Devotions from Henri Nouwen’s book, The Inner Voice of Love

Today’s devotion is about the importance of allowing ourselves to be fully received. Giving ourselves to others without expecting anything in return is only possible when we know that we are unconditionally loved ( fully received) by God.

Every time we discover that we expect something in return for what we have given or are disappointed when nothing comes back to us, then we are made aware that we have not yet fully received.

Giving without wanting anything in return is trusting that all our needs will be provided for by the One who loves us unconditionally.  A lot of giving and receiving is more out of need than out of trust. What looks like a generous act may really be manipulation or a cry for affection or support. When we know ourselves as fully loved, we will be able to give according to the other person’s capacity to receive, and we will be able to receive according to the other person’s capacity to give. We will be grateful for what is given us without clinging to it, and joyful for what we can give without bragging about it. We will be a free person, free to love.