Friday, November 5, 2010


Irritable?  Weary?  Impatient?

Exhausted from meeting everyone else's needs?

Emerging from his own agonizing season of anguish, depression, and despair, theologian Henri Nouwen penned: 
"You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to your interior life.  For years you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires.  Thus you were no longer master in your own house, and you felt increasingly used.  So, too, you quickly became tired, irritated, angry, and resentful.

Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat.  The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle.  The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down.  Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. 

He will never feel peace in his own castle.

It is important for you to control your own drawbridge.

There must be times when you keep you bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close.  Never allow yourself to become public property, where anyone can walk in and out at will.  You might think you are being generous in giving access to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul.

When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others."

So go ahead.  Pro-actively make full use of that drawbridge.  Be in such close contact with God that the Holy Spirit will let you know when your "yes" should be "yes" and your "no" be "no."  In doing so, you guard your heart, your health, your time, your peace of mind, your life balance.

As you spend time with God in solitude and silence, your well becomes refilled with fresh springs of vibrant, living water.  And out of the abundance of that refilling and refueling, you will become equipped to serve joyfully, to give lavishly, to pour out abundantly ... when He calls you to do so. 

The flip side? 

If you continue to allow others to call the shots in your life, your castle will slowly but surely crumble away, one small stone at a time.  And bitterness, not love and grace, will define who you are.  And any fruit you are able to offer others will be stone-cold, devoid of grace-filled, life-giving sustenance.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" {Proverbs 4:23}.

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