If you’ve read my blog before, you know how I feel about Henri Nouwen. Next to Jesus and my grandmother, he is the person I most want to hang out with when I get to Heaven. The guy gave up a highly visible, successful career to go live among the poorest of poor, the neglected, the downtrodden, the true outcasts of society. His was a life well lived.
When I read his writing, I get a clear picture of what it means to be a dedicated follower of Christ. Nouwen was open about his person struggles, he didn’t allow fear or pride to muddy the waters of true sanctification. In fact, one of my favorite books that he published is titled, “The Wounded Healer.” Essentially, the book describes how God can use our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, even the things we most detest about ourselves, to bring about change, healing, and even reconciliation.
We all want to be successful, and I’m not saying this is wrong. But what if we are meant for more? What if in our weakness, He is truly made strong?
There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness, but fruitfulness. “Bread for the Journey” Henri Nouwen
Admitting my weaknesses is scary, I don’t want to do it, so most of the time I just keep working, striving, and pursuing more of what I already have. But I’m left wanting. I’ve found that If I’m abiding, I don’t have to stay in this place long, because the Spirit’s gentle whisper is all it takes to turn my heart. Oh sweet repentance, and on its heels, realignment with the One who is the True Vine, apart from which, I can bear no fruit.