If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I cannot touch the sacredness of others. If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others" (56).
Manning's "solution" to our imposter self, with all its wanderings and desperate grasping to gain power, pretige and possessions, is simple: silence, solitude, and stillness. It is in these places that we can hear the whispers of our belovedness - reminders that we are, above all our failures and triumphs, deeply loved.
"The indispensable condition for developing and maintaining the awareness of our belovedness is time alone with God. In solitude we tune out the nay-saying whispers of our worthlessness and sink down into the mystery of our true self. Our longing to know who we really are - which is the source of all our discontent - will never be satisfied until we confront and accept our solitude." (51).
It takes a bit to get down below the noisiness and the constant chatter of to-dos lists and the well-rehearsed scripts of our dysfunction. When you pull away for some still space - even for a few moments - the imposter self wants to insinuate that you are wasting your time, you are selfish, you are avoiding your real responsibilities. Manning quotes theologian Edward Schillebeeckx:
"Silence with God has a value in itself and for its own sake, just because God is God. Failure to recognize the value of mere being with God, as the beloved, without doing anything, is to gouge the heart out of Christianity." (56 - emphasis mine)
In a world where many are fast becoming even more estranged from one another, we can bring the gift of friendship and healing and connection only after we've heard the whisper of that which is true of us: "You are the beloved." If you want to make a sacred and lasting difference in this world - which is needed now more than ever - you cannot do it without receiving what is already true: You are the beloved. And the best way to encounter your belovedness is by intentionally creating more unhurried and quiet spaces where you can simply receive.
Your imposter will fight, kick and scream - demanding you to have more, do more, achieve more. All of that is chaff. Today - will you dare slow down and invite some moments of quiet and stillness so that you can lean toward the whispers that speak your name and declare, "You are my beloved with whom I am well pleased"?
- What most strikes you from your reading? Take a moment and listen in to God's invitations... how might God be inviting you to draw near(er)?
- As the season of Lent approaches - how might you "say no" to one of your noisier activities in order to say yes to creating more space to be still.
Three Great Resources for Experiencing Stillness
The season of Lent is less than a week away and reFresh has three great resources to help you lean into your Belovedness by creating some unhurried stillness and quiet.
- Paula has written a devotional, "unhurryUp into Easter: A Lenten Pilgrimage which is in the kindle bookstore.
- There is a day reFresh retreat during Holy Week (April 11th)
- and BRAND NEW: Paula has created a half day retreat guide (with an original song, and with both guided vocal and written reflections, entitled, "Coming Home." This rich resource walks you through everything you need to do to plan and participate in a half day retreat with the Lord. Whether you're a seasoned pro or skeptic - this guide will help you to focus on the story of the Prodigal returning Home to Father's Loving Embrace. To see more about all three go to our RESOURCES FOR LENT page.