In seminary I read a few biographies of great Christians.
Since then I’ve read a few more.
In each case, I have this nagging thought: Well, I can’t do THAT.
Some well-meaning soul thought he could encourage legions of Christians to imitate the great faith and practice of these marvelous disciples by writing a biography about them. Instead, readers like me just felt more insecure and less qualified.
Maybe she can fast all of the time, but that was before people needed coffee to survive.
Maybe he can sell all of his possessions, but I don’t know where or how I’d live if I did the same.
Maybe she can serve the poor, but I don’t even know where to find the poor.
Maybe he can read the Bible for five hours every day, but I wonder if he was also living with his parents.
Whether it’s from insecurity, lies I tell myself, or my obsession with logistics, I’ve had this habit of presenting excuses for myself. There are PLENTY of reasons to rule myself from the kind of Christianity I’ve read about.
Take Saint Francis for example. I get that he gave everything away and wandered out of town with nothing, literally, on his back. However, I always wonder: Yeah, but then what? Where did he sleep? What did he eat? How did he take care of his most basic needs? Did he go around begging? Did he forage?
Perhaps it’s just my American materialism or perhaps these biographers need to speculate or research these finer details a bit more.
We see these amazing saints in the history of Christianity moving mountains, and sometimes it’s hard to relate to them.
There’s no question that I want to live as an obedient disciple. I just have an inferiority complex, especially when I see what other Christians have done or are doing.
Over the years I’ve been processing what it looks like for God to use me as a unique person who has been given his gifts by God intentionally. I’ve had to keep fending off notions of God sighing deeply and saying, “Well, this one’s not so hot, but I’ll let him play around in church for a bit.”
Part of living by faith means trusting that God made me a certain way because he actually can use me in that specific way.
Part of finding our calling is accepting who God has made us to be and learning a simple but seemingly impossible truth: We are God’s type.