A little gem from Henri Nouwen today:
In my own life I well know how hard it is for me to trust that I am loved, and to trust that the intimacy I most crave is there for me. I most often live as if I have to earn love, do something noteworthy, and then perhaps I might get something in return.
This attitude touches the whole question of what is called in the spiritual life, the "first love." Do I really believe that I am loved first, independent of what I do or what I accomplish? This is an important question because as long as I think that what I most need I have to earn, deserve and collect by hard work, I will never get what I most need and desire, which is a love that cannot be earned, but that is freely given.
Thus, my return is my willingness to renounce such thoughts and to choose to live more and more from my true identity as a cherished child of God.
Excerpt from From Fear to Love: Lenten Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, by Henri J.M. Nouwen