God: “Okay, write: ‘Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.’”
Moses: “Uhh, I’m supposed to write that…about myself?”
Much of my offense toward God has to do with the processes he reserves for himself. He reserves for himself the role of teaching us the truth, making us realize what’s wrong, straightening us out, and teaching us to do what’s right. Confusion is birthed when you try to do God’s job to the neglect of your own.
I want to do God’s job for him because the fool in me remains convinced I can hack the process and speed it up.
It takes Godly maturity (read: seasons of nothingness drenched in uncertainty) to finally ask: Wait, why do I event want to speed this up?
Here are two of my reasons:
1. I want to impress myself so I’ll feel entitled to sit next to Jesus—(James/John’s Mom, anyone?)
2. I want to impress religious people for whom God is gold. The more God I collect, the more at ease the Pharisee in me can be when he’s around other Pharisees. It’s called a Gold Rush for a reason. No one gets rich during the Gold-Be-Still-And-Know.
Moses: “God, pick someone else instead of me.”
I rarely hear people say this. Every other day, I’m seeing new ventures and ministries. I’m glad for this, but I’m confused by it as well.
Who’s out there telling God to pick someone else? “Don’t send me, Lord. I’m not good enough.”
I’ve been raised on, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
I’ve been raised on, “God, send me wherever you want.”
But “Please send someone else, Lord”? I just don’t see it.
Until, Oh wait. Wow—yes I do.
I feel guilty over wanting God to pick me. Moses’ “Send someone else, Lord” taunts me because I don’t want God to send someone else. I want him to send me. I’ve heard others say the same thing for years.
Follow me carefully, though—you might think what I say next doesn’t apply to you, but it does.
I say, “God, send me.” But I don’t mean it. You don’t either.
We mean “God, send someone else,” too.
Moses’ “God, send someone else” was about a different person, someone whose name wasn’t Moses.
Your “God, send me” is about a different YOU.
You say, “God, send me,” but you mean, “God, send me*”
*a Future, More Cleaned Up and Stronger Version of Me.
“God, send a more developed, less dependent version of me; a version of me that doesn’t need you as much.”
I thought I wasn’t hearing anyone say, “God, send someone else.” But that’s actually all I’ve been hearing.
Our “Send me*” comes with caveats. “Send me, but first let the Pharisee-in-me have his/her way. Let them demolish and destroy any weakness within me that might keep me dependent on you moving forward. Send me, God. But replace yourself with someone more predictable, more malleable, more tame.”
God is not looking to be domesticated, nor is he interested in making us more self-sufficient. He’s looking to make us utterly dependent on him.
Which, by the way, is the actual definition of humility: To be utterly dependent on God. That’ll totally change your understanding the next time you read: “Moses was more humble than any other person on earth.”
Moses’ calling was far too important to remain dependent on any human. Yours is too, I hope you’ll remember that the next time you’re tempted to blame yourself or someone else for not being God.
To be utterly dependent on God sounds like a pretty weak place. A place far too tight for us to bring in any of our self-deprecating/self-improving/self-impressing tendencies. We’re kidding ourselves with these inner Pharisees whose self-regulation poses as holiness.
“God, send me” means the me I am now. The you that includes your dysfunctions and deficiencies.
I thought the closer I got to God, the stronger I’d get; the less dependent I’d get; the more developed I’d get.
But everything so far has been tearing the seams apart, demanding more vulnerability than ever. And my gifts? My gifts/talents have become an afterthought. What I thought would be the main course of my life has become the after-dinner mint. What I can’t help but stare at every day is a weak, broken individual whose only hope is that God would show up.
The more I’m forced to stare at the me I am now, the more I can hear my inner Pharisee saying, “God, you need someone else. Either a completely different person or an Arvin who has it far-more-together than me.”
It is painful to realize the same spirit that demanded the Pharisees crucify Jesus is at work in the same flesh I’ve been called to crucify daily.
It seems God is beyond content with the version of his people who cannot send themselves, who’ve tried and failed enough to say, “I can’t send myself. And you know what? I don’t even want to.”