Friday, August 26, 2016

The Wisdom of Tenderness #2

Still slowly going through the book.  Devouring precious nuggets of wisdom. I love a good book!
This entry won't be near as long as the last.  Partly because I don't want to share everything with you...I want you to get the book and read it!  Same as before, I'm going to highlight sentences from the book and put my thoughts in parenthesis.

-Living in tenderness leads us out of the house of fear. The wisdom to see the tenderness of God at work in tribulation and consolation delivers the ragamuffin (that is me and you) from the house of fear, sets her free from the worries, tensions, and pressure of our torn and tearing world, and makes the words of Jesus her cry of liberation: "There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32.  (I don't know about you but sometimes fear can be paralyzing. In my humanness, my thoughts can easily turn negative, dark and doubtful and fear can flood in. I appreciate his insight, for pages, on fear and resting in the Lord.

- (all my writing here) Along with the fear he writes about being present.  Which we hear a lot of these days from meditation guides.  "Be present, be all here"...blah blah blah. Manning's drive is to get you to be aware of your life and enjoy the moment as a means to an end.  To love our whole story. Which I love...think about you embrace all those dark, trying periods of your life?  Do you see the beauty HE has made from ashes when you look in the mirror?

-If Paul hadn't gone through the humble but enlightening experience of divine tenderness, he might well have become pathological.  (Can you imagine scripture without Paul!  Can you accept that Jesus loves you just as much as he loved Paul?  He is on to you, He is out for your soul, just like he was Paul).

-Self-hatred for real or imagined failures begets crippling guilt and is spawned by the father of lies. (Back up to point one, here we have it again....paralyzing, crippling fear....only comes from one place my friend and its NOT our heavenly Father.)

-Manning talks a lot about the benefits of living in tenderness.  Pick up the book and soak it all in.  Here are a few...
     -lets us live in trust, transparency and compassion.
     -bringing awareness of the loving gaze of Jesus.
     -makes us present without an agenda, stress and distress.
     -unspoken assurance that Jesus will provide the grace for the next step.

-A quote from the book "The one thing we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything."  (So easy to say, So hard to live out.)

-God's grace always precedes his call.  (In a pastor's office I once read the words..."God does not call the equipped, he equips those he calls."  This could be a whole blog entry by itself!  With God as your guide anything is possible.  I have to remind myself that daily as I tackle homeschooling and motherhood....when I'm feeling so not capable!

-Tenderness involves a continuing and deepening dependence on God.  (So does falling in love with Jesus and trusting Him with your life!)

-Tenderness if the impeccable sense of feeling safe: it comes from knowing that I'm totally liked and thoroughly loved.  

-The sense of safety that the acceptance of tenderness engenders is accompanied by a growing loss of control.  (and there we have it, the dreaded word every type A person across the globe hates...control.) As we become more comfortable w/ God's tenderness, we feel the reins on our life loosening and the stranglehold on our autonomous self slipping.  We no longer roar, clamoring for demands of perfection to be satisfied. There's less need to broadcast our established verities or to impose them on others as absolutes.  These are signs that self-acceptance is slowly maturing in the wisdom of accepted tenderness.  (I don't know about you, but I want that.  I want to relax, let go and allow God to move and mold me into His image.)

To live in the wisdom of accepted tenderness is to accept myself and everything that happens to me as a gift that's good; its to understand that my very existence is an expression of praise and thanks to God.  (I so want to get there!  I want to get to that place where is ALL about Him. Every breath, every thought, every action.)

-An additional effect of understanding God as the heart of tenderness is reconciliation.  Seen from a biblical perspective, reconciliation isn't primarily making up with another person; its making peace within ourselves in that dimension of our lives where we've preciously been unable to find peace.  Reconciliation is the inner healing of our hearts by the tenderness of Jesus.  Its a gentle growing into a oneness not of our own making. 

-He gives a story about a woman who had a horrific childhood and how she came to him one day and shared her struggle of survival for the majority of her life...having lived daily w/ the pain of abuse. And her encourages her to meditate (its OK, she is meditating on Jesus!) "Abba, I belong to you."  And she comes back and shares how it changed her.  I'm not going to tell you, you have to read the book! In Luke 18 we are encouraged to pray and not lose heart!

