God surprised me today with a list of things that need to change. I’m posting it here to keep track of it, and to be able to come back to it (both to review it and to modify it if necessary). I won’t be putting a link on FB or twitter, or adding categories or tags to this entry, or any ones to follow, in keeping with resolution #1).
In my life I need…
1. much less image management, and much more secrecy. [a]
2. less time spent in learning, and more time spent in doing. [b]
3. less learning from others (saints and scholars), and more learning from God.
4. less striving, and more relaxing “in the deep center.” (Scazzero) [d]
5. less releasing the heat within, and more cultivating and protecting it. [e]
6. less intensity, and more levity (celebration, wonder).
7. much less speaking, and much more listening (especially to God). [g]
8. less desire for honor (greatness), and more desire for holiness (goodness).
9. less concern for myself, and more concern for others.
10. less judging of others (less arrogance), and more forgiving of others (more love). [j]
11. less defending myself, and more humility (attempts to set opinions straight). [See #1 above!]
… and with that we’ve come full circle.
This represents the prayer of my heart, of my best self, of the image of God in me trying to rise up.
“Lord, help me to keep these things ever before me,
and to present them unceasingly to you
as areas of my life
where I need your healing.”
I added these supplementary notes several days after writing the list. I don’t want them to distract from the simplicity of the list itself, or give an inappropriate weight to “saints and scholars.” I find them helpful though, and this list is for me, so I have included them here.
[a] “Human conversation is largely an endless attempt to convince others that we are more assertive or clever or gentle or successful than they might think if we did not carefully educate them. … The practice of secrecy is Jesus’ gift to approval addicts.” John Ortberg
[b] “The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.” Richard Rohr
[d] “In our religious striving, we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.” Eugene Peterson
[e] The Desert Fathers had a saying, “If you want to keep the fire hot, you must not open the door of the furnace too often.”; “Silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive.” Henri Nouwen
[g] “Intentional silence serves as a necessary and valuable counterweight to a society filled with thoughtless and excessive words.” Peter Scazzero; “The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Henri Nouwen
[j] “If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate those things in yourself, not in another.” Thomas Merton; “Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.” ~ Marianne Williamson