Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Hiding Place

Our cat has found a new hiding place. She tucks herself in between the wall register and the portable radiator heater that actually keeps my office area warm. She finds this spot a great place to sit; occasionally turning around to warm her other side.

When she is feeling adventurous she sits up in the window sill to watch over our backyard. The window sill is much more entertaining and she has a soft spot to sit. But, the windowsill is cold so she eventually returns to her hiding place.

When the temperature situation is at an extreme low, and she is in need of significant cognitive inhibition, she burrows under the blankets on our bed. I can relate.

We all need a hiding place at some point in our lives. Some of us need one nearly every day. I am an introvert who has learned to interact like an extrovert, but, it takes a lot out of me. I retreat to my room at night and settle in with my computer so my brain can process all the face time I experienced during the day. Some days it is all too easy to spend time in my hiding place. It seems odd to me because I love talking to people and I especially love teaching, but when I think of my "dream job" it usually involves staying at home and working, by myself.

I have been identifying with Moses, lately. Moses would have loved nothing better than to be a shepherd for the rest of his life.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 ESV

Extroverts are the ones who would enjoy running for public office, yet God chose Moses. A leader of thousands planning to escape slavery and begin a new nation would need oratory skills that could persuade, yet God chose Moses. This job was going to require someone who could influence, inspire, and interface, yet God chose Moses; a man who was more comfortable leading sheep than a nation. Moses didn't want the attention; he wanted long hours alone to think. Moses didn't want the prophet's staff that performed miracles; he was happy with the shepherd's staff that guided sheep. Moses, who as a young man, walked away from a position of great power and leadership; begged to not be appointed to the task of God's calling. Yet, God chose Moses.

One of my advisor's favorite research topics is the development of talent and expertise. We assume that the truly great performers of our time where born with great talent. There is nothing to indicate that is true. Research done on people with great expertise points instead to arduous work and years of practice before any expertise even begins to show. Even Mozart, who began composing at the tender age of six, did not produce anything of merit until he had worked at it for 10 years.

God shows us that He can take any one of His children and create a leader, an expert, a servant of God. He can provide us with the abilities we need and He makes use of not only our hard work, but our miserable failures.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6 ESV

Here is a paradox of our faith and life: all our work is polluted, all our talents are useless, but, God uses us anyway. He turns our flailing efforts into success for His kingdom. And He does this even if we would prefer to be in our hiding place. Hit fits us for the task he sets before us. So when people remark: "I don't know how you can do it," you know that God is the reason behind your work and ministry. And when you lament: "I don't think I can do this," you know that the simple fact that God chose you, is why you can do the work.

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114 ESV

As you can imagine, while I am writing this I am sitting in my hiding place. My brain and heart are calm and my God is with me as I walk through his word. In a few hours I will need to go to class and tomorrow I teach. I will come home tired and wanting to retreat. I cannot speak for my efforts in either classroom. I see God working in the lives of my students, but I also intensely feel my mistakes. I sit in class and feverishly take notes, but my current classes are all statistics classes and I am afraid my math skills are on a par with Moses' speech impediment. Yet, God chooses for me to be here. He is my hiding place. He is my strength. He is your strength.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 ESV

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Have you been living in my house lately? You just described my dilemma perfectly. Thank you for writing this Kim - inspired I would say - I have been ministered to by your Divine words. Thanks to your dear cat as well.