Saturday, April 19, 2014
Feeling Unworthy vs. Feeling Proud
Take for instance this post, where I probably felt at my lowest in terms of my job performance. I felt like I've grown a lot since that experience.
I have a new job as a Immigrant Rights Organizer, and I really love it! Yes, the hours and pay and benefits are great, but it is more the fact that I'm doing things I hope make a difference in my community.
I love this job for the same reasons I love working as a missionary: bring people who have been neglected and forgotten some hope.
With this new job change I am confronted with a cocktail of feelings: feelings of unworthiness vs. feelings of pride.
Let me explain. I can feel proud as I sit in my office and say to myself "look at me with my desk and everything!" and then I can feel unworthy as I remind myself that this job is a gift from God and something I don't deserve.
I was always struck by the ebb and flow of these opposite emotions; a sense of entitlement and a sense of unworthiness.
Caught in this false dichotomy, as I believe many of us are, I realized those opposites are ultimately unhealthy.
I believe God doesn't want me to fill myself with pompous pride and look down on my ex-coworkers at the gas station and tell myself I'm somehow more worthy than them. And I believe God doesn't want me to feel so unworthy as to regard myself as garbage deficient of any good gifts.
There has to be a third way out of these two horns and it has to come not from pride or unworthiness but from a place of humility.
One morning, as I was seating in a boring meeting at my job (I hope my supervisor is not reading this!) I felt God nudging at my heart and saying : If I gave you this job is not because you are worthy of it or unworthy of it, but because I know you can handle it.
The words you can handle it really impacted me at that moment. I took my notepad and wrote down "It is not about deserving a gift or not, but that you can handle it".
This I believe, is the third way. In saying that God give us things when we can handle them we are affirming that every good thing is a gift from God.
We are also avoiding the pointy two horns of pride and unworthiness, as we recognize the reality that God's grace and gifts are not a matter of deserving them or not, but simply a free gift of love, a gift God gives when He knows we can handle it.
It gives me a healthy sense of confidence, as I feel God trusting me with a gift that I know I can handle receiving. It gives me the confidence to resist the darts of the enemy that tells me "you are not worthy of this", and without relying on my own pride.
Be happy and celebrate the gifts God gives us, and rest in the knowledge that if He gave you that gift, it is because He believes you can handle it.