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The Gift of Being “Only Human”

As I work on the details needed to put my book, Risking Rest: A Journey to Trust God’s Love, out into the world this fall, I find myself continually challenged to live the title still more deeply.

There are edits to finish, a reader’s guide to complete, and questions about how much I’ll be able to do to help get the book into the hands of readers. And of course meals still need to be made, laundry done, and all of my other usual work and life tasks completed.

It feels like grace that, in these busy days, someone else’s creative work with God has come across my path. It’s Kelly M. Kapic’s beautiful book, You’re Only Human, and I didn’t even get properly into the text before I was hooked by the title of the first chapter, its epigraph, and the chapter summary.

The title: “Have I Done Enough? Facing Our Finitude

(Dr. Kapic, have you been listening to my thoughts?)

The epigraph: “The result of busyness is that an individual is very seldom permitted to form a heart.” (Soren Kierkegaard, journal entry)

(Yikes! Having a heart—and a heart open to God—matters a lot to me!)

And the chapter summary: “Many of us fail to understand that our limitations are a gift from God, and therefore good. This produces in us the burden of trying to be something we are not and cannot be.”

(Ahhh. Thank you. I can feel myself breathe more deeply. I’m not supposed to be able to do it all, and my limitations are a gift, helping me live the truth of who God is and who I am.)

I know that truth well, of course. I’ve lived it and written about it for years. But each time life’s pressure increases like another turn of a screw being tightened, I need to learn it again at a new level. God is God. I am human and limited. And my finite, dependent status is a very good thing—something to be cherished and delighted in rather than fought.

What Eve and Mary did with their limitations

I’ve long been familiar with Scripture’s portrayal of Jesus as the second Adam. But I don’t think I’d realized that “many in the ancient church saw a clear link not only between Jesus and Adam but also between Mary and Eve” (Kapic, p. 45).

They saw this link partly because Eve was taken out of Adam, the man declaring, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” while Jesus, in a profound reversal, comes from a woman. “Imagine Mary looking down at her precious child, holding him close and whispering to him, “You are ‘bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’”(Kapic, p. 45).

But there’s another bit to the connection, and this is the bit I love most:

Eve, in reaching for the fruit that the serpent promised would make her like God, “was tempted to think of her limitations as chains that should be thrown off, whereas Mary [in her humble opening of herself to carry within her young body the Son of God] believed that within her smallness God would delight to accomplish his grandness” (Kapic, p. 45).

“Within her smallness God would delight to accomplish his grandness”—isn’t that a wonderfully freeing thought? Mary didn’t have to become greater or less limited to carry Jesus. She just needed to give her “yes” to God living his life in her in the unique and precious way he chose.

I’m choosing again today to trust that, as I open myself to God, God will delight to accomplish his grandness within my smallness. Trust with me, will you, as you encounter your own limitations? And celebrate with me the wonder of having a God who isn’t limited by our limits?

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Janet Sketchley

    As always, thank you for sharing words that bless my spirit. Praying for wisdom and energy for the pieces that need to come together for your book. Our world needs to learn to rest in God’s care.

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