I’m not sure God is as unsure of you as you are of yourself

No, I’m sure- God knows you are capable of all kinds of awesomeness– much, much more awesomeness than you currently think.

Our experience of ourselves is so limited isn’t it? For starters, my voice sounds completely different inside my head than it does in your ears. That’s why it’s so weird to hear a recording of yourself. And that’s just the aural nature of echoing head cavities – my voice sounds completely different than the thoughts bouncing around between my ears. Vocalizing our thoughts out loud or even writing them on paper slows things down , or hardens things up, or breaks things out. Giving voice to what’s going on inside changes what’s going on inside. Jail-breaking our thoughts transforms them and allows us to see them in a new way.

Here’s a story that brings that all together- I was on the trolley (I guess all my stories happen on the trolley now) and I ran into my friend who was headed to therapy. He told me that he regularly records his therapy sessions (with his therapist’s permission) and listens to them for further insights. He is consistently shown how little he listens to what the therapist says because he hears himself ignoring her all the time. He’s amazed at how much good stuff he misses from her and he is awed by his experience of himself in the third person. He of the past is frequently foreign even to himself in the present.

I told him that that could be a pretty freeing thought. My experience of reality and even of myself is so limited for any number of reasons, that humility comes easy. I am small in the world. I am even small in myself. So I might as well get over my tiny-ness and do something great that God is calling me to do. Of course its efficacy will not be rooted in my capacity- but if I am rooted and established in love I may together with all the saints grasp how wide and deep and high and long is the love of Christ and I’ll probably be pretty darn good at sharing that width and depth and height and length with the world–and you will too!

All this came to mind because I was reading Acts 7 where Stephen (the church’s first martyr) was preaching to the Sanhedrin. In Acts 7:22 Stephen describes Moses as one “trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and powerful in word and deed.” But in Exodus 4:10 Moses gets in an argument with God about how poor of a speaker he is! “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” And that was after God showed Moses how to turn a staff into a snake and back!

Thankfully Moses’ legacy as a leader is bigger than his stubbornly small experience of himself. Hundreds of years later Stephen knows that Moses was “powerful in word and action.” That’s the story he heard about Moses. Good thing Moses didn’t control his own legacy! God equipped Moses to do the things he was called to do. Moses didn’t have to have all of the stuff to do what he was told before he started doing it. God helped him along the way to become the sort of leader that would be remembered as Stephen remembered him.

So be small, but don’t be too small. Humility is about being rightly sized. Your right size is determined by God not by your limited view of yourself. Trust me, you can trust in that–just try it.

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