recently, i’ve been reading The Way of the Heart by henri j.m. nouwen.
let me tell you, it will resound with you in a profound way.
anyone, ESPECIALLY folks in ministry, should absolutely read this book. i hope i’m allowed to say that before i’ve finished, because honestly, i’m only halfway through. that should show you how fantastic it is already.
the subtitle of the book is “connecting with God through prayer, wisdom, and silence.” now, none of those things come very easily to me, so i was a bit apprehensive at first. so much so, actually, that it took me a whole year after receiving the book from my mom (hi mom!) to crack it open.
let me quote a section that really struck me with its honesty. i mean, was he writing to ME?
“Anger in particular seems close to a professional vice in the contemporary ministry. Pastors are angry at their leaders for not leading and at their followers for not following. They are angry at those who do not come to church for not coming and angry at those who do come for coming without enthusiasm. They are angry at their families, who make them feel guilty, and angry at themselves for not being who they want to be. This is not an open, blatant, roaring anger, but an anger hidden behind the smooth word, the smiling face, and the polite handshake. It is a frozen anger, an anger which settles into a biting resentment and slowly paralyzes a generous heart.”
Until i read this, i had no idea i was angry. frustrated, sure, but i thought everybody hits brick walls sometimes. and we do. but i realized this is not how it has to be. nouwen goes on to describe the desert fathers and their seclusion– and how it enabled them to minister to others. they didn’t run away from people… the fathers were learning a better way to love them.
armed with this knowledge, i’m noticing my days where i steal 30 minutes or an hour of silence, reading, praying… i am much better equipped to love my brothers and sisters. i become a better teacher, pastor, wife. this may strike everyone as intuitive, but sometimes you need to hear old things in a new way to spark a change.