Most of us who have heard the call to embark on this journey have realized that the call did not come because of our worthiness but specifically because of our unworthiness. Counterintuitively, the call to the hero’s journey is not given to heroes, but that’s kinda the whole point. Still, the process of learning that we are the Beloved of God and claiming that chosenness for ourselves can lead to the temptation of seeing ourselves as especially unique or separate from others.
As Barbara writes in her article, Of Specialness and Being Chosen, this is sometimes called “Terminal Uniqueness,” the narcissistic delusion that our uniqueness elevates us over others, or frees us from the burden of personal responsibility carried by “normal” people.
Henri Nouwen reminds us that we are no better or worse than anyone else when he writes in The Life of the Beloved:
“Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosenness of others. That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well.”
This abundant chosenness must be our North Star on this journey, or we will slip from Henri’s abundant concept of chosenness into a fearful concept of election or predestination that only serves to separate us once again. In our competitive world, the significance of my being chosen is that you are not. “I am in and you are out,” we say, and call it grace.
But Nouwen encourages us with a better way:
“We touch here a great mystery: To be chosen does not mean that others are rejected….Instead of excluding others, it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice.”
Here are the headwaters of the spring of life. A pure source of love that precedes all of our best and worst efforts, or the judgements and evaluations of the world upon us. This is where we hear the Father call the Son, “Beloved,” before any trials in the wilderness or ministry miracles. This is where we hear the Father call us Jedidiah, loved by God, before we can do anything to earn or lose His favor.
It’s from this vantage point that we can get a clear view on teachings of election and foreknowledge in scripture. From here we can see how the love of God is poured out like a life-giving river on all of creation, and we can fathom the magnitude of Paul’s teaching that through Christ, God was reconciling all things to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven (Colossians 1:19-20). We can see that Paul’s discourse on sovereign potters and wild olive trees is his attempt to explain how tribalism has come to an end, all have been brought to the threshold of mercy in the light of the risen sun (Romans 9-11). And Peter names his exiled brethren a chosen race as an invitation into Israel’s rich heritage as the people of God, chosen in order that they might “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
The truth of your chosenness is what makes the gospel of grace good news.
You are loved.
“When you lose touch with your chosenness,” Henri writes, “you expose yourself to the temptation of self-rejection, and that temptation undermines the possibility of ever growing as the Beloved.”
When we listen to the lie of self-rejection, we start trying to take control, turning Kingdom culture into law and fighting against Divine grace. Henri offers us three strategies to avoid this path.
1. “Keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive,” and dare to believe the truth of your Belovedness even when you don’t feel it.
2. “Keep looking for people and places where your truth is spoken and where you are reminded of your deepest identity as the chosen one.”
3. “Celebrate your chosenness constantly….Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an “accident”, but a divine choice.”
In a sentence: gratitude for, and fellowship in, the truth of our Belovedness will strengthen us against the lie of self-rejection. This is how we learn to trust in our Belovedness, which frees us to experience God’s “all-embracing, non-comparing love and feel safe, not only with God, but also with all our brothers and sisters.”
“The great spiritual battle begins – and never ends – with the reclaiming of our chosenness.” (Nouwen)
It’s a lifelong battle against a relentless world, but there is a light on the horizon and hope rides on its back.
I would love to hear your story of how you discovered and claimed your own chosen identity. Leave a comment and sign up for our newsletter below. You can also join us on Facebook at On Journey Together.
Thank you for being part of the journey. Buen Camino, my friends.
To the end, to the truth.