Friday, April 02, 2010

Embracing my Significance & the Irony of Humility

All my life I have believed that I was expendable and worthless. Since I've become a Christian, this assumption has been on my radar off and on as an object to attack, but also as a friendly religious false self. You see, it fits nicely with the theology that I believe in, that I am "totally depraved." Somehow this isn't the whole story though.

As a Christian this "belief" is not at the level of my conscious thought, but rather an underlying assumption to all of life that largely goes unchallenged. I see it when others compliment me and I minimize it; I see it when I fail and rage against myself in self-hatred; I see when I imagine someone else (anyone else, really) doing a better job as a father, husband, employee, etc. Certainly this is not what Jesus had in mind with the concept of humility. It makes me think of a line from an Andrew Peterson song, "I have cursed the man you have made me to be."

How do I go about embracing my significance in a way that accepts myself as both broken and beloved? How can I stand with broken confidence in the fact that God has made me unique, that no one can replace me in all my spheres of influence and relationships? Isn't this the irony of humility - owning who I am before God? As a broken sinner made in the image of God, I am unique, glorious, beloved, depraved, warped and broken.

When I minimize my significance I fail to love myself and love others. I only allow the reality of "beloved" to go so far. I also am not available to my wife and children (for example) as one who is uniquely positioned to bless and lead them. I abdicate some of that responsibility and privilege through my self-hatred. I minimize their assessment of me (they love me!) and thus minimize their hearts, which is patently unfair.

Somehow, I think, that the key is in the balance of "broken and beloved." I believe in my head that this is who I am. Why can't I accept the reality in my heart?

Graciously, God is at work to do what I cannot. I can testify that the self-hatred is no where near as vitriolic as it was even 2 years ago. I give thanks to him on this Good Friday, that with the death of Christ, all my old-self expressions were crucified with him - self-hatred, religious performer, know-it-all, judge, etc. I rest in that once again.

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