12
Nov
08

Embracing my humanity

I’m lying here in my bed with my right leg elevated. I got myself a calf strain in this Sunday’s football (soccer) game and have to accept the fact that walking is a difficult discipline these days…Friday my nine week discipleship training program with Grace Ministries International ends. I have so much I need to spend more time evaluating, thinking about, processing and praying through from these past few months. They’ve been incredibly rich, and I can only say that one of the big things that God is starting to show me more and more is that it’s okay to be me.

It’s okay to be myself. To just be Torben. It’s a process of embracing my humanity. Embracing what I like about myself, and what I’ve enjoyed in my life. But also embracing what I would prefer to change and what has been difficult in my life. Getting to know who you are in Christ, and experiencing his life in you, doesn’t mean that your own personality and uniqueness is eradicated. Jesus is not interested in little Jesus-copies running around. He wants unique expressions of who he is through each of his children formed and shaped in a unique way. I have spent much time this past 1,5 years wishing that I was “better” at living out some of all the exchanged life/identity in Christ stuff that I’ve been learning. I have wished I was better at being quiet, so I would be more reflective. I have wished I was better at hearing God’s voice or getting pictures from him, so I would feel closer to him the way I see other people experience closeness. I have wished that I was nicer and more friendly, so I wouldn’t end up scaring people away from me. 

I have looked at the grass of other people, and as it is always the case when we move down the well-worn and death producing path of comparison, my grass came up short. It simply wasn’t green enough. 

But my grass is my grass. My life is my life. My personality is my personality. When Paul exclaims his majestic and life giving/changing verse in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” he is not saying that my personality and my unique expression of who God is died on the cross with Christ. My old self, my dead, unregenerate spirit died with Christ. My sinful self died, and I am now a new creation in Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2. Corinthians 5:17).

I am free. Free to be me. Free to embrace my new identity in Christ and free to explore who the real me is. I’m free to express myself the way God has created me. I’m free to look the way God designed me. I’m free to use the gifts God gave me. I’m free to lead, teach, train, write and challenge, because that is what God has called me to do. I’m free!!

I’m free to love myself. And I’m learning more and more about that. Embracing my humanity means loving myself. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is mighty difficult to do if you don’t love yourself. How can you love other people unconditionally, if you only love yourself when you live up to your own standards (or what you perceive as God’s standards)?

I’m free to accept my limitations. I’m free to receive my weaknesses and accept that God loves to work through my weaknesses and show his strength. I’m free to forgive myself for wrong choices 10 years ago, yesterday and today, because I have been forgiven for all sins past, present and future. I am free to say yes, and I’m free to say no to people. I am free to not try to save or rescue people, because I don’t have nail marks in my hands, and that means it’s not my job anyway. I am free to experience the lightness of burden and the peace that Jesus promised his followers.

I am free to freely forgive people when they hurt me, because I don’t allow other people to determine who I am, so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. Only God’s opinion matters, and he thinks I’m great! 🙂

I am troubled by the enormous amounts of people I know and love who don’t know who they are in Christ. They are forgiven. They are believers. They are headed for heaven. But they don’t know who they are, and their lives are not expressions of life and joy. I want to help. But I acknowledge that only God can bring about the revelation of who we truly are in him. That’s what he is in the process of doing with me. For 30 years I had no clue who I really was. For 30 years I thought that I was too hard a nut for God to crack. But God knew when he could start getting to me. God knows best.

I know most of my blogs land on this sentence these days: God knows best. But I guess it’s not a bad place to end. 

Blessing, Torben

Faith is the courage to accept our acceptance“, Paul Tilich

The poverty of uniqueness is a lonely yes to the whispers of our true self, a clinging to our core identity when companionship and community are withheld. It is a courageous determination to make unpopular decisions that are expressive of the truth of who we are – not of who we think we should be or who someone else wants us to be“, Brennan Manning in “Abba’s Child

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