would eliminate everyone. My working assumption in Daily Riches is that the spirit of God will lead you into all truth. So I hope you’ll read, seeking to have your “truth” challenged, critiqued, and improved – and that a priori you’ll be for the truth no matter who tells it. That’s difficult but always worth the effort. Thanks for reading and sharing my daily blog. Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Your Soul as God’s Dwelling Place (Gordon MacDonald, Parker Palmer and Richard Foster) *

“The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God’s honor and God’s purposes.”  Gordon MacDonald

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” Richard Foster

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus in John 15:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The first quote is meant for pastors, but isn’t it true for all of us? The problem is, many of us (pastors included) don’t think of the forming of our own soul as our “primary work.” Do you think of this as your most important work, or are you more focused on serving God and others?
  • Can you imagine offering your best self to your marriage, your family, your neighborhood, your church, your country – to anything – without such a focus?
  • Gordon MacDonald and many of us insisted on learning this the hard way. Will you also need to learn by suffering and painful loss, or can you heed these words of warning? Can you make an action plan so that you don’t fool yourself now with merely good intentions?

Abba, I know that you have taken up residence in me already, and that I’ll always be your dwelling place. It’s only whether I’ll be a holy or unholy one, whether an expansive, welcoming one, or a restricted inhospitable one. Help me to welcome you as lovingly as you have welcomed me.

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For More: “Cultivating the Soul: Spiritual Formation Can Happen, Without Saying a Word” (article) by Gordon MacDonald

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , 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: Sabbath and the Trance of Overwork (Wayne Muller and Thomas Merton)

“Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop…. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished. … In the trance of overwork, we take everything for granted. We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world; rather with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away.” Wayne Muller

“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity
when activity is not demanded of me.” Thomas Merton

And [Jesus] said to them,
 “Come away by yourselves
to a secluded place
and rest a while.”
Mark 6:31

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is the “trance of overwork” preventing you from having “time to savor this life?” Is your urgency necessary or “artificial?”
  • Is your life characterized by a “dizzying haste?” Do you have the time to care “deeply and gently” for yourself and your loved ones?
  • Is your “time to stop” only when you’re “finished?” If so, what does that say about you?

Abba, teach me to stop and rest – to learn to care deeply and gently for myself – and then out of that place, to care deeply and gently for others and our world.

__________

For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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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: Contemplation and Activism (Wayne Muller)

“I have sat on dozens of boards and commissions with many fine, compassionate, and generous people who are so tired, overwhelmed, and overworked that they have neither the time nor the capacity to listen to the deeper voices that speak to the essence of the problems before them. Presented with the intricate and delicate issues of poverty, public health, community well-being, and crime, our impulse, born of weariness, is to rush headlong toward doing anything that will make the problem go away. Maybe then we can finally go home and get some rest. But without the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom, and delight embedded in the problem-solving process itself, the solution we patch together is likely to be an obstacle to genuine relief. Born of desperation, it often contains enough fundamental inaccuracy to guarantee an equally perplexing problem will emerge as soon as it is put into place. In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable.” Wayne Muller

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.’”
Isaiah 30:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Years ago Lewis Grant coined the phrase “sunset fatigue” to describe the exhausted state in which so many arrive home at the end of a work day. Do you often feel like you’re done before the day is?
  • Muller’s words remind us that exhaustion sabotages much of what we do, not only at home after “sunset”, but in business settings, community service or the practice of social justice.
  • Muller’s words are from his book Sabbath, so he is suggesting that we need to regularly stop, rest, delight and contemplate – essentially that self-care must precede any kind of usefulness. Does your life reflect this truth?

Abba, lead me regularly into the sabbath rest you have for me, and to live out of that. Impress upon me the need to care for myself well if I’m to be of any use to others.

__________

For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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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)