Tag Archives: books

living in the ellipsis

For the last week or so I’ve been digesting a chapter of A Balanced Christian Lifetitled, “Blessed Are the Meek” as I consider what to do with myself now that I have officially left my teaching position.  The writer focuses on Moses, a character of the Old Testament who “attempted to help God with human wisdom and power.”  To make a long Hebrew story short: Moses grows up as the adopted son of Egyptian royalty, with all the power and privilege inherent therein.  The Israelites, who are his actual forebears, are slaves of the Egyptians and it is Moses who eventually leads them out of slavery.  But before this can happen, Moses is pulled from his comfortable life and languishes in the desert for forty-some years, so that by the time God finally calls him to do something, his confidence is pretty much toast.

Oh Moses, I can relate.  It wasn’t forty years, and it was ghettos’n’cornfields, not a desert,  but to my battered spirit this year was the culmination of a period of desolation.  “Again and again He places you there, without giving you favorable environment, so that you may submit yourself under His might hand.  This is to test whether or not you will do His will, for your own will must be dealt with.”  I won’t speak about my choice of teaching as a career, but surely my withdrawal from community and loss of my self was not God’s will, and I admit that I chose this path for myself.  I ignored several warning signs and plowed ahead, thinking I knew what I was doing, that I was bound by my own expectations of what my life should be like, and to some degree serving my pride over what I’d accomplished so that I was reluctant to turn my back on it.  But after my first year in the classroom, I have to admit honestly that I don’t feel very good at what I’m doing, and that perhaps classroom teaching is not the best use of my strengths.

But Nee also writes, “Knowing one’s own uselessness alone is still useless.  The important thing is to know the power of God….If we stay [at the place of no self-confidence and no self-reliance] and refuse to go forward by trusting in God, we will greatly displease Him.”  Right now I am quite ready to admit my own weakness, but rather afraid to move forward from that point and admit my strengths and passions.  Writing brings me to life.  Counseling brings me to life.  Hell, showing girls how to use makeup brings me to life.  And yet to pursue those means starting a new chapter, which always scares the crap out of me.  In the words of Maia Sharp, “…every beginning means something else is ending.”  We talked on Sunday about how any sort of self-death is terrifying, even for Christians, because you just can’t know (in the sense that we as humans understand knowing) that resurrection is going to happen.  But that’s where faith comes in, right?  Right?  Right…

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