Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Gift of Not Being Needed

It's been ages since I last posted here. Much has changed. I'm now halfway through my final semester of PhD coursework at Princeton Theological Seminary. My wife and I now daily step back in awe that we are parents of a beautiful, vibrant baby girl. I'm twenty-eight years old.

Image from Greg High:
Somehow, in those twenty-eight years, I had not yet come to the fundamental insight that my "worth is not the same as [my] usefulness." I found this quote this morning during daily devotion. I've been reading Henri Nouwen's lenten collection Show Me the Way. Nouwen has always been one of those writers whose words cut through all my defensive barriers. Yet his is a gentle sword. His words are so simple, his thoughts so concrete and clear. He writes without pretension and, in doing so, plumbs the profound depths of our relationship to God and our relationships with others.

I can't help quoting most of this morning's reading:

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many gradegivers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable.... (52)