|(Green Lake Conference Center, Wisconsin)|
I'm sitting on my back porch with a hoodie on over my head and my legs wrapped in a blanket. There's food in my various bird feeders, nectar in my hummingbird feeder, a few snacks, a cup of coffee in my favorite mug, my journal, a pen, James Cone's God of the Oppressed, Henri Nouwen's Spiritual Direction, my Bible, and my laptop. I've got a few hours to dwell closely in God's presence, listening, praying, writing, as God leads me.
Nouwen's book is spectacular. I'm reading what he says about self-rejection, and acceptance of our core identity, which is: I am a son of God, and God finds favor with me. Self-rejection concerns "the darkness of not feeling truly welcome in human existence. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that declares we are loved." (31)
Self-rejection manifests itself as either shame or pride. Either arrogance or low self-esteem. Nouwen writes:
"Self-rejection can show itself in either a lack of confidence or a surplus of pride." (31)
"The greatest trap in life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection, doubting who we really are." (31)
It has taken me a long time to experience this great truth in my heart. I've known it in my mind. But what's needed here is not theory, but experience.