Archive for the ‘Acceptance’ Category

Gratitude Transforms

Friday, July 14th, 2017

The Dalai Lama’s ability to be grateful for the opportunities that exist even in exile was a profound shift in perspective, allowing him not only to accept the reality of his circumstances but also to see the opportunity in every experience. Acceptance means not fighting reality. Gratitude means embracing reality. It means moving from counting your burdens to counting your blessings, as the Archbishop had recommended, both as an antidote to envy and a recipe for appreciating our own lives.

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 243

Living in the Present, Without Fear

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Fear can only be experienced by living in the future. Trying to live in the future now, which is impossible, only creates strain and fear. Even if we move only five minutes ahead in a difficult situation, we create a lot of fear for ourselves. By living in the future rather than the present, we can only expect our future to be like the past, because the past is all we have to give our future. However, if we fully live in the present moment, we give this to our future, and fear disappears. When living fully in this moment, no matter how difficult it looks, we are not concerned about our future; therefore there can be no fear.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 213

All’s Grace

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

What if the busted and broken hearts could feel there’s a grace that holds us and calls us Beloved and says we belong and no brokenness ever has the power to break us away from being safe? What if we experienced the miracle of grace that can touch all our wounds?

I wanted to write it on walls and on the arms scarred with wounds, make it the refrain we sing in the face of the dark and broken places: No shame. No fear. No hiding. All’s grace. It’s always safe for the suffering here. You can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here. Grace will meet you here; grace, perfect comfort, will always be served here.

— Anne Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 20-21

Growth and Development

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

We get very angry with ourselves. We think we ought to be supermen and superwomen from the start. The Dalai Lama’s serenity didn’t come fully formed. It was through the practice of prayer and meditation that the gentleness, the compassion grew, his being patient and accepting — within reasonable limits. Accepting circumstances as they are, because if there are circumstances that you cannot change, then it’s no use beating your head against a brick wall; that just gives you a headache. This is a vale of growth and development.

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu, quoted by Douglas Abrams in The Book of Joy, p. 92

Do It For You.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The ultimate issue isn’t whether people deserve your negative thoughts; certainly many people do. The more important point is that they are your thoughts in your head, and you want them to be as beneficial to you as possible. We cannot appreciate and feel devalued at the same time. As long as you appreciate, you will not feel devalued, and you’ll eventually soar above.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 113

Forgiveness and Grief

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Forgiveness is so difficult because it involves death and grief. I had been looking for patterns in people extending generosity and love, but not in people feeling grief. At that moment it struck me: Given the dark fears we feel when we experience loss, nothing is more generous and loving than the willingness to embrace grief in order to forgive. To be forgiven is to be loved.

The death or ending that forgiveness necessitates comes in many shapes and forms. We may need to bury our expectations or dreams. We may need to relinquish the power that comes with “being right” or put to rest the idea that we can do what’s in our hearts and still retain the support or approval of others.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong, p. 150

Loving God

Friday, September 9th, 2016

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” If we are angry at God because of something that happened to us or because of something going on in the world, and we are reluctant to admit our anger either because it seems disrespectful or because we fear that God will punish us for being angry at Him, we won’t be able to “love God with all our heart.” We can only love him halfheartedly. The wife who is afraid to tell her husband how bothered she is by some of his habits, for fear that he will be upset with her and perhaps even leave her, will not be able to love him wholeheartedly, and that inability will affect their relationship. The adolescent who is scolded for being angry at his parents “after all we’ve done for you,” or whose hopes and dreams are mocked by his parents, will learn to keep his feelings to himself. That will be an impediment to his being able to love his parents as wholeheartedly as he would like to.

Accepting anger, ours and that of people close to us, has to be part of any honest relationship. If the opposite of faith is not doubt but despair, then the opposite of authentic love, wholehearted love, is not anger but pretense, censoring our feelings. I don’t believe God is fooled by that, nor do I believe that is what He wants from us. God will accept our anger, justified or not, so that we can then go on to love Him “with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our might.”

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 129-130.

Self-Acceptance

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Self-acceptance is the first step to holiness. But for many the path to self-acceptance can be arduous. Men, women, and children in ethnic or social minorities, with physical disabilities, with dysfunctional family backgrounds, with addictions, or those who feel unattractive, uneducated or undesirable may struggle for many years before accepting themselves as beloved children of God.

But the journey is essential. Many gay men and lesbians, for example, have told me that the real beginning of their spiritual path was accepting themselves as gay men and women — that is, the way that God made them. Coming to see themselves in this way, and, more important, allowing God to love them as they are, not as society might want them to be, or think they should be, is an important step in their relationship with God.

“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God loves us as we are because that’s how God made us.

— James Martin, S. J., The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, p. 380-381.

God Is Not a Betrayer.

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

God is not a betrayer — he does not betray and he has never betrayed me.

Because unanswered prayer that was urgent and beyond precious to you can feel like a knife to the heart. The enemy rushes in with feelings of betrayal; he whispers terrible things about God in our vulnerability. It is never, ever true. But sometimes I have to remind myself of that.

— John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 217

Accepting Reality

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

But what happens when life presents you with unavoidable or overwhelming suffering? This is where the example of the Jesuit approach to obedience may be helpful. What enables a Jesuit to accept difficult decisions by his superior is the same thing that can help you: the realization that this is what God is inviting you to experience at this moment. It is the understanding that somehow God is with you, at work and revealed in a new way in this experience.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that God wills suffering or pain. Nor that any of us will ever fully understand the mystery of suffering. Nor that you need to look at every difficulty as God’s will. Some suffering should be avoided, lessened, or combated: treatable illnesses, abusive marriages, unhealthy work situations, dysfunctional sexual relationships.

Nonetheless, Ciszek understood that God invites us to accept the inescapable realities placed in front of us. We can either turn away from that acceptance of life and continue on our own, or we can plunge into the “reality of the situation” and try to find God there in new ways. Obedience in this case means accepting reality.

— James Martin, S. J., The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, p. 282-283.