Archive for January, 2008

Give Us Our Daily Bread.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

When we think about it for a moment, though, we realize that this prayer is completely consistent with Jesus’ pattern of living, for he occupied himself with the trivialities of humankind.  He provided wine for those who were celebrating, food for those who were hungry, rest for those who were weary (John 2:1-12; 6:1-14; Mark 6:31).  He went out of his way to find the “little people”:  the poor, the sick, the powerless.  So it is fully in order that he invites us to pray for daily bread.

In doing so Jesus has transfigured the trivialities of everyday life.  Try to imagine what our prayer experience would be like if he had forbidden us to ask for the little things.  What if the only things we were allowed to talk about were the weighty matters, the important things, the profound issues?  We would be orphaned in the cosmos, cold, and terribly alone.  But the opposite is true:  he welcomes us with our 1,001 trifles, for they are each important to him.

— Richard J. Foster, Prayer, p. 185

Grieving

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

It seems to me that I and most of the people I know have forgotten how to grieve like this — not only for others but for ourselves.  We have forgotten how to grieve at all.  It no longer comes naturally to us.  We have to learn it from self-help books and therapists.  Or we have to do without.

All I have to offer you is a list of don’ts.  Don’t forbid painful topics.  Don’t judge.  Don’t preach.  When people tell you of their pain, don’t say anything at all.  Don’t think, if you can help it, at least at first.  Just hear it and, if you can, cry.  Cry for them and for yourself, because you, too, have suffered such things, or will.  Cry that there is evil in this world, that we are all of us sometimes the victims and often the perpetrators of it.  Cry that people, however messed up, and even if they themselves caused the misery in which they find themselves, have to suffer at all….  Remind yourself of these truths about the pain of our world and the sins that occasion it.  Others’ sins.  Our own sins.  Because it is only this grieving, this taking of a knee, that truly comforts us, that connects us to one another and to God.

— Patty Kirk, Confessions of an Amateur Believer, p. 96

He Likes to be Asked.

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Do you know why the mighty God of the universe chooses to answer prayer?  It is because his children ask.  God delights in our asking.  He is pleased at our asking.  His heart is warmed by our asking….

We like our children to ask us for things that we already know they need because the very asking enhances and deepens the relationship….

Be encouraged that God desires authentic dialogue, and that as we speak what is on our hearts, we are sharing real information that God is deeply interested in….

Here we must see the Abba heart of God.  In one important sense nothing is more important to him that the anxiety we feel over the surgery we must face tomorrow and the exasperation we feel today over our child’s irresponsibility and the desperation we feel over the plight of our aging parents.  These are matters of great magnitude to him because they are matters of great magnitude to us.  It is a false humility to stand back and not share our deepest needs.  His heart is wounded by our reticence.  Just as we long for our own children to share with us the petty details of their day at school, so God longs to hear from us the smallest matters of our lives.  It delights him when we share.

–Richard J. Foster, Prayer, p. 179-181

Being Good

Monday, January 28th, 2008

As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing that body.  Cut it, and up to a point it will heal, as a dead body would not.  A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself.  In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble….

The Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him.  He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, quoted in A Year with C. S. Lewis

A Bright Future

Friday, January 25th, 2008

You can outgrow the wounds of the past with a deep appreciation of yourself, your courage, sensitivity, resilience, and desire for a better life.  You have enormous power and potential to become the person you were meant to be.  Appreciate your strengths and resilience.  Trust your inner voice — it tells you that you do not need to have value poured into you from outside sources.  Your vessel is full and ready to “runneth over.”  As you feel the light of your core value within, you can make it shine out of you, to illuminate all your days.

— Steven Stosny, You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore, p. 316

Connection Is the Key

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Just as nothing can be more important to you as an individual than remaining true to your core value, nothing can be more important to you as a couple than your emotional connection to one another.

You cannot resolve disputes with someone you love while being emotionally disconnected from that person.  The disconnection hurts too much and feels too much like betrayal.  To have any chance of finding your way out of a power struggle, you must try hard to make connection before you even attempt to solve the problem.  Your relationship has to be more important than the content of your disagreement, as does the emotional well-being of the most important adult in your life.

— Steven Stosny, You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore, p. 298

Forgiving for Your Own Sake

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

One of the great misconceptions about forgiveness is that it is the same as reconciliation.  Reconciliation is deciding whether or not to talk to your lover again after an infidelity.  Forgiveness is deciding whether or not to let go of the anger and despair you feel because you did not get the loyal partnership you wanted.  Reconciliation means reestablishing a relationship with the person who hurt you.  Forgiveness means making peace with a bitter part of your past and no longer blaming your experiences on the offender.  You can forgive even if you don’t want to have any further relationship with the person who hurt you….

Forgiving someone does not require that you condone that person’s unkind, inconsiderate, or selfish behavior.  To forgive is to let go of the extra suffering you have imposed on yourself after the normal cycle of grief has run its course….

Forgiveness acknowledges that we were disappointed but allows us not to stay stuck in the past….

Forgiveness is about today and not yesterday.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 21-26

Necessary for Healing

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Forgiveness can wrap up the grief, but it does not prevent the inevitable and necessary suffering.  When there is a serious injury or loss, there is no way to avoid pain.  If you want to have a satisfactory future, you will need to feel the loss and then let go of the hurt it has caused you.  You need to forgive.

Even if you decide to divorce after a betrayal, you will still need to forgive….  When you forgive, you are able to be at peace even though rejection, disloyalty, and dishonesty have been a part of your life.

Your best chance for successful future relationships and overall happiness is to forgive your former partner.  Forgiveness is not a substitute for grief, nor does it preclude the pain caused by your partner’s cheating.  But it does gently allow your grief to ebb so that you can move on and live a successful life.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 21

An Essential Skill in a Successful Marriage

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Being able to remain calm when your wishes are unfulfilled is an essential skill in a successful marriage.  If you are honest with yourself, you will agree that not getting exactly what you want from your partner is a major challenge in even a good relationship.  One reason this happens is that we experience such minor disappointments on a regular basis.  Our partners do things against our wishes every day, and even if they do what we want sometimes, it is not exactly the way we wanted.  Learning how to cope with this successfully is essential….

Forgiving your partner does not mean you have to accept everything your lover does.  It simply means you can contentedly live with your lover without getting upset every time he or she chooses to ignore your wishes.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 16-17

New Opportunities

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

So now you have the opportunity to keep your life gaslight-free and go on to a new future.  You have the chance to rework or leave unsatisfying relationships and choose new relationships that feed your sense of self, your vitality, and your joy.  You have the chance to become a stronger, more solid person who charts her own course and lives by her own values.  Most important, you have the chance to discover what you truly want — in your work, your home life, your relationships, and yourself.  Freed from the Gaslight Effect, you can make better choices, choices that are right for you.  As you begin this exciting new portion of your life’s journey, I wish you strength and spirit and all the luck in the world.

— Dr. Robin Stern, The Gaslight Effect, p. 233