Being Placed in Your Office Part 7


This series has been interrupted for a few months by my peripatetic lifestyle, but I am finally back at it.  This blog explores the last of the six marks of personhood.

After this one, I will explore what role an individual has to take in the process of being placed in this office and what is up to God or others.  But first, the sixth marker.

One of the most defining marks of personhood is a belief in the potential of a person and a celebration of that potential before it is revealed, as well as while it is being unpacked.

When my granddaughter, Samantha, was born we knew next to nothing about her potential.  However, considering what I know about her father and mother, I had every reason to expect that she would be more rather than less, complex rather than simple, highly focused rather than a drifter, a builder not a consumer.

Now, as a point of fact, we did not KNOW that she would be any of these things, but the very fact that we assumed great things for her (whether she achieves them or not) was a loud proclamation of her personhood.

As she has grown, the conversations between her parents and grandparents have consistently been about each little thing that might reveal a clue about what the treasure in her might be.

Again, we don’t need to be right in our guesses.  The very fact that we ASSUME she is special and eagerly examine the clues for validation of our theories is a mark of her personhood.

Recently Stephanie bought some colored plastic magnetic letters which she placed on the refrigerator door in reach of her daughter.

We, of course, see those as a means to communicate.  Samantha saw them as a random mess to be sorted out and stored.  So she systematically gathered up the red ones and hid them in one room, the blue ones in a separate stash, etc.

From that we suspect that she is a categorizing kind of person, and that color will be important to her.  Is that a valid conclusion from one little vignette?  Who knows?  Check back in ten years and we will have a better answer.

But the fact that the adults in her world are constantly comparing notes on her behavior and making extrapolations based on the clues is a statement of her value as a person.

So far, she has not contributed much in a tangible sense (other than great joy) to the world around her.  But because she is a person, we embrace the potential she has, before it becomes monetized or fungible.

It is normal through childhood to have frequent, varied confirmations of potential.  When Dad buys a bicycle for you or when the teacher says you would do well in the school play, those are comments which envision your potential before it is unpacked.

Marriage is a huge statement of personhood as each individual envisions the other as being worth discovering over a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the validation of personhood tends to dwindle rapidly in our adult culture.

When you apply for a job, it is often a dehumanizing process as the application form is designed to surface all of your wrong choices and everything you failed to do for yourself or for others along the way.  You are for the most part, simply a possible future economic unit, not a person, when you apply for a job.

How often has an application form asked you about areas of untapped potential in your design or expressed an interest in helping you become fully yourself, on company time?  It happens, but it certainly is not the norm.

Few social encounters lend themselves to celebrating potential that is not yet manifest, yet occasionally it happens.

In the checkout of the grocery store the other day, I had an odd assembly of ingredients.  The clerk asked what I was going to fix.  As I explained that it was an experimental venture, she expressed confidence that I would be able to find a way to do the complex part well.

Hearing spontaneous expressions of belief in our ability is not very common for most of us.

There is one area where both God and other people indirectly express belief in our untapped potential and that is through the hard jobs they give us.

When your boss gives you the challenging job, it might be because he is mad at you, but it could also be because he thinks you are the most capable person on the team to solve this particular conundrum.

Similarly, I have learned over the past that when God sends me to do something that I don’t know how to do it is simply because He knows I have the potential within me, and He is using this situation to unpack that portion of me I have never developed before.

It is simply amazing how often He believes in me.

Copyright January 2012 by Arthur Burk

From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim

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16 Responses to Being Placed in Your Office Part 7

  1. Lorena says:

    “…when God sends me to do something that I don’t know how to do it is simply because He knows I have the potential within me, and He is using this situation to unpack that portion of me I have never developed before.”

    This makes me think of the adventure of parenting – my husband and I currently have four children, 10, 9, 6, and 2 – and how impossible some of the demands have seemed at times …. and yet, how vital they have been to the process of our growing up.

    “I will explore what role an individual has to take in the process of being placed in this office and what is up to God or others.” — Just wondering if this exploration is blogged yet or if it is still maturing like a fine wine. Personal vs. divine responsibility is something I’ve thought a lot about in the past few years, and I would benefit from clear Biblical teaching on it.

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  2. Sonia says:

    Arthur and everyone who will read this,
    I want to share a glory story with you.
    Last night I had a dream what revisited some of the conflict recently in my immediate family. I asked the Lord for the interpretation this morning. I was astounded as to what He told me.
    There was an image of what a godly husband looked like in our generation family. It had been propagated through religion. When the women in our family desired to stand on truth and challenge areas that were not godly, they were attacked by a spirit of terror. They were not allowed to change the channel on the television per say or even damage the television or antenna’s. The tv was a metaphor for the projection of this false image of a godly man. I repented of this for both the women who trusted in this image, didn’t challenge or who did challenge and succumbed to attack. I also repented for the men who partnered with the enemy to uphold this image and kept passing it on generationally. It was incredible!
    My sister’s son also had a disturbing dream last night. He is 4 yrs. old and part his dream was this image already being handed down to him and operant in his life. We repented together, my sister and I and asked Father to destroy every device, structure, agreements, words, the image. It was awesome!!
    What incredibly surprised me was Father’s desire to restore those godly men in our generational line to their offices; husband, father, leader, etc. He said now ask me to raise them to their office. We did and we are excited and look forward in joy to see what Father is going to do with the men in our family. Yahoo! There were many! They were there but had been hidden due to the image.
    Absolutely amazing and have continued to celebrate our Father today!

