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  • Writer's pictureSam Alvis

Embracing Your Humanity

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

With crossed arms, a scoff, and an attempt to suppress her grin, she stated: "You help me to embrace my humanity." Now, whether or not my client stated this as an insult, I took this as the best compliment I have ever received in my work as a counselor. As much as my client made this statement from a place of frustration and resistance, she also spoke it from a space of relief and gratitude. The audible sigh and visual drop of her shoulders helped to confirm the sense of permission she experienced.

How often do we (read: meaning even this author/counselor) try to "opt out" of our human condition? How often do we seek "solutions" to "remedy" our state of humanness?

For example, we seek questions to answers such as:

-How can I manage my time to be the most efficient and productive?

-What diet/food plan should I follow to maximize my body's potential and give me the body shape I want?

-What strategies/coping skills can I learn to minimize the impact of my emotions on my daily functioning?

READ: "How can I make my humanity less inconvenient?"

Hear me out- I'm not saying that it is wrong or even unwise to pursue the answers behind these questions. In fact, it is wise and good to seek to steward our resources, time, bodies, and hearts well.

However, I simply want to encourage you to look at the question underneath the questions; namely, the question that drives your desire to stuff down and make small all of what makes you human. A.K.A. your:

-Limitations (physical, emotional, cognitive, relational, spiritual, etc.)

-Dependence (physical, emotional, cognitive, relational, spiritual, etc.)

-Needs (physical, emotional, cognitive, relational, spiritual, etc.)

You get the picture.

Sadly, even the field of counseling and the role of the Church gets co-opted into the plan to find the way to opt out of our humanity. We offer therapeutic interventions and coping skills (again, good tools in-and-of-themselves) or mis-use sound Biblical wisdom (again, the Bible is very necessary in-and-of-itself) to help distressed clients and congregants to "overcome" their human condition (i.e. their grief, loneliness, anxiety, burnout, etc.).

I myself have been guilty of this. Do you know why? Here's a secret: I hate my own humanity. I despise my own limitations, dependencies, and neediness. (Here's a hint: if you encounter someone who tries to help you "opt out" of your own humanity, chances are that they are trying to do the same for themselves). It was until I learned the depths of my own disdain for my human condition that I was able to recognize the unintended message I was communicating to my own clients, friends, and family. And don't let me fool you: I have far from "arrived" to a place where I can fully embrace my humanity.

But the beauty of humanity is just that: the ability to be "in process" because there is One who has already arrived in the fullest sense. One who actually took on humanity Himself in order to redeem it. And One who actually wants to make you more human- as He intended- in His image, rather than to save you "out" of your humanity.

My hope is that you will seek the people and places that embrace your humanity, in all of its messiness and vulnerabilities. If you are looking for a therapeutic space to process your humanity, click on this link to schedule an initial free consultation to see if I'm the right, messy human for you.

Want to hear me process this idea further with someone who's much more theologically proficient than myself? Check out this podcast to hear more.

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