We are constantly feeling guilty about things that are not sinful, they’re just part of being a creature. And when we get confused between our finitude and sin, it actually distorts the Christian life. It distorts our worship, it distorts what Christian faithfulness looks like, in our relationships.– Kelly Kapic
In my last blog post, I discussed how our culture’s pressure on girls may be the cause for undo stress, anxiety, and health concerns that are becoming prevalent amongst girls. Today, I happened across the GospelBound podcast “The Good News of Your Limits.” Kelly Kapic, who recently wrote You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News, provided some amazing insight. What if we are daily meddling a misunderstanding of our limitations and God’s expectations?
I’ve spent ten years now fascinated with Christian biographies of those who have done ‘great things’ for the Lord. I remember reading Dallimore’s two-volume biography of George Whitefield and coming away inspired to “spend and be spent for God.” Then, Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life left me all the more driven to make every bit of my life useful for God.
The passion books like these conveyed was incredibly valuable, especially when all of us young people are constantly surrounded by a generation wasting their lives on entertainment, meaningless video games, recreation, and living for money and comfort. Those books are needed. And I’m eternally thankful for those who introduced me to them.
At the same time, as Kapic pointed out in his podcast interview, the “Don’t waste your life” mentality has ruined families, marriages, and health. He cited A.W. Tozer, for example, who’s wife admitted “He loves Jesus, but I’m not sure he loves me.” Wow. Talk about missing the point.
The question is, in a passion to serve God, am I missing what it means to live a faithful Christian life in my sphere of influence? Yes, unreached peoples need the gospel. Yes, refugees in my city need ministry. Yes, more books on discipleship need written. Yes, more children in the schools need Good News Clubs to hear the gospel. Yes, people walking in the mall need Christians with the courage to approach them with street evangelism. Yes, every mother in church needs meals after having a baby.
But are all of these things my calling? Am I missing the calling of the entire church—which certainly needs to do each of these things—with my individual role? And in trying to reach each need, am I missing the most important ministries right in front of me: loving my fiance (to-be husband in 10 days :), investing in my siblings and someday, children of my own, and serving those I see every day?
Secondly, am I daily feeling guilty because I’m confusing my humanity with sin? Kapic observed:
When I put my head on the pillow at night, you know, I don’t often just think, “Man, I was great today. I really got it.” And what’s interesting though, is when we think about our day and we judge it, what tends to happen, including for us as Christians, is it’s not about just how I treated people. It’s how much I got done. And I think the idea of productivity has so infiltrated into our understanding of Christian faithfulness, that what happens is, I don’t feel good at the end of the day, not because I’ve been unkind to people, because I didn’t get as much done as I think I was supposed to.“Kelly Kapic
Having fallen into this exact pitfall pretty much my entire life (yes, I am totally a Type-A, driven person), I also know the beauty of experiencing the rest that comes from grace. Dane Ortland’s Gentle and Lowly was life changing in my slow transformation in coming to know a God who welcomes me into His arms rather than rebukes me up for not having achieved enough.
I am beginning to see rest and service, passion and faithfulness no longer as a balance but as an organic wholeness that makes up the Christian life. We live out of grace, in relationship to our loving Father, and from that intimate relationship, the rest of life flows forth. The answer isn’t in more time management books or conferences to hype me up. It’s in daily communion with Christ, so that wherever He leads me to serve (be it on the mission field or making dinner), I serve out of the rest and grace He’s poured out on me.
Learning along with you,
P.S. I highly recommend listening to Kapic’s entire podcast here, as his applications to parenting and leadership and the every day Christian life are both profound and practical.