Power of the Heart

Many of us have experimented with different kinds of power. At times we may have used force, brute strength. Certainly most of us have experimented with power plays — only to find that they aren’t the answer either. Along the way, some of us may have gotten hard, cold, rigid, even angry — thinking that was a way to own our power.

Often, these attempts don’t signal power. They signal fear. True, for many of us, learning to experience, express, and release our anger has been an important milestone on our path to power. But the power we’re seeking is different from force, coldness, hardness, or power plays. We aren’t learning to flex our muscles that way.

Open to a new kind of power — the power of the heart. Clarity. Compassion. Gentleness. Love. Understanding. Comfort. Forgiveness. Faith. Security with acceptance of ourselves, and all our emotions. Trust. Commitment to loving ourselves, and to an open heart. That’s the power we’re seeking. That’s true power, power that lasts, power that creates the life and love we want. In those situations that call for power, we can trust that brute strength, coldness, or rage won’t get us what we want.

— Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart, p. 335-336

A Sense of Direction

So often faith comes down to having a sense of direction. Faith requires believing that we are headed in the right direction for our lives. When we feel lost and abandoned, when we feel that God is not beside us, we are always mistaken. God is with us every moment, in every circumstance, in all places. We may lose touch with God, but God never loses touch with us. God is the Great Creator. We are the beloved creative children, never out of sight and out of mind, watched over and cared for at every instant. All that is required is for us to one more time avail ourselves of God. “Lord, I believe; help my disbelief,” we must again pray. We must claim that God is with us always. We must seek to touch God and to allow God to touch us right where we are.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 66

God’s Orchestration

“Thy will be done, God,” we pray, “but in the meanwhile, let me try this.” It is difficult to allow the timing of God, the moving of other gears into play. We forget that God is orchestrating a much larger whole, and we tend to think of and want God’s will for us to be an instantaneous release from all that troubles us. We want our spiritual life to be a product, not a process. We want to be finished, solved, soothed — and sometimes it is our discomfort that is drawing us toward God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 60-61

Books as Basic Self-Care

I am here to posit that it’s exactly in these moments of struggle and stress that we need books the most. There’s something in the pause to read that’s soothing in and of itself. A moment with a book is basic self-care, the kind of skill you pass along to your children as you would a security blanket or a churchgoing habit. It’s a pair of glasses you let sit on your nose for a few stolen hours, coloring your familiar living room and the blustery world outside with the lens of another woman’s experience. It’s a familiar book, rediscovered and dusted off, cracked open at random until you’re sucked in again. It reads differently at different junctures in your life, but that’s part of the fun. Time travel, redemption, escape, and self-knowledge are all neatly bound and sewn into the modest covers of the books we pass from hand to hand, library to purse, mother to daughter, where heroines’ lessons live long after they’ve gone out of print or disintegrated from love and wear.

— Erin Blakemore, The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder, p. xv


The act of giving best reminds me of my place on earth. All of us live here by the goodness and grace of God — like the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, Jesus said. Those creations do not worry about future security and safety; neither should we. Giving offers me a way to express my faith and confidence that God will care for me just as God cares for the sparrow and lily.

— Philip Yancey, Grace Notes, p. 359

Outward Forms

We dare not forget G. K. Chesterton’s aphorism: while a coziness between church and state may be good for the state, it is bad for the church. Herein lies the chief danger to grace: the state, which runs by the rules of ungrace, gradually drowns out the church’s sublime message of grace….

A state government can shut down stores and theaters on Sunday, but it cannot compel worship. It can arrest and punish KKK murderers but cannot cure their hatred, much less teach them love. It can pass laws making divorce more difficult but it cannot force husbands to love their wives and wives their husbands. It can give subsidies to the poor but cannot force the rich to show them compassion and justice. It can ban adultery but not lust, theft but not covetousness, cheating but not pride. It can encourage virtue but not holiness.

— Philip Yancey, Glimpses of Grace, p. 357