So God has been at work so evidently in my life of late. He always is at work, but so often, at least lately, I hadn't seen it. Maybe because I couldn't believe without seeing and maybe I wasn't seeing because my belief was so miniscule. More so, I just think it was a season when God, in His truly infinite wisdom, to build my faith and revive my spirit, was slow to show Himself more clearly. But I've seen even a mustard seed the size of a period (.) is enough. God is so patient, not just with our sin, but with our doubts. Like Gideon or Thomas or Moses or Lot, He's patient with our doubts, with our hesitancies, with our excuses. I didn't question God's being, nor am I saying I'm wrong if I had. I just came to a point so far removed from a Spirit-filled life, so much more consumed with my ideas of who I am. And for years I have been miserable.
Not suicidal miserable. Joyless. Clueless. Lost. Alone. Burnt-out. Tired. Rebellious. Bored. Confused. Rejected. Unworthy. Worthless. Pointless to a God sovereign on one hand yet powerless to rescue me with the other. Sure I had head-knowledge of His grace and power and love. But all I could cling to was that head-knowledge--and it doesn't go far. Head-knowledge is rational, not intimate. I longed for a connection with the One who died so I could have it. "Where are You?" I remember crying to sleep. "I don't know what to pray, but You do. This is all I've got. These tears. Mini-prayers I guess from the deepest part of me. Spirit, You intercede for me." Something to that effect, it was a little emotional.
In this time I craved finding out who I am, what I'm to be, where I'm to be, why, when and how. I worked in Psychiatry, contemplated grad school in Psychology and med school in Psychiatry. Right now I'm in research in the field of neuropsychology. I worked as a Youth Minister and left burnt-out and somewhat angry. I very nearly entered a Congressional race (what?!) and contemplated Law school, an MBA, and/or financial advising. Currently, I want to teach maybe high school history, and I want to one day teach Bible classes at a public university from a Christian rather than Atheistic, excuse me "scholarly," perspective. But none of these define us. They occupy entirely too large a portion of our lives, but we aren't college professors or doctors or lawyers or research assistants in neuropsychology. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God created beforehand for us to walk in." (Eph 2.10)
I'm not implying a legalistic approach to doing/being/living "good works." But we are His workmanship. 1st, He made us. 2nd, we are His. 3rd, we are defined by that. Our whole existence hinges on the reality that we are created by God and we are His. 4th, whatever He's made us ultimately "to be," whatever we are as His workmanship (obviously it involves glorifying Him), it's so much better than what we concoct and drudge up from our own insecurities. God made us each an integral part of His plan and of His body. Pride stems from insecurity. I'm convinced of this. Not that our insecurities are sinful or prideful or even fully conscious, but they lead us to pride. It's us seeking, striving, longing to complete ourselves and resolve our raging insecurities in a manner independent of God. Instead of trusting His grace and acceptance and plan, we look to heal our own wounds. Sometimes we do so to feel worthy before Him, other times because we feel worthy enough without Him.
I've always struggled with humility. Most likely because of my insecurities in whatever. And also because I didn't want to see myself, whom I consider fairly intelligent and somewhat gifted in many areas and very much interested in many things, reduced to something so much less than I felt was my "potential." But humility isn't contentment in being or achieving nothing. It's being content in your role. It's the opposite of pride in that we are completely secure in our purpose, in who we are as people, and that being solidified by who we are in Christ. We all have roles and goals, hopes, dreams, talents, gifts, and purposes in the body of Christ. We aren't all to be the magnificent mascara or shimmering earrings or even the welcoming hands. Indeed, we aren't all created for that. Some of us are, and some of us are maybe the inner parts, hidden from fame and glory, approval and attention, Church votes and theological debates. I don't know enough about the human body (no med school, remember?) to even begin to accurately correlate our body parts to our Christ-centered roles in His body. But I'd venture that my insides, say my guts, are just as important as my Antonio Banderas "ah yes, how do you say" good looks. But I'd also venture we don't go on dates based on the state of the other person's guts either.
Our roles in Christ are equally important, and we are all graciously equipped and created for those purposes He's intended; however, they are seen and appreciated differently by folks. That's where humility resides. We can rest content that our purpose in the body of Christ, our role in Christ's furthering His kingdom, is sufficient by His grace and significant by His plan. We are all a perfect complement to His perfect plan. Sure we're flawed, but His strength can be manifested through us. And there's no place for us to boast. Pride, again, stems from our insecurities. Yes, though we boast when we are successful at something, we feel compelled to prove and declare to others our success instead of letting it stand on its own. Pride is the root of all evil, no doubt. It makes sense. It's independent of God, and even at its earliest stage, it's planning an exit from humility and our roles in God's plan.
I pray for the grace to trust in God's plan, not just a chronological plan, but His plan within us. As who we are. I pray we see our roles and embrace the joy that's found in living who we are, in chasing with all our heart He who makes us come ALIVE.