Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.

"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9

“...it’s more important for us to get everything we need.  Like infants, we feel contentment when our essential needs are met.  Be courageous.  Ask yourself:  what is it I truly need to make me happy?”  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance, 1/9

What is it I truly need to make me happy?  Ultimately, it is to be loved.  But I must be careful not to state it so simplistically.  If that’s ALL I need then I can easily learn ways to manipulate people to give me that love.  But even worse, I may find myself compromising my values in order to get that love.  I’ve had a hunger to be loved unconditionally.  As a child I felt I had to be good in order to be noticed.  And then to be loved once noticed meant I had to do and be what that person wanted.  Fortunately, for me, I would not compromise my values.  But I did compromise my  “self”--my identity, my worth.  The result was that I never felt I was being loved at all--merely tolerated and cared for out of obligation. From the viewpoint of one who is giving the love, however,  he/she wouldn’t really be loving me if they allowed me to act unloving in return.  This starts to complicate things.  To love someone unconditionally does not mean you do not hold them accountable. Even in the best of families a child might feel as though they are not being loved unconditionally when it seems their parents’ approval is dependent on their obedience.  How, then, do we convey this unconditional love and still hold a person accountable for their inappropriate behavior?  Obviously, love must not be confused with approval and vice versa. Love always costs us something.  I think too often our motive is selfish gain.    If there’s even a hint of “what’s in it for me” in a relationship, the other person is going to pick up on this and not only NOT feel loved unconditionally but will resist being held accountable for THEIR inappropriate actions.  This is why we can only love others with the love that has first come from God.  If I am not experiencing God’s love first hand in my own heart, I cannot give God’s kind of love--unconditional.  Nor, I suspect, can I receive it, because I will suspect any love given to me because I will judge it by what’s in my own heart.

“...whereas the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”  1 Timothy 1:5

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