You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic. Brazos Press. 272 pages. 2022
This book, by a college professor of theological studies, focuses on the limits that are part of God’s original act of making us, which he called “good.” The book aims to help us discover the theological and pastoral significance of embracing the gift of being limited: it is just part of being human. The author takes time to carefully think about our creatureliness. This reveals limits, dependence, love, reliance on the grace of God, and worship. He tells us that finitude is an unavoidable aspect of our creaturely existence.
The author addresses a number of subjects in the book, among them are our union with Christ, humility, vulnerability, gratitude, lament, sleep, our bodies, physical touch, sin, time, the fear of the Lord, interconnectedness, our callings, and rest.
You’re Only Human is a thought-provoking book about our limitations as humans. I found it best to read the book slowly and take in the author’s ideas.
Here are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- God delights in you as you use the particular gifts he has given.
- God wants you to flourish as the particular you that you are, to enjoy his creation and to enjoy him. That is your calling and privilege as a particular human creature he made and delights in.
- A truly Christian spirituality must always also be a body-affirming spirituality.
- Our bodies and their inherent limits are a good gift from a good Creator.
- Our identity in Christ isn’t something apart from our cultures and backgrounds but rather his transformation of them as he brings us to himself.
- If you don’t see your own finitude as a gift and a way of appreciating the gifts of others, then all you see in others will be their problems and the ways they could be better.
- Humility is a distinctly biblical virtue because it begins with the knowledge that there is a good Creator Lord and we are the finite creatures he made to live in fellowship with him.
- We can happily praise people, because such praise recognizes God’s own work.
- Anxiety whispers in your ear not that you are a good creature made by God but that you are insignificant, a disappointment, even a failure.
- God has consistently been concerned with process and not merely with a finished product.
- Only when we live in our interconnectedness will we stop belittling those with “secular” vocations who honor Christ as painters and teachers, as landscapers and homemakers, as politicians and software engineers. Rather than disparage someone else’s work, we can see it as part of the whole, and thus we are liberated to really celebrate all manner of vocations and labor.
- Whether you buy or sell, use pens or the plow, tend the hearth or the child, each is enabled to use their labor to honor God and for the common good.
- A healthy view of our finitude allows us to step back, take a breath, and think about the importance of different seasons in life, the rhythms of our bodies and our days, our months, and our years.
- Different times of life bring different callings.
- Recognizing one’s vulnerability before God and others is fundamental to a Christian understanding of being human.
- God has made us dependent on his good work and gifts in others, so that affirming those gifts and encouraging them is no more than a realistic approach to life.
- Lament and gratitude are mirror concepts that highlight the same fundamental truth: we are dependent on the God who rescues us. Only when we accept our creaturely finitude will this make sense to us.
- Sleep is a spiritual discipline that daily reminds us of our lack of control.
- Sleep is an act of faith. It requires us to see our finitude as a good part of God’s design for us.
- We were designed not only to work but also to rest, just as God rested after six days of creative work.