One sign that we could be violating our own nature in the name of nobility is the condition called burnout. It is usually regarded as the result of trying to give what you do not posses, which is the ultimate expression of giving to little. Burnout is a state of emptiness, but it does not result from giving all we have: it merely reveals the nothingness from which we try to give sometimes in the first place.
But Jesus was never burnout, because he undertook a different kind of giving, grounded in a different way of being, being in the Father, a way that results not in burnout but in love, fecundity and abundance for humankind. His gift to us was integral to this own nature, it came from a heavenly reality, thus it to renew him, and to renew us, as he gave it to us. Only when we give something that was not really planted within us do we deplete ourselves and harm the other as well, for only harm can come from a gift that is forced, that is not authentic; that is not real…
The God I know ask us to honor our created nature, which means that we have limits as well as potentials. When we fail to do so, a way closes behind us. The God I know is the source of all reality, the source of what is and what is going to be. The God whom I know dwell quietly in the root system of the very nature of things. This is the God who, when asked by Moses for a named, responded, “I Am Who I Am”.
We are all made in God’s image and we can all give the same answer when asked who we are: I Am Who I Am: God’s creature and reality. Reality is divine to be not destroyed, but honored and understood.
So, the next time you are sharing with a group, identify the gifts that all of them possess that make good moments possible. It is an affirming experience to see our gifts at work in real-life situation, and it takes the eyes of others to help us see. Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are part of our God given mysterious nature, given to us from the moment we drew first breath and sometimes we are no more conscious of having them than we are of breathing.
We also have to be aware that, weakness is the particular trade-off for a particular strength. Thus, our gift as a teacher, a counselor, a minister, or a friend (meaning a human being engage into helping people find God and thus finding themselves) is the ability to dance with others, to teach them through dialogue and interaction how to achieve higher purposes.
When we are willing to dance with God and with each other the result is an experience of love and beauty. When we refuse to dance, our gifts are denied and things start to become messy: we get hurt and angry, we resent each other and behave defensively, looking for someone or something to blame. We must trust our gifts in ways that fulfill the potential that God gave us.
There is much guidance in way that closes behind us as there is in way that opens ahead of us. So let us hope that while embracing these two dimensions (closeness and openness), all of us can hear the music, accept the invitation and dance with God, and thus with each other.