"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.


Abiding Monday

I was reading "The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer" this morning. "....things. They were made for man's use, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God has showered upon him. But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul."

How can "things" have such an impact on our lives??

This seems to be an overriding theme God keeps bringing back to me.

Who or what reigns in my heart?

Looking back on the previous years journal sometimes helps me to see with a little more clarity. I pulled these from several different entries over the course of many months.

"The core of the false self is the belief that my value depends on what I have, what I can do and what others think of me. ~Basil Pennington

Thomas Merton describes this as "winding experiences around myself....like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered it's surface."

Because it is hollow at the core, the life of a false self is a life of excessive attachments. Seeking to avoid implosion and non-being the false self grasps for anything that appears to have substance and then clings to these things with the tenacity of a drowning man clutching a life ring.


These can be either a blessing or a curse. Blessings when they are held with open hands or gratitude, a curse when they are grasped in clenched fists of entitlement and viewed as "me" or "mine." (as Tozer said, "those gifts have the potential to ruin the soul")

We feel good when we surround ourselves by what we think are innocent indulgences and think they secure a state of pleasure that would not be ours without them. In reality, however, they sabotage our happiness and are hazardous to both our spiritual health and our psychological health.

Spiritual attachments serve as idols.

They are ways of coping with the feelings of vulnerability, shame, inadequacy that lie at the core of our false way of being.

When I try to fill my emptiness there's not much vacuum for The Spirit to fill.
(David Benner)

Feel the emptiness - don't fill it with things, moving furniture, eating, shopping.

God uses disappointments to draw us to himself - to wean our hearts from every other perceived source of life (I need this to be happy) so that we might come to find our life in Him. (Walking with God - John Eldredge)

1 Peter 4:1-2 (msg) Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. (ouch) Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

Still too much of me
not enough of you Lord
too many spending sprees
on things I really don't need
never on anything really big
more like a faucet with a leak
a little here a little there
and soon there is a lake.

I am getting better and not using things to fill the void. But I still use them at times. I am seeing I use food too.

I am going to stop here today, I have more thoughts, but I will save them for another time.



Martha Lever said...

This is so true, Mary. Thanks so much for your faithfulness in posting all of these wonderful posts that hits me every time! oxox

Bren said...

I can see God is taking you through one of those times of inner uprisings, where we get to examine our self 'stuff' and gain his perspective. It ain't easy :-) It's funny when we are faced with our inner messes we wind up spending a lot of energy trying to clean up our exterior spaces. Our studios should be shinny clean by now don't you thing ;-)

Wanda's Wings said...

Wonderful post.

DJ said...

Thanks for sharing!
Much to think about, and pray about...

Poetic Artist said...

Your post always seem to fit what I need. Thanks.

CountryDreaming said...

So much worth pondering here ... thank you!

Denise said...

Very well said.

Bevie said...

It's so true you do give us much to ponder for you awaken in us all those same feelings. I love how each post takes me further into my search sis!!! I love you so much!!!

Bren said...

"it is the inside that enables the outside isn't it" Oh for sure Mary, but sometimes our obsessions with gaining control of the exterior stuff can be a compass as to what is going on with the interior stuff. Hmm, maybe I can use that as an excuse for how messy my home gets, I'm way too busy dealing with the inner world, yeah probably won't cut it as an excuse :-)
Yes that is a journal I made for myself in my new profile picture. I stitched together some scrap leather, lined the inside with scrapbook paper sewn on here & there that way if I want to use the cover again all I need to do is undo the stitches and tack it onto a new journal. I'd then make a simple cover for the full journal and shelf it!

Lisa said...

Always good to read your blog Mary : )

Say It In Color said...

I love what Bren says....the "INNER UPRISING"....I really like that!! And I love your blog, your writings...they help me affirm thoughts or struggles or happy I'm having!! I went to a family reunion birthday lately (miles away) and it did a number on me and I came home in a pit of "dispair"....old family ugly secrets and continuing denial of some of their ugly fakeand destructive lives (lies?)....I even came home and wanted plastic surgery so I wouldn't look like them!!!....horrible, I know....but a few of them (only three!)take a toll on my spirit that I work so hard to keep free....it has been several weeks and today I can say that God allowed it.....so I would jump in His arms!! He has even allowed those close to me to injure my heart so "again" I jump in His arms....with a crushed spirit ....one thing I have realized is this so very "Independent" child doesn't pray as she should....especially to start the first waking moment to...He never forsakes us!! Thank you DEAR, DEAR one ... Mary....how good to hear your words!! I went ahead and wrote this here in case it might help another! Blessings...Sherry

sarah said...

great thoughts to consider. thanks Mary

Sandra Hall said...

Mary, you have a lovely way of reaching out, you share deep things, making yourself vulnerable, so that those (me!) who read your words feel safe enough to begin to explore ourselves in a more God honouring way. Thankyou.

Butterfly Works said...

Mary, we all have so much to ponder as God takes us on our individual journeys....I appreciate that you are transparent and real with us and inspire us all to look at the real hard questions and face some of the issues God is posing to each of us...It's good to know we are not alone as we struggle....
Hugs and Blessings

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary. I can now again post a comment. Its been a while. Talk about who or what reigns in our hearts. The other day, God showed me Abraham in the promised land. Yet, Hebrews says that he lived in tents, and so did Isaac and Jacob because they were looking for another city. You see, when we allow another to occupy God's place, we begin to settle in the wrong place. God has given us all things to enjoy...and only Him to worship. May our hearts be found reigning in the right place.

Thank you for such a powerful challenge.



Chandrika Shubham said...


These can be either a blessing or a curse. Blessings when they are held with open hands or gratitude, a curse when they are grasped in clenched fists of entitlement and viewed as "me" or "mine."

It is so true. I liked this paragraph the most. :)

Thanks for sharing. :)

Jane Farr said...

Thank you for anchoring me this morning Mary! A thoughtful post! ((hugs))