Enjoy What’s Good.

I have learned that, if we set our mind to it, we have an incredible, almost awesome ability to find misery in any situation, even the most wonderful of circumstances.

Shoulders bent, head down, we shuffle through life taking our blows.

Be done with it. Take off the gray cloak of despair, negativity, and victimization. Hurl it; let it blow away in the wind….

We can stand in our power. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized. We do not have to let others victimize us. We do not have to seek out misery in either the most miserable or the best situations.

We are free to stand in the glow of self-responsibility.

Set a boundary! Deal with the anger! Tell someone no, or stop that! Walk away from a relationship! Ask for what you need! Make choices and take responsibility for them. Explore options. Give yourself what you need! Stand up straight, head up, and claim your power. Claim responsibility for yourself!

And learn to enjoy what’s good.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 282-283

Changed by Reading

A book on virtually any subject, when written well and falling into the right hands, can produce a transcendent emotional response. And one such experience can lead to another and another, in a delightfully unpredictable way that is different for each person.

It is said that no love is sincerer than the love of food. Perhaps no love is vaster in its particulars than the love of books.

As adults, we can use the power of book love not only to entertain us, but also to inspire us to do new things, and to make significant changes in our lives. We can even use our love of books to help others, and maybe save a bit of the world.

That’s what reading is all about — the pure pleasure of it, how it changes you, how you live your life differently because of what you read.

— Steve Leveen, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, p. 8

More My True Self

God, in his faithfulness is changing me…. Instead of making me into someone else, he is making me more me. And that is one of the beautiful things about him. That the more his we become, the more ourselves we become; more our true selves…. To have a gentle and quiet spirit is to have a heart of faith, a heart that trusts in God, a spirit that has been quieted by his love and filled with his peace. Not a heart that is striving and restless.

— Stasi Eldredge & John Eldredge, Captivating, p. 134

Book Love

Book love is something like romantic love. When we are reading a really great book, burdens feel lighter, cares seem smaller, and commonplaces are suddenly delightful. You become your best optimistic self. Like romantic love, book love fills you with a certain warmth and completeness. The world holds promise. The atmosphere is clearer and brighter; a beckoning wind blows your hair.

But while romantic love can be fleeting, book love can last. Readers in book love become more skilled at choosing books that thrill them, move them, transport them. Success breeds success, as these lucky people learn how to find diamonds over and over. They are always reading a good book. They are curious, interested — and usually interesting — people. That keen observer of reading, Holbrook Jackson, wrote in 1931, “Book-love…never flags or fails, but, like Beauty itself, is a joy for ever.

— Steve Leveen, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, p. 7

True Power

Hatred, anger, mistrust, and fear enter our lives every day in a thousand different ways. We’re all wounded by these evils, but we can all be healed through the power of love and forgiveness — a power readily available to all of us when we have faith….

Faith is a living thing that must be nurtured every day through prayer, kindness, and acts of love. It will lead us through our darkest days and restore love and light to even the most troubled soul in the most dire of circumstances….

Faith has transformed my life, and it can transform yours. In fact, it is powerful enough to transform the entire world.

— Immaculee Ilibagiza, Led by Faith, p. 192

Who Is My Neighbor?

Not my idea of God, but God. Not my idea of H., but H. Yes, and not my idea of my neighbor, but my neighbor. For don’t we often make this mistake as regards people who are still alive — who are with us in the same room? Talking and acting not to the man himself but to the picture — almost the precis — we’ve made of him in our own minds? And he has to depart from it pretty widely before we even notice the fact. In real life — that’s one way it differs from novels — his words and acts are, if we observe closely, hardly ever really quite “in character,” that is, in what we call his character. There’s always a card in his hand we didn’t know about.

My reason for assuming that I do this to other people is the fact that so often I find them doing it to me. We all think we’ve got one another taped.

— C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

The Message of Your Pain

Resentful, angry, and abusive people drastically misinterpret the message of their own pain. . . . The bad feelings your husband blames on you are telling him to improve, appreciate, connect, or protect, for those are the only things that can make him feel better. And your pain is giving you the exact same message. Even if your husband changes dramatically and replaces his resentment, anger, or abusive behavior with compassion, you still have to heed the message of your core hurts to improve, appreciate, connect, or protect. This means that your focus has to be on your own resources, not on your husband and not on outside supports.

— Steven Stosny, You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore, p. 116