-It's in the crucible of pain and suffering that we become tender.  (how true!  We have no idea, until we have walked it. A friend just recently shared w/ me that she is able to "accept" and heal her miscarriage knowing that one day God may use her to help another Momma through the same sad situation. mature!  Accepting the hardship as a pathway to peace!)

Post one and two were my highlights from chapter one of "The Wisdom of Tenderness" by Brennan Manning, with some of my thoughts.  I want to encourage you to read the book.  Its loaded with great knowledge. Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Wisdom of Tenderness by Brennan Manning

I'm reading "The Wisdom of Tenderness" by Brennan Manning...and to say its a good book, would be an understatement. I'll share some of the things that found worth repeating. My thoughts are in the parantheseis, most emphasis is mine.
-If we accept the revelation of Jesus that God is Father, that there's "one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all" (Eph 4:6) then we're making a statement, not just about God but about ourselves. Its to say we are his children, to acknowledge that other people are brothers and sisters in the human family. THIS understanding affects our lifestyle b/c it implies acceptance of others and responsibility for others; we do our best to give family members whatever they need. This familial relationship is to be taken literally, for its a thing of flesh and blood in the bond of the Holy Spirit. (I have lots of thoughts about this, but my question today is, Are we as Christians really living like this?)
-When we're steeped in selfishness, indifferent to the poor, tormented by lust, wallowing in self-pity and flattened by depression...God's love continues to carry us. God can't NOT love us. (I read this week of a momma who committed suicide to postpartum depression, I know more people than I count who are depressed, addicted, tired. He loves you, he loves me. Our Hope should lay in him and him alone. If he is for us, (and friend he IS) who can be against us? Romans 8:31. I love the lyrics to "Fierce" by Jesus Culture...."YOU CHASE ME DOWN, YOU SEEK ME OUT, HOW CAN I BE LOST, WHEN YOU HAVE CALLED ME FOUND." Something to think about)
-Do you accept yourself as one utterly loved by God? And truly liked? Do you wholeheartedly trust that God likes you? If you can answer yes to these questions, there comes a relaxedness and serenity, a compassionate attitude toward yourself in your brokenness, that elucidates the meaning of tenderness.
-On page 22 the question is posed "But what of God's justice?" (You will need to read it for yourself, its a lot to grasp, but these two things stood out) "I hope as much from the justice of God as from his mercy. It is b/c he is just that he is compassionate and full of tenderness....for he knows our weakness." -Therese of Lisieux. (that struck me as deep and profound. I don't know about you but for me I sometimes tend to lean towards the just side of God, forgetting the compassionate side. The God that is seeking me)
-What joy to think that God is just, that he takes account of our weaknesses, that he knows perfectly the fragility of our nature. (same thoughts from the section above, but yes add joy to the equation)
(you will have to read the book to grasp the concept)
-Every change in the quality of a Christian's life must grow out of a change in his / her vision of reality. (definitely not by someone else's rules, boundaries, and lack of tenderness which I see and hear so much of today, even in the Christian circles)
-The gentle spirit dwelling within us is the deepest expression of tenderness-indeed, the Spirit-filled Christian is one whose heart is OVERFLOWING with tenderness-and it represents the full healing of our pain through his coming to us. (still pondering this. I lack this experience from Christians. And its made me take a closer look at my own walk.)
-Biblically, tenderness is what follows when someone reveals to you your own inner beauty, when you discover your belovedness, when you experience that you are deeply and sincerely LIKED by someone. If you communicate to me that you really like me, not just love me as a brother in Christ, that you take delight me, then you open up to me the possibility of liking myself (and I will add from Brene Brown...the ability to be my true self and be vulnerable...from her book Daring Greatly) Brennan continues...The look of amiable regard in your eyes banishes my fears, and my defense mechanisms disappear into the nothingness. Your warmth withers my self-disdain and allows the possibility of self-esteem. The mask drops...becoming more open, sincere, VULNERABLE and affectionate w/ you than I would ever dream of being if I thought you didn't like me. (Its so cool that I am reading both of these books and they are touching on this very issue that I am so enthralled by. To me THIS is what I want to be and what I look for in relationships. It should be evident in Christian circles...its so beautiful!)
This is ONLY Chapter one. I'm excited to see what else he has to reveal! I really enjoy reading Brennan Manning. I think he GETS what many Christians don't, and he has a way of revealing it to the reader. And if you haven't watched "The Raggamuffin"....the life of Rich Mullins. Go watch it! And read "The Raggamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.