ground level.

I’ve been reading Henry Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love, and I’ve been truly blessed by it. Words that bring healing are, in my humble opinion, God given. I saw this book through a friend’s Instagram picture, and that same friend said, “it’s like my heart in a book.” Love. Is it plagiarism to copy down his text here? I’m not sure, but I’ll cite the pages just in case. Here’s a few excerpts I’ve been blessed by (bold phrases are what resonate most with me):

Keep Returning to the Road to Freedom
When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. Your healing is not a straight line. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself, “All is lost. I have to start all over again.” This is not true. What you have gained, you have gained.

Sometimes little things build up and make you lose ground for a moment. Fatigue, a seemingly cold remark, someone’s inability to hear you, someone’s innocent forgetfulness, which feels like rejection–when all these things come together, they can make you feel as if you are right back where you started. But try to think about it instead as being pulled off the road for a while. When you return to the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.

It is important not to dwell on the small moments when you feel pulled away from your progress. Try to return home, to the solid place within you, immediately. Otherwise, these moments start connecting with similar moments, and together they become powerful enough to pull you far away from the road. Try to remain alert to seemingly innocuous distractions. It is easier to return to the road when you are on the shoulder than when you are pulled all the way into a nearby swamp.

In everything, keep trusting that God is with you, that God has given you companions on the journey. Keep returning to the road to freedom. (The Inner Voice of Love, Henry Nouwen, pp. 38-39)

Let Jesus Transform You
Do not despair, thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years. Simply enter into the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you. You cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let him transform you by his love and so enable you to receive his affection in your whole being. (The Inner Voice of Love, Henry Nouwen, p. 41)

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