My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Listening to the Voices of Love

For a very long time I have been drawn to the idea of becoming more positive in my thinking and living in the present moment. Our lives can overflow with activities and it is so easy to get preoccupied with the past or to feel anxiety about the future. We are all a work in progress but what a glorious work it is. It really is a work of love, a love for God, for the gift of life and a love for self and others. This is why we seek to improve ourselves in these ways.

For many years I have sought to be a person of peace. It is not an easy task. Peace begins with me. This involves finding peace in my own soul concerning my relationship with God, myself and others. It is complicated. Peace doesn’t always look like we think it will. Sometimes for there to be peace we have to have boundaries that restrict an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes peace is painful. We must begin the process of forgiveness where we have been deeply wounded. Sometimes peace comes from saying no to abuse. Sometimes peace comes from giving in and yielding in a situation. Peace takes courage. How can we work for peace within our world if we do not find it within our own selves? Peace is a work in progress too. We must be patient. Some things take time.

Lately, I’ve come to understand a new quest that is necessary for this peace I seek. It is the practice of listening to the voices of love. I so often am harassed by a very ugly critic inside my head. Much of it comes from voices from my past that I have internalized; some from the dark side of myself. I am very tired of this. So, I am seeking to listen to the voices that come from God, the best part of me and the voices of those that love me, and to distance myself from the harsh, unkind, and sometimes cruel voices.

One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen. I recently discovered a few of his quotes that address what I am talking about so beautifully. I want to share them with you. Here they are:

"Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.

~ Henri Nouwen

…"the real "work" of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.

To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort. "
~ Henri Nouwen

May we all seek to be peace makers. May we be directed and healed and nurtured by the voices of LOVE in our lives. I think Henri is truly on to something here. With Love, Jeanne


Micki Johnson said...

How true are your thoughts and Henri Nouwen's as well. So often I have rejected myself but just as often waited for affirmation from others around me. Now that I am widowed, the struggle is to "pull for myself" when the voices of rejection & criticism harangue me, because there is no one else to reassure me that I am loved no matter how flawed I may be. The witness to my most intimate self is no longer here for me. Now,all by myself, I must believe in my core being, whatever I will choose to believe about who I am; and I will have to defend that--have confidence in that--to not be shaken by the harsh self-judgements that sing their raucous choruses in the back of my thoughts. The Cornerstone was laid by salvation thru my Savior, but now the foundation must be built firmly upon the bedrock of God's love for me. Do I believe in that? I believe in Jesus, but do I really believe I am loved? What does it mean to believe that? What does that look like when I walk, sound like when I talk, feel like, when I respond to life? It has been left up to me to believe or not believe how God feels about me. The choice I make can set me free or chain me down. God has already made His choice about me.

jeanne leigh said...

Micki, I love you girl! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and then to share your thoughts with us. I am blessed to hear your truthful words. I don't pretend to understand the greatness of your loss of your wonderful husband, but my prayers are with and for you! I do identify of course with this struggle of believing in God's love, really owning it, and living out of it!!! This gets left out so much in the Christian message.

Whoever we are, whatever our belief system is, our higher power, our compass..we must receive this message or we lose so much of our lives to untruths. It is a work we must set to do each day. We must consciously focus, tune in to the voices that lift us, affirm us, help us to be our best, to be better:) Even when love will not be a shaming, demeaning voice. Love will help us to grow, pointing out what needs to go or change without a hateful, destructive tone.

Each of those negative, hateful voices must be recognized and discarded as soon as we realize it. It is hard to change when we have become so accustomed to them. It is a call we must answer to be healed and become all we can become.

Yes, I love what you said, "The choice I make can set me free or chain me down. God has already made his choice about me." I pray for strength for you, myself and all to make that choice to LISTEN to the voices that love us and stand on this truth each day. Love you, Jeanne HUGS!!! You are in my prayers!!!