“Who told you that you were naked?” was God’s reply.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, and creativity. It is the source of hope, accountability, empathy and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
I am always moving toward you.
On my bad days, I say to myself: “then you.”
Sure, this now. But then you.
– from “Laugh Lines” in The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer
He could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, He allows soil and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills of men to cooperate in the execution of His will. C.S. Lewis, “The Efficacy of Prayer”
“Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty no that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion. C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
Whenever you love somebody, there’s usually a list. “I love you because of ___.” Your voice. Your hair. Your confidence. The way you crinkle your nose when you laugh. How you change your mind a hundred times at the drive-thru. How you bend down to a child to speak to them at eye level. How you look in a mean dress. But at the bottom of this long list, God always adds one more. He says, “I love you just-because.” No specific reason, not based on externals, and not even based on anything we say or do. It just is. Because we all get old and gray. We all change over a lifetime. The reasons that others love us never stay the same, because we are a people in progress shaped by the edges of time. God loves us when our souls turn ugly, when we are cowardly and crass, when we fail and stumble, when we lose patience at the drive-thru and set a poor example for children. He loves us when the dress stops fitting. He loves us when those who’ve seen our underbelly silently walk away. Our God is the God who stays when everyone else leaves. And when our voice fades, when our hair is gone, when we can hardly laugh without pain: God loves us just because. He can’t help it. This is who He is, regardless of who we are, because His love does not reside in a list. His love is free. It is reckless. It is forever. J.S. Park
Prayer requires that we stand in God’s presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. This is difficult in a climate where the predominant counsel is “Do your best and God will do the rest.” When life is divided into “our best” and “God’s rest,” we have turned prayer into a last resort to be used only when all our resources are depleted. Then even the Lord has become the victim of our impatience. Discipleship does not mean to use God when we can no longer function ourselves. On the contrary, it means to recognize that we can do nothing at all, but that God can do everything through us. As disciples, we find not some but all of our strength, hope, courage, and confidence in God. Therefore, prayer must be our first concern. Henri Nouwen

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