“We want to be like Jesus, but our understanding of what Jesus is like may be in need of repair. Instead of ‘truly God and truly man,’ perhaps our definition of the Incarnation is more often mostly God with a dash of man. . . . A skewed view of Jesus can actually contribute to the pressure we feel to be superhuman.”- Alicia Britt Chole
“And the child [Jesus] grew and became filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”- Luke 2:40 (NIV)
In Chapter 34 (“Filtering Failures”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole stresses that how we define failure matters. Because when disillusioned, what we say to ourselves is formative. Therefore:
6. When disillusioned with yourself, remember that not all failure is sin. Thus, since not all failure is sin, Dr. Chole notes, failure serves as one of the wisest teachers of the growth process. If we let it speak! Above all, Jesus’ work on the cross was sufficient. Hence, we dishonor God when we act like there’s more to be paid. So, Dr. Chole exhorts, rise forgiven!
7. When disillusioned with yourself, give yourself grace to be growing. Moving on to Chapter 35 (“Pickle Soup”), Dr. Chole talks about how our depictions of Jesus affect our understanding of what it means to be like Jesus. For example, a truly beautiful painting of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane shows Jesus kneeling with perfect posture. In addition, His face, bathed in the warmth of His backlit hair, looks serene. And over a radiant rock, Jesus gently folds His hands in prayer.
Therefore, Dr. Chole asks, do:
- we view tears as a lack of holiness?
- we believe that deep sorrow can coexist with great faith?
- our best efforts have to double as our all-time best offerings?
- we give ourselves permission to be human and grow?
In conclusion, Dr. Chole encourages, see Jesus as with you, celebrating your stumbling steps. Just as you celebrate the growth of your children.
Today’s question: What might cause you to develop a skewed view of Jesus? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Pilgrimage or performance?”