So here’s one way to feel pretty certain you’re hearing God’s voice. One evening, on a Wednesday, you’re sitting in the back row of your church, observing a youth ministry you’ll soon be part-time working for, and the twenty-year-old pastor who’s hired you—even though you’re more than 2.5 times his age, and all five of your own sons are older than he is, and you make sure he knows this, but he hires you anyway—and now this pastor is leading students in silent confession, and you’re confessing, too. And you say in your spirit something like this:
“I don’t know if I’m dealing with insecurity or arrogance or both. All I know is it’s not holy and it’s not humility. And so I’m confessing…”
And then the very next morning (before heading out for your other part-time church job) you read your Bible and one quick chapter from a book called The Other Side of Hope, and right there the author has written this EXACT thing, and no kidding:
“Insecurity and arrogance are two sides of the same coin. And in my experience, they happen when we are out of alignment with our core identity…Either way we are being duped by our false selves and we need to spend some time re-posturing our lives to the center—our core identity, who we are, true humility. We need to come back to what God says about us.” p.105
How’s that for a bit of Spirit clarity?
Needless to say I’m paying attention.
Paying attention to this, too, and thinking probably it’s all related. A dream I had Tuesday night, the night before the youth group prayer. A dream about a blog post I was supposed to write on “what it means to be human.” And I knew, even in my dream, why I was thinking about this particular topic. Because lately it has been EVERYWHERE—in books and podcasts and Bible studies—in my waking moments, in actual life.
God created us HUMAN and He saw this was GOOD.
So. A dream and a prayer and a word-for-word confirmation. And I am sure-and-certainly paying attention.
I pick up my journal and I do my best to capture what I hear the Spirit saying…
God could have created miniature gods, but He didn’t.
He created humans.
What is it about human creation that is very good?
Image of God.
To rule. To bring order. Create beauty. Partner.
To walk upright. Alongside.
To know and be known.
To hear and be heard.
To eat, sleep, breath.
To be vulnerable, fragile.
To think and to choose.
To build and to heal and to love.
To make mistakes.
To make waste.
Is this also the good of being human?
To be limited.
I AM LIMITED.
In knowledge. Understanding.
In strength, power, energy, health.
Limited in time and proximity.
Limited in giftedness. I need the BODY to complete my gifts.
I am limited in all the ways God revealed to Job.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Who determined its measurements—surely you know! (Job 38:4-5)
Do you know?
No. Of course NO.
I am limited. Dependent. This is HUMAN. And somehow all of this must be GOOD.
God help me to neither underestimate nor falsely boast in my human potential. This holy partnership.
“True humility alongside true dependency are the center to shalom wholeness.”
Danielle Strickland, the author of The Other Side of Hope, had said this in a podcast, and I’d written it down. Then I ordered her book. (I highly recommend it.) She says this, too—
“If true humility is agreeing with God about who you are, then true dependency is agreeing with God about who he is.” p. 110
Yes and amen.