“Knowing we are deeply loved by our Creator frees us to pursue a life of significant, enduring achievement — a life not driven by fear and anxiety but one that springs from a deep well of joy and gratitude for the love and grace God has shown us.”- Ken Shigematsu
In his Introduction (“Struggling with My Status”) to Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve, Pastor Ken Shigematsu talks about self-esteem. Twenty years ago self-help books sought to inspire us to do more with our lives. However, that message has shifted. Today, self-help books must often address how to cope with low self-esteem and shame.
Because, as Swiss-born philosopher Alain de Botton points out, “There’s a real correlation between a society that tells people they can do anything, and the existence of low self-esteem.”
Yet, even though some perceive a calling to ministry as less competitive, a strong desire exists in most of us to make something exceptional of our life and ministry. But complete absorption in work can lead us to neglect our soul. And that’s the part of us the communicates with God. The soul also determines our well-being and happiness.
Hence, Ken observes a common problem with successful, driven people:
“Many of us understand intellectually that we are loved by God, but in our day-to-day experience we continue to base our value on our success, our outward appearance, and how others view us. That’s why I’ve written this book. It’s an exploration of God’s love.” (emphasis author’s)
In conclusion, Ken stresses that certain spiritual practices nurture his feeling of peace. These practices remind Ken that God deeply loves him. Regardless of his performance.
As a result, Pastor Shigematsu feels liberated from unnecessary burdens. And energized and inspired in ministry.
Finally, all of this remains an ongoing struggle for the author. Therefore this book, first and foremost, is a letter to himself.
Today’s question: What springs from your deep well of joy and gratitude? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Striving Adam and Soulful Adam”