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Book Summary: Every Breath We Take by Terry Wardle

by | May 25, 2021

Every Breath We Take by Terry Wardle is a book I often recommend to others.  These are my personal notes from the book.  These are not all direct quotes, but also paraphrases and added commentary from me.  A * designates a note-worthy point.  As always, reading the book for yourself is suggested.  

  •   Intro

Position yourself for transformation. Don’t try to make things happen and expect that God will meet you. Do not read for information.

Connect. Be present. We miss a great deal of life because we are not being attentive to what is taking place around us moment by moment.

Respond. God not only speaks, he also listens. Dialogue with the Lord, talk about what you sense the spirit saying and doing in your life.

  • 1: Awakening Awareness

Most devotional times are more routine than revolutionary.

* The barrier is not the Lords absence, but my own.

I was faithful to show up, but I was seldom fully present.

Every day much of my time was consumed in a perpetual emotional stew composed of things that had happened and things that might happen. It was the way I spent my day, including my time with the Lord.

There’s a war going on for my attention.

* Even if the Lord is speaking, I’m not always listening.

The noise created from my past and future focus drowned out any and all present moment encounters.

Our problem is not the absence of God‘s presence, but the absence of our awareness of that transforming, intimate presence.

We have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.

We are preoccupied with anxious concern.

* It’s not about whether God is present, but if I am.

* I am amazed at how far I can go into a day with little or no recognition of how much of my time is focused on worries about what has happened and anxieties regarding what might happen.

*I am not aware of how unaware  I am.

Be attentive to the movement of God in every moment he brings your way.

*Every moment is alive with the presence of God.

Continuous partial attention versus present moment awareness

* Notice how often you fail to take notice.

The now is where God lives.

Much of what we ignore is actually filled with present moment possibilities.

* Don’t just focus on accomplishing the task because you’ll miss the experience.

  • 2: Spiritual Practice

The problem is our awareness, not his nearness.

Engaging in spiritual practices will not change you. Praying, fasting, going to church, reading scripture, saying  the Jesus prayer, countless other practices transform no one. He will change you.  That’s why we need spiritual practices.

Don’t make your spirituality like a chutes and ladders board.

 It’s about positioning, not performing.

“Spiritual practices are not techniques over which you determine the outcome. Using them demands surrendering control and relinquishing outcomes into the hand of the Lord. A spiritual practice simply disposes us to allow something to take place.  You engage spiritual practices to slow down, raise awareness, and make room to receive what only God can provide.”

Transformation takes place because of gods movement in the moment, not our performance.

Say come, Holy Spirit.

Combine a prayer word with your breathing.

Your posture matters.  On your knees, bow down, close eyes, clasp hands, go outside, look up, hands open …

Your brain takes what you say literally. Turn I’m nervous into I’m excited.

* The imagination can be a force for good or for bad. It can lead to light and positive emotions like joy, peace and love. Or it can cause a person to descend into a dark place where fear, anxiety, sadness and death abide.

Use your imagination to contemplate the deeper truths of God.

Find a prayer word: Yahweh, Jehovah, Emanuelle, Abba, father.

Be still.

  • 3: Rest, Receive, Respond

What does rest look like to me? Is it peace? What is peace to me? Contentment? What is contentment?

What are you trying to accomplish with rest?

You are a “can do” kid.

Conversion is going from learning to experiencing.

Ministry is simply allowing God to use us for his will.

* Most of us are over-informed and under-transformed.

Sanctification means always growing.

Are you note-taking or taking note?

Don’t say I will but say I am instead. Use present tense affirmations not future ones so that your brain hears it and can catch up to it.

Ephesians 1:3 we have everything now that we need.

* Preoccupation, Past future focus, and the level of distraction that people bring to the moment rob them of the very thing they want more than anything, a deeper  experiential intimacy with God that transforms their souls.

Say come Holy Spirit.

Be patient, be open, and be loving.

Reflect on what the Lord wants you to take away from this experience.

  • 4: I Will Give You Rest

* Everyone wants to feel safe and secure, to be loved, to be accepted , to be understood, to find  significance, and to have purpose in life.  God placed these longings within us so that we would be driven into his embrace.

Human brokenness leads us to look everywhere but to God to find fulfillment and satisfaction. The world suggests that human-striving is the only way to find safety, love, belonging, purpose, significance, and understanding.

So you better strive, drive, work hard and perform.  You need to measure up. You need more. Be more. Have more. Want more. Give more. Pray more. Serve more.

The message that You need to perform and please others in order to find rest is not the way of Christ.

The drivenness and striving evident in the values of the world have infected the people of God. Worldly expectations, supposed tos…

Galatians 4:4-7

Psalm 23  The only thing they need to do is surrender, submitting to the gentle, humble, yet powerful leading of the one they follow.

Shalom means wholeness and complete. Jesus came to make us feel complete, not just still and quiet. Jesus is the prince of peace.

Rest helps us to feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and satisfied.

* God rested, he didn’t just physically chill, he looked at all and said it was good. He gave gratitude, had perspective, had awareness, and was in awe.

Rest is a necessity for those who want to have growth and maturity.

* Physical rest, intellectual rest, emotional rest, and spiritual rest.

*God said it was good, not perfect.

Look at your week and say it is good. Give yourself and others permission to say it’s good.

