Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You Are Beloved

This is the excerpt I used as the opening prayer for my devotional:

Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: “I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse…yes, even your child…wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen
Life of the Beloved
Excerpt from page 36-37
Henri J.M. Nouwen's book "Life of the Beloved" is the topic of my Sunday School class for the next 5 weeks. In doing the initial reading I felt like I was on this emotional roller coaster, here was this man speaking about how he felt about himself and the negative barrage we receive from the the world everyday and how to cope. He talks about how when we begin to believe the negative voices from within and without that this is the "great trap" the "great trap of self-rejection". Self-rejection, he says, contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved".
I at times have an aweful inner dialog with myself, and it's usually when I'm venturing into something new, or I won't even continue the pursuit, because I'll dismiss myself before I even start. Other times, I find myself comparing myself to someone else and invariably I come up short in my own mind.
I've begun remedying some of this awful inner dialog by "forcing" myself to "do it anyways" so what if it's not a masterpiece, or not this or that, what's important was the intention - did I learn something, did I enjoy the experience, did I walk away with something I could share with others. The more afraid something makes me feel, the more I've begun to choose to confront that fear, so that it stops having so much power over my life. And I've found that most times things turn out pretty darn well, and that I should stop underestimating myself, you know - I feel good when I conquer the fear.
My other remedy is to remember things my Grandma would tell me, or even justing thinkng about her and how much she loved me is enough to put things back into perspective. I am immensily grateful for her, and the gifts she gave me as a child that still sustain me to this day - she always made me feel Beloved.
Another remedy for me has been meditation, scripture reading, and daily prayer. Quieting myself down, shutting down the constant inner dialogues, sitting in silence, becoming intamitely familiar with the silence that speaks volumes now that my ears are open to hear.
Last but not least is that I've begun recognizing the gifts and beauty of my life. To move more outside of my inner self and to let more of my inner self out (I share me much better than I ever have before).
We each of us is Beloved, you are Beloved, I am Beloved, but it is only the first step, the next step requires becoming who we are called to be.


Susan Palwick said...

I'm a recovering perfectionist, too; one of my most persistent personal demons is my sense of inadequacy, of not being "enough" (good enough, smart enough, kind enough, productive enough, yada yada).

Good for you for recognizing this problem and developing ways to deal with it!

jsd said...

Thank You Susan. I was talking to my partner last night that the negative internal dialog will probably be with me for a long time, and that that was ok as long as I could also keep saying "be quiet, shhh, I am ok just the way I am".