Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself

Book Review: Be Kind to Yourself by Cindy Bunch

The other day was yet another exercise in mental self-flagellation for me. My mind raced with questions about why I had made certain choices in certain times, why I had not become “awake” in issues around me sooner, etc. It is a regular occurrence in my life.

This particular time I was so frustrated with myself I pulled out a legal pad and simply began writing. It was a brief review of my life as I looked back on what had influenced me. Within minutes I had 9 written pages.

Beating myself up is a too often regular exercise in my life. In this particular moment came the book, Be Kind to Yourself, by Cindy Bunch. In a few short pages I felt amazing relief.

First, I wasn’t alone.

Second, I needed to hear words of kindness that poured over my soul and I learned quickly the best words of kindness will come from the Spirit… and me.

Cindy is a spiritual director and also works for Intervarsity Press. As she was reading another book on spiritual formation, there were some healing words that came to her from that writing and challenged her to reflect more. This book is the result of that reflection.

This book is an exercise based on two questions:

  1. What’s bugging you?
  2. What’s bringing you joy?

Ask these two questions each day for 30 days. She found that asking those two questions helped her look deeply into the negative thought patterns she had about herself or others.

When we ask the first question, we can then hear how we talk about ourselves. I am harsh. But the question causes me to then ask WHY I am harsh. I walk back through the scenario that set me off and ask what I was feeling.

It is a process of learning how to deal with moments in new ways.

Cindy leads the reader in very practical exercises and opens up her own life to the very real struggles. Her goal is to move us to shame-free self-examination.

The book is a refreshing exercise. It is practical. It is real. She gets personal.

This is an exercise to walk through with intentionality… and grace. Walk slowly. Find joy in this journey.

Feast of St. Clare

Collect for St Clare

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fundamentalism and its driving force

When the word “fundamentalism” is used, it’s generally about the “right”. I reject that premise. Fundamentalism exists at the extremes. That is “left” or “right”.

And what I have noticed in this incendiary time in which we live is this: FEAR is a driving force on both sides. There is a deep motivation to FEAR the “other side” and what “they will do” if “they” get in power.

Reject fear. Reject fundamentalism.

Feast of Transfiguration

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. (Mark 9:7-8)

Unicorns and Puppy Dogs

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:16-18)

Continue reading “Unicorns and Puppy Dogs”

Thomas Merton and the way of salvation

I am glad I picked up a fresh copy of Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain for my reading this time around. I am able to concentrate more on the full text and not let my eyes skim because I’ve marked up the other book so much I only read my markings.

Every time I come to the conversion of Merton I am moved to tears. This time through I was also drawn into how salvation truly works in the life of a believer… and how utterly wrong we have made it in American evangelicalism.

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Recording the journey

An exercise I began a little over a year ago has been an experiment I didn’t know I could stay with in a digital world. I keep a digital calendar so I can make edits, look far ahead for planning, and coordinate with family on schedules. A few years ago I tried to keep a small paper calendar on the side just to record my daily actions. More of a diary of record, though not completely a diary. It would serve more as a “what I did in this time period” record than a “look ahead” tool.

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