We need the Lord to release us from the baggage we carry from past hurts, false believes, and ungrieved losses.

We can be secure in our position as God‘s beloved children, attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

 * Rest is fundamentally about trust.

* God’s truth is that you are loved, accepted, secure, significant, understood, and have purpose.

GRAB: gripping tight, resisting the spirit, anxious, bitter

REST: relinquish your efforts, embrace god’s provision, seek to enter Christ’s rest, thank god

Easy in Greek means well-fitted.

Prayer—  I relinquish all efforts to be secure through self promotion, self protection and self provision. By faith I embrace the fullness of every provision you have made for me. I embrace the promise of your constant presence in my life and I will seek to meet you in the sacrament of the present moment in stillness and silence. Help me live a life of constant Thanksgiving, aware and responsive to every good and perfect gift that is mine through Christ.

Matt 11:28-30 easy

Sit, breathe, focus, invite, pause. Think, ask, listen, be.

  • 5: Receive My Love

Pray for an encounter with Jesus. 

Why is it so difficult for Christians to know the love of God in their lives? 

There’s an intellectual argument for everything, even scripture can be contradictory. You must use discernment. 

No one can take an experience away. 

We need an identity that we can’t lose. 

Women’s identities are always changing, we have to be fluid. 

My identity is that I’m a child of God. This is personal, freeing, comforting, has the feeling of being taken care of. 

We are not responsible for growing the mustard seed. 

Rest in the love of God. Rest in his promise. Do not worry about the past or future. Do not be hyper vigilant and attempt to meet your own deep core longings through performance or people pleasing. 

It’s not on me anymore. I don’t have to do, strive, work.

* I don’t have to do _ to be _. 

As a Christian, I am loved, chosen, and empowered. We are loved long before we are lovable, chosen before we are acceptable, and empowered before we are responsible. 

Have you felt God‘s presence and seen the effects in your life? 

Do you know God loves you? 

Wrestle with your feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

* The Bible is the story of God’s relentless love. 

It was love, not nails, that held him to the cross. 

Do you have: an intellectual approach to faith? A distorted view of Jesus? Emotional wounds that leave you suspicious of love? 

There’s not answers to every question. On earth anyway.

  • You’re not supposed to know everything now. 
  • There’s not a lot of why in the Bible, but who. 

God is love, Love is an emotion, not logic or knowledge.

Concepts and knowledge alone do not rewire the brain, you must experience it. 

Is the concept God is love real to you? Have you felt that way? 

When things are tough, people cling to what is real, not to what is true. 

Experience truth in real, practical, experiential encounters with God. 

Experience God‘s deep love that transforms peoples lives, not just the cold facts. 

Elements of truth are not truth.

DUCK theology— you’re damned, unwanted, corrupt, and god is going to kick you to the curb. 

DANCE— God delights in you, has adopted you, seeks to nurture you, celebrates your uniqueness, and longs for you to rest in his embrace.

* Because of sin, we distort and limit what we experience. We cannot fully understand and embrace the love of God. We are inconsistent and limited beings.

Simply learning biblical truths and concepts will not bring transformation. It takes spirit filled experiences. 

I am unaware and preoccupied: God sends love notes of his affection, usually through people or events, and I do not see them, because my eyes are shut. I live too much with past or future obsessions. 

What you are in love with and what ceases your imagination will affect everything.

  • 6: Respond To My Love 

Wanting to do for Jesus is easier than trying to be with Jesus. 

Move from religion to relationship. 

Our deep longing‘s are to be loved, secure, significant, accepted, understood, and to have a purpose. 

Our core longings drive a great deal of our choices in life. 

They play a critical role in defining who we are. 

We are all holy in different ways. 

Home for you is God. 

He is the source of ultimate satisfaction and all your longings are met in relationship with him. 

Don’t invest in superficial desires. 

The message the world gives early in life is that we are not enough. 

We hide our true selves because we fear rejection. We are losing our true selves to past future obsessive activity that ultimately leaves us empty and spiritless even when that activity appears to be religious. 

We feel the pain of unaddressed wounds, the power of false beliefs that hold us in bondage, and the upheaval of countless ungrieved losses from past experiences. 

These are the obstacles, ditches, and walls that block our way. 

It takes pain to break us loose from the superficial desires that have possessed so much of who we are and what we do. 

Transaction versus transformation

Being holy is given to us by grace through Jesus.  It is not determined by how well we manage our sin or life. It is not about what we do but who we are. 

What Jesus did was enough. He cleansed us of our sins. We do not need to add to it with rules, requirements, and transactions.

A transactional approach creates anxiety and insecurity and it is impossible to experience rest. You have to work too hard to measure up. It is exhausting.

Respond to God‘s love by loving him back. Love him back because in Christ you are already secure. Love him back by being obedient to his commands. Love God back with your words, expressing praise and adoration. Love God with your body, postures that communicate love. Love God back by serving. Love God back by being generous. Love got back by living free from the demands of performance and pleasing.

God’s love compels us to grow, to do, to be. 

2 Corinthians 5

Intimate connections, time together, dialogue, communion, and the comfort of stillness and silence is having a relationship with God. It is both practical and intimate. He invites you to not only understand that fact but to experience it.

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About Kristi | View Profile

Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.

We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!

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