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  3. Amy says:

    I am borrowing a quote from someone else. When I read your blog posts, Arthur, I often feel like a have just taken “a shower in gummy bears.” There’s something nourishing and FUN that happens in my spirit! Thanks for fathering me from afar. You are a treasure!

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  4. Christie says:

    This makes me realise that I need to more intentionally express to others the potential I see in them. Thank you.

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  5. I have been thinking recently about a relative who was adopted. His birth Mom was very young and we know next to nothing about his Dad. The family he was adopted into loves him very much. But even though I have been following these Office blogs, it struck me hard today how much this young man could be missing this most basic and foundational place of office. He was accepted and nurtured by his adoptive family, but what did it do to him to be rejected by the first? I seriously doubt that his birth Mom wanted to get pregnant.

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  6. Sonia says:

    Arthur thank you for your blog!
    I had learned an exercise from Aslan’s Place. I wrote the names of each personhood of the Trinity on a peace of paper and had each of my older children pick a place to put it in the house. We then took our notebooks or papers and went and sat with each one. We did this because I believed it was very important to tune into what Father has in store for us this year. I did not want to engage in any soulish new year’s resolutions. I want to synchronize with Him.
    It was incredible!!!! We are so excited and look into the new year with JOY! The boys who are six drew pictures of what they saw, our teenager received so much from each. My husband and I both received and heard much as well. As parents, we were able to rejoice in our children’s relationship growing with each: Abba Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
    Thank you so much for your materials Arthur, because of them we are able to hear them well. We were able to reconcile many things this last year and go into this new year with alot of Joy. We now believe truly that our life IS Father filtered. We heard you say it, we listened to your blessings, we did the work for reconciliation, to grow up, to trust, to challenge and to receive. It is so true!!!
    Thank you for this series on your blog, they have been well timed for us to receive of them and understand the process of what Father has been orchestrating individually in our lives and through our family.
    I bless you for believing that what he shares with you is also something for all of us Arthur. You have taught me that pain is redeemable.

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  7. Kathy says:

    If you have experienced an encouraging prophetic utterance, it is always a both confirmation of potential from Father and of your ability to get through the hard stuff that you have already gone through.

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  8. Jim Alseth says:

    One of the unfortunate realities of working in a large organization with layers of mostly slavish management above me is that when I’m given an assignment (always in addition to my regular duties), I can be relatively certain it’s not primarily because they believe in me or want to unpack treasure within me, but rather it’s the “delegating” of things off their overflowing plate.

    It’s at this point I must resist cynicism and realize it’s most likely an assignment from Father nonetheless. Knowing He believes in me makes all the difference in these instances, even when I’m not sure those above me really do.

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    • Arthur Burk says:

      Yup. When we believe that life is Father-filtered, it makes all the difference in the world. We can look past the humans and see the hand of God and His purposes.

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      • Vivienne says:

        Thank your for this, because right now I am experiencing an incrediblely high degree of pain and on yesterday, I was blown away at how my Abba Father once again broke me. I was in shock, but I am grateful for the reminder that this pain is good pain even though I had my dobuts on yesterday. It is very difficult to be in an environment where those around you see you as thinking that you are better than them becaue you understand that when you sell out to position and title you give up your birthright even though itay seem on the surface that you have achieved everything. I see the currepting of my soul as avicious cycle that will derail me and my children the way that my forefathers and foremothers did and we have paid a heavy penalty when we become intentional that we will not walk that way anymore.

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  9. Holt says:

    This morning I was reading in Revelation that twice is says that end-time people will need “patient endurance and faithfulness” to Jesus. The kind of honoring of personhood you describe seems like it would be foundational for the kind of person, one who can maintain patient endurance and faithfulness in the face of extreme difficulty.

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    • Arthur Burk says:

      Yes, Holt. One of the marks of a child is that he or she needs frequent reassurance of value and connectedness. Mom leaves for three hours and baby can be traumatized over the loss of connection. On the other hand, an adult can go to war and be separated from his spouse for a year and not lose the connection.

      Your observation about the Tribulation is one of the reasons I feel so strongly that there will be a release of a fathering revival (Mal. 4:6) before the Tribulation. I am not sure our unfathered generation would do too well in that kind of environment. However, the men and women who have met God in a profound, re-parenting way, would do better in that patient endurance.

      One generation before both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War God sent a great revival. I am not saying He was in favor of either war. I am simply saying that the generation of men and women who faced those hardships were different for having grown up with a profound exposure to God.

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  10. Deborah says:

    That is an incredible statement, “It is simply amazing how often He believes in me.” That statement necessitates that spend time with Father inquiring–listening. That is the second statement in three days that is taking me into a new place with Father. Thank You! Such a blessing to learn as we watch our grandchildren!

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  11. Teresa says:

    Arthur~
    Happy New Year!
    As always thank you for your wonderful wordsmithing…
    this message couldn’t have come at a better time
    I have been asking Father for some insight to my potentia
    and here is my answer… He believes in me – I just have to
    be in agreement with Him and believe in me too 🙂

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