Quote: The Greatest Trap

Jul 22, 2013

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

—Henri J. M. Nouwen


  1. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Hi Michelle,
    This is so true. Many, many years ago, after a traumatic incident, I lived a life on the streets in Los Angeles for a year and allowed myself to be used by others because of this very thing. Each time I would think, “Well this proves once again that I am a nobody.” It took time and a relationship with God before I realized that I was setting myself up for these unhealthy encounters. I was somebody. I was somebody to God. Once I discovered my worth in Him it eventually became self-worth. It was a process, and it was hard to climb out of that trap. Once I did I was able to hear that voice calling me to “real” success…that voice that calls, “My Beloved.”

    • Michele

      I love this, Linda. A beautiful, redemptive story. All because He called you “Beloved,” and you chose to listen and BELIEVE.

  2. anita and jay dawes

    Hi Michelle,
    sad to say, but we are very guilty of self-rejection. We wish we weren’t, but we have been rejected so many times and in so many ways it is almost a natural progression. We can appreciate everything that henri j m nouwen says, but it is so hard to be optimistic when your chin is on the floor.
    There are lighter moments and we are grateful for them, but it always seems as though we have only borrowed them somehow…

    • Michele

      Lies are often easier to believe than truth. One look in the mirror (or remembering my failures and regrets), and I can’t imagine how anyone would call me “Beloved.” And yet He does. Again and again.

  3. Erlinda Quitevis

    I believe we can avoid this trap when we know who we are in God. Look @ the manger & the Cross two symbols of REDEEMING GRACE & SALVATION. For GOD so love the world He sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON into the world so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish have everlasting life. This is a gift to mankind to ALL who comes to believe in Christ Jesus, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHO YOU ARE. It takes knowing of this Divine gift. that’s why it is very important to share boldly & courageously the WORD OF GOD to one & all. I learned the WORD from my mother’s knee. & we were dirt poor materially & existed from hand to mouth but we were rich in blessings. God never left us. I went on to finish a Degree in Social Work from one of the private Universities of Manila, Philippines. I was blest to immigrate to Canada where my husband & I worked helping others. I glorified GOD through my work & how we raised our kids. There ups & downs but we overcame. Praise the Lord.


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