Already Yours

It can be difficult for those of us living in a culture that prizes earning power above nearly everything else to understand that in the economy of grace, the currency of deserved and undeserved is irrelevant. It is absolutely true that you can’t earn God’s love. But it’s not because you are a helpless wretch whose sin makes it impossible for God to even look at you or because you have done something so grievously wrong that your soul has been permanently stained, as if by spiritual Sharpie. The truth is, you can’t earn God’s love because you already have it. You can’t be any more loved than you are because God’s love has already been freely and abundantly given. You can’t do anything to achieve a greater portion of God’s love because God’s love for you is already unconditional and it is already infinite.

— Rachel Held Evans, Wholehearted Faith, p. 180

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 6, 2015

Persistence

Writing this book will take a lot longer than you want it to take. Hasn’t everything fabulous in your life taken more time than you thought it would?

— Heather Sellers, Chapter After Chapter, p. 186

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 3, 2022

Always On Time

Do not turn away joy — even if it arrives at an inconvenient time, even if you think you should be grieving, even if you think it’s “too soon.” Joy is always on time.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 105

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, 1/17/2022

Enticed Through Love

God always entices you through love.

You were probably taught that God would love you if and when you changed. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love and acceptance itself. This is the engine of change. If the mystics say that one way, they say it a thousand ways. But, because most common religion has not been at the mystical level, you’ve been given an inferior message — that God loves you when you change (moralism). It puts it all back on you, which is the opposite of being saved. Moralism leads you back to navel-gazing and you can never succeed at that level. You are never holy enough, pure enough, refined enough, or loving enough. Whereas, when you fall into God’s mercy, when you fall into God’s great generosity, you find, seemingly from nowhere, this capacity to change. No one is more surprised than you are. You know it is a total gift.

— Richard Rohr, Yes, And. . ., page 18

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 4, 2022

The Not-Perfect Book

Your book’s going to have many flaws — just like you. And me. Good intentions and bad habits, brilliant days and sucky weeks, all swirled together. Isn’t it your flaws that make you interesting and complicated? If you are waiting until everything is perfect to write the perfect book, fine. But at least practice while you wait. Work on a not-perfect book, on a Good Enough book, in the meantime.

— Heather Sellers, Chapter After Chapter, p. 129

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 1, 2021

Post-Traumatic Growth

Post-traumatic stress is a familiar idea. We have come to accept, if not expect, that trauma results in psychological and physical damage. But what about post-traumatic growth, “the positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event”? Researchers have found that humans not only “bounce back” after traumatic events but actually push forward — taking professional risks, strengthening their relationships, and feeling a deeper sense of gratitude.

So often we think of loss as only destructive, but it is also generative — because every ending is also a beginning. When one thing vanishes, a space is created in its place. Of course, when we grieve, we are mourning a loss, but why not also ask what might grow in that barren place? Why not ask: What could I plant there?

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 94

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 1, 2021

Futile Disputation

It is futile to enter into disputation with any worshipper of the letter, seeing that for the purposes of argument the letter is so much more manageable than the spirit, which while it lies in the letter unperceived, has no force. The letter-worshipper is incapable of seeing that no utterance of God could possibly mean what he makes out of it.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 101, quoting from Donal Grant

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 1, 2021

Broken Wide Open

I’ve heard people say they are afraid to love because they might get hurt. I say, get hurt and get it over with! And then keep going. Those songs about mending a broken heart are utter nonsense. A heart is meant to be broken — broken wide open. You do not “mend” a broken heart. You fill in those places with people — and lots of them. Small closed hearts are nothing but trouble. They generate small, closed thoughts. You love in small, insecure ways. Instead, love big. Love wild. And imagine love way beyond romantic fantasies.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 246

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 1, 2021

For Ourselves

Forgiveness isn’t something we do for the person who’s hurt us. It’s something we do for ourselves, so we’re no longer victims or prisoners of the past, so we can stop carrying a burden that harbors nothing but pain.

— Edith Eger, The Gift, p. 177

Photo: Donnersberg, Germany, November 8, 2003.