A Mixed Drink

Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions… Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.             ~ Henri Nouwen

I think the key phrase in this Nouwen quote is: When we have come to believe in the voices that call us…  You can complete that sentence in any number of ways. Few question the destructive impact of criticism but we rarely talk about the destructive power of flattery. Often, others will praise in us, strengths we know we don’t hold; attribute to us virtues that our motives belie.

We all have a litany of language used about us: a cocktail of criticism and praise, never measured in equal portions. We lift the glass and drink in the words that are castigating or lavishly lauding, while knowing the speaker knows little of our heart of hearts, because the heart is a mystery even to its keeper. We assimilate what we hear until the off-handed words of others form the reflection we see as we glance in the mirror.

In truth, when all noise has stopped and we stand in silence, listening only to the Sacred voice, we find that we are, to the core Beloved. Nothing more, nothing less. Just Beloved.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

20 thoughts on “A Mixed Drink”

  1. Reblogged this on iamnotshe and commented:
    This is the most authentic and genuine piece I have read since I last read Two Munutes of Grace! I’m going to throw in a pitch for Kristin Neff as well. Check out her research on self-compassion (which also emphasizes the practice of compassion towards others.) we are all in this together, after all: As ourselves. Real selves.

  2. A book that says “you are loved” to me is THE SINGER by Calvin Miller. It may no longer be in print but is totally worth seeking and finding.
    I really like this site, and hope to return often!

    1. Katharine – Wow, you went back a ways to find this post and the book! I think The Singer came out the year I graduated from high school. I read it sometime while I was at Taylor – but that’s been 30 years ago. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll see if I can’t find it again! And thank you so much for stopping by. I’m honored.
      ~ Debbie

      1. I skipped around. “2 minutes” can grow on you. 🙂
        I have never turned loose of my copy of THE SINGER. Reading it led my brother into a deeper walk with the Lord.
        Heh heh–you have some idea of how old I am. 🙂

  3. Jen – The WORDS I stomped out on the beach in Oregon one fall afternoon.
    Now to take care of the words I take in and the ones I let out.
    Thanks, Jen.
    ~ Debbie

  4. WOW! Cocktail of criticism! How many of those cocktails do we all mix a day – too many
    We can rest in the Lords Grace
    Thanks for the great word images
    Prayers for your day

    1. SPTP – Thank you so much for drawing special attention to the fact that it’s not just the what we drink, but the drinks we serve others.
      Welcome home!
      ~ Debbie

  5. Beloved is one of the Nouwen books that changed my life when I started recovery. His book along with Ragamuffin by Manning, are two of my favorites. I recently read The Shack and really liked that, too. The concept that we are especially loved just for who we are by the Creator that knitted us together, is too much for my tiny mind to hang onto. What are some other books on this theme that Grace readers have cherished, I wonder?

    1. Ruth. Not many people know that when she took her high school assessment tests, a preacher was one of the top results. I always thought she missed her ‘calling’!

  6. Oh Debbie, Amen. I did something SO self-rejecting yesterday … i wiped out my website, BIG TIME rejection. … erm, it’s back though … looks like i posted 20+ posts in one day …

    WITH regard to what YOU wrote … I will think about where my heart really is (and what is important), AND that He is in charge; in my heart.

    Managing our storms … that is when you need Him … to calm us. SO beautiful.

    Are you a professional photographer, btw. I hope you still get notifications when i post … the site is https://iamnotshe.wordpress.com … sheisnotme — the same.

    Peace and thanks for sharing.

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