Tuesday, April 20, 2004

For the most part, life is wonderful! I have the man of my dreams, our precious daughter and most of all the Father of all, my King, Lord and Savior. Still, I'm going through a bit of a struggle within me...I fear that sometimes my best just isn't good enough, and I despair that in my humanness, I do not always give my best. I am blessed to have an amazing husband who affirms the opposite and friends who are there for me. However, at work (not always my 'happy place'), I don't have such affirmation and encouragement. It's a bit of a stressful time there right now, and my personality, under stress, even imagines criticism...so right now, I'm a bit of my own enemy. Brennan Manning, in his book "Abba's Child" reminded me of the Father's perspective on this all. Here are some quotes that have struck my heart:

"It is much like the story of the harried executive who went to the desert father and complained about his frustration in prayer, his flawed virtue, and his failed relationships. The hermit listened closely to his visitor's rehearsal of the struggle and disappointments in trying to lead a Christian life. He then went into the dark recesses of his cave and came out with a basin and a pitcher of water.

'Now watch the water as I pour it into the basin,' he said. The water splashed on the bottom and against the sides of the container. It was agitated and turbulent. At first the stirred-up water swirled around the inside of the basin; then it gradually began to settle, until finally the small fast ripples evolved into larger swells that oscillated back and forth. Eventually, the surface became so smooth the visitor could see his face reflected in the placid water. 'That is the way it is when you live constantly in the midst of others,' said the hermit. 'You do not see yourself as you really are because of all the confusion and disturbance. You fail to recognize the divine presence in your life and the consciousness of your belovedness slowly fades.'
It take time for the water to settle."

"Conscientiously 'wasting' time with God enables me to speak and act from greater strength, to forgive rather than nurse the latest bruise to my wounded ego, to be capable of magnaminity during the petty moments of life. It empowers me to lose myself, at least temporarily, against a greater background than the tableau of my fears and insecurities, to merely be still and know that God is God."

"God speaks to the deepest strata of our souls, into our self-hatred and shame, our narcisissism, and takes us through the night into the daylight of His truth: 'Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. You are precious in my eyes, because you are honored and I love you...the mountains may depart, the hills be shaken but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken.' (Isa 43:1, 4; 54:10)"

"At every moment of our existence God offers us this good news. Sadly, many of us continue to cultivate such an artificial identity that the liberating truth of our belovedness fails to break through. So we become grim, fearful, and legalistic. We hide our pettiness and wallow in guilt. We huff and puff to fix ourselves...From hound-dog disciples and sour-faced saints, spare us, oh Lord!"

"Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion."

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