Years ago, I decided to accept my limitations.
Having had conversations like this with youth, I recognize how defeated that sounds. But the opposite is true. When I made that decision, I didn’t defeat myself. I freed myself.
I relate it to a childhood conversation I had with my mom once. She told me to be the best at whatever I do. If I was a teacher, be the best teacher. “I don’t care if your job is to be a trash man, be the best trash man,” she said.
Now, she wasn’t telling me to be better than everyone else. Be the best over everyone else. She wanted her boy to give all he had to be the best he could be at whatever he set his heart out to do.
I can’t be better than everyone, but I can be my best.
Acknowledging my limitations is always a part of that process. Doing so allows me to recognize what I’ve already learned and what areas I need to further develop skill and knowledge.
Now, I’m not sharing this with you to sound like a life coach or inspirational speaker. I’m doing so to confess to you my inadequacies when it comes to some things of faith.
For example, the command to sacrifice Isaac. Scholars label it the Akedah, the Hebrew word for binding.
It is one of the more difficult readings in scripture. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot that has been said about it. On the contrary! So much thought has been given to this passage that it’s a bit overwhelming. What can I add to what brilliant, faithful and thoughtful people have already said?
That doesn’t make me a bad Bible teacher. It doesn’t make you an inept Bible student if you have nothing new to add either. Knowing our limitations helps us grow. If I thought I had it all figured out, I might not have a need to listen to what others thought about such a passage. I might not even care.
When it comes to our walk with God, surrender is key. I must surrender my vanity. Surrender my ego. Surrender my need to feel as if I need to have all the answers anyway.
Surrender is our armament. As much as embracing our limitations sounds backward, professing a call to surrender seems foolish.
But that is what I see from the binding of Isaac.
I don’t know what God was thinking. Why would this be an okay thing to ask of Abraham. Surely we could have found another way to speak against the practice of human sacrifice.
It helps me to focus on Abraham. He surrendered to God. All he could do was obey what God called him to do. I recognize how foolish that sounds in light of what God asked of Abraham. And I know many people do things they say God told them to do that seem just as outlandish.
Still, what I’m left with is surrender. We can’t become what God has promised us if we aren’t willing to surrender the life we think we want.