Wednesday, April 1, 2020

lessons in irrelevance

Okay, so I’m a bit of a slow learner.  I have been praying Psalm 62 every Wednesday for three years now and it is finally starting to get through to me, especially when you add this odd season of being homebound due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s what I am learning:  I am irrelevant.  And by that I do not mean that I am not relevant and valuable to God; I mean I am not necessary for the survival of the world.  God can manage just fine without me.  If nothing else, the last few weeks of being stuck at home has convinced me that I am not essential to the health and well-being of those I know and love.  Sure, I add something unique and beautiful to their lives, but the truth is that when I’m not around they seem to get along just fine.  And interestingly enough, that is not meant to be morbid or demeaning, it is meant to be freeing and empowering—for both me and them.

You’d have thought I would have learned this lesson by now, simply through praying Psalm 62.  But again, I’m a bit of a slow learner.  The very first words (in the original Hebrew) of the psalm are “Only for God.”  It is the theme of the entire psalm—only for God, only in God, only through God.  There is no God and, just God alone.  And for someone who tries to be relevant every day of his life, that is a bit of a blow to my ego.  I want to be relevant and necessary.  What’s more, I need to be relevant and necessary.  So for someone who needs to be needed, it is a humbling reality.  I guess God is trying to teach me the value of being irrelevant.  I guess he is trying to get me to recognize and embrace that irrelevance, rather than deny and resist it.

There’s an old saying that goes: “If I need you, then I cannot truly love you.”  Until I can release my need to be relevant and impactful, life will always be about me, not about God.  And God works in and through me best when it is all about him and is nothing about me.  So somehow, mysteriously, it is only through embracing my irrelevance that I am actually able to be relevant to what God wants to do in and through me in his kingdom.  I suppose I would do well to remember than.

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