Song of the Beloved (The Love Project, Day 19)

RED-TULIP_From Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen, in which he explains the love of God to a secular Jewish journalist.

The greatest gift my friendship can give to you is the gift of your Belovedness. I can give that gift only insofar as I have claimed it for myself. Isn’t that what friendship is all about: giving to each other the gift of our Belovedness?

Yes, there is that voice, the voice that speaks from above and from within and that whispers softly or declares loudly: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.” It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout: “You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless; you are despicable, you are nobody — unless you can demonstrate the opposite.”

These negative voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe them. That’s the great trap. It is the trap of self-rejection. 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….”

He goes on to say that self-rejection most commonly comes in two forms: arrogance or low self-image. If he had been a woman, perhaps he would have recognized a third way: In the compulsion to base our worth on what we are doing, rather than in our identity as beloved daughters of God.

Today’s Love in Action: Do you ever experience self-rejection? When do those feelings most commonly surface? Tape this note to your bathroom mirror or over the kitchen sink: “I am a Beloved Daughter of God.”

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