Last week I dove into the first portion of Steven Furtick’s new book, Un(Qualified) Only four chapters in, this book had already challenged the way I see myself as a leader. I had the chance to finish the book this week, and it continued to challenge me to grow past what I think of myself. It challenged me to accept the gift that God has given us of His identity.
The next section of the book goes on to then discuss how to know God’s identity. Because “apart from God, it’s impossible to get a clear picture of who we are, because our identity is so intimately and intricately and inseparably bound to his.” (p. 66) The way we see ourselves is not the way God sees us. Bottom line. In order to change the way we see ourselves, we have to understand the way God sees us. And that is hard. We would rather focus on who we are not and what we cannot do than on who God says we are.
It seems somewhat impossible to me – and I guess in all reality it is impossible – if I try to do this myself. That much change is overwhelming. But God doesn’t expect us to be able to soak it all in and “get it” right away. He simply wants us to be headed in the right direction. He’s not unhappy with who I am right now because I don’t have it all figured out yet. It actually means the “current version of (me) is the right (me) for this moment.” (pp. 88-89). Is that liberating or what?
Furtick goes on to address what I had assumed would be the main emphasis of the book – that our weaknesses and failures do not leave us unqualified. He does a masterful job weaving the stories of Biblical characters in with personal and practical stories, all pointing to the fact that God sees our failures and weaknesses as real, but not the end of the story. “God wants to bless the real you, with your weaknesses and problems and messes. The real you isn’t perfect, but that’s where the blessing is found. That’s where God’s grace is greatest and his strength is strongest.” (p. 151)
After admonishing us not to fall into the comparison trap (which is where most of us live daily as we compare ourselves against the perfection portrayed on social media), Furtick concludes the book with a section on goals. Goals are meaningless unless they are the right goals.
This book was full of truths that forced me to take a hard look at myself. I want to leave you with a few thoughts that were particularly striking to me as I worked through the book in my head and my heart.
” We settle for mediocrity because it’s believable and achievable and because we think it’s what we deserve.” (p. 71)
“I wonder if God’s favorite kind of person to work with is the one who says, ‘God,I have no idea what I’m doing here. But if you’ll show me what you know about me…I’ll do it.'” (p. 102)
“If your thoughts are on how far you have to go, your steps will feel heavy and uncertain. But if your focus is on how far God has already brought you, and if your confidence is in what Jesus has already done for you, the energy to endure will be yours.” (p. 133)
“I often worry and wonder and work as if the opinion of people is the ultimate source of my qualifications.” (pp. 188-189)
“Life isn’t about conquering our weaknesses so we can finally live happily ever after. It’s about living now, just as we are, accepted by God and therefore able to accept ourselves.” (p. 196)
Are you ready to embrace who you are in order to become who God has called you to be?