Friday, March 22, 2013

Acknowledging The Truth Of Ourselves

"Are we friends with ourselves?  Do we love who we are?  These are important questions because we cannot develop good friendships with others unless we have befriended ourselves.
How then do we befriend ourselves?  We have to start by acknowledging the truth of ourselves.  We are beautiful but also limited, rich but also poor, generous but also worried about our security.  Yet beyond all that we are people with souls, sparks of the divine.   To acknowledge the truth of ourselves is to claim the sacredness of our being, without fully understanding it.  Our deepest being escapes our own mental or emotional grasp.  But when we trust that our souls are embraced by a loving God, we can befriend ourselves and reach out to others in  loving relationships."
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen
I like what Nouwen writes about "acknowledging the truth of ourselves. We are beautiful but also limited, rich but also poor, etc."  We are often persons of paradox, and I think we have to accept that, lest we get completely weighed down by our shortcomings or completely convinced that we are God's gift to mankind. I should be ready to accept praise for something that I write or preach, but also ready to feel so utterly broken that I can barely pick up a pen or utter a word. One thing I finally learned several years ago is that the world is not black or white, and neither am I. I can be prophetic or prickish depending on the day. That doesn't mean that I shouldn't strive toward beauty or goodness, but it does mean that when I stumble - and I will - I should not beat myself up over it with a 2X4.

Today I feel like shit. I'll look for ways to feel less shitty, but I'll still accept that I feel like shit.

Mark Andrew Alward