What Keeps Us from God? I’m Not the Type

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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.

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5 thoughts on “What Keeps Us from God? I’m Not the Type

  1. Margaret @ Felice Mi Fa

    Yes! You articulate so well a challenge I face too. It took me a long time to even begin accept that I have to bloom where I’m planted both physically and spiritually. I have to remind myself I’m not called to be St Francis or Mother Teresa.

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone in the inferiority complex.

    1. ed Post author

      Thanks Margaret! And what I’ve found (if I may share a bit from my book Hazardous) is that God also works with us over time to change us and to take us places we would never have gone in the past. Everyone starts at square one, but God can reshape our minds and desires given enough time to work with us.

  2. Pam

    Ed, I would welcome some research on the finer details in the lives of saints. Humanity has many similarities, including the need to eat and sleep. Reading about the daily lives of folks who have lived intimately with Christ would encourage me as I deal with deadlines, dirty dishes and laundry….parts of my everyday life to which God has called. Thanks for your thoughtful posts!

  3. Pam Burns

    I recommend reading Matt Redmond’s book “God of the Mundane” for a good perspective about living realistically as a Christian.

  4. jeanElane

    One of the things I appreciate about your posts is that you write very clearly about a ‘problem’. Then in your conclusion, you speak of the ‘answer’ to the ‘problem’. Through that, your readers can relate and then learn from your conclusions.

    One good aspect of me moving away from ‘church’ and into the Bible, is to be able to clear the clutter and begin to hear what God has to say to *me*. I still attend church, it just isn’t the focus of my life. Ah yes! That focus is supposed to be God! Therein is my struggle!

    We all struggle. So people appear to not struggle so much, simply because all we read or hear is the highlights. I’d like to think that this age of technology will be a blessing to those who follow. We will see the daily struggles of those who may end up being the next great Christians.

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