The Beauty of Walking with a Limp

I took inspiration for this blog post from Albert Tate’s message at the Global Leadership Summit 2020 about walking with a limp. You can find notes from his session here

Our world is engaged in a lot of tough conversations. We stumble through highly charged discussions on race and policing and protests and fight through mandates on masks and social distancing. We stand on our pedestal called social media and shout at the top of our lungs—“I’m right. You’re wrong!” 

Celebrities and politicians and our next-door neighbor and our family members and our friends. Everyone. 

Everyone is using whatever influence they have to sway others to listen to what we believe is true. Disunity and division and disfunction become the weeds that choke out the life of our friendships and relationships and joy. 

And here’s what I think. 

I think our world needs less of this. We need a little less of the guy on the internet shouting through a megaphone and the woman posting and re-posting and sharing in an attempt to convince someone she has no control over. We need a little less of our broken human selves right now.  

Broken Humanity

Friend, hear me. I love humans. We’re weird and quirky and broken and beautiful. I love humans, and I believe in humanity. We try to fight for what is right and give a voice to those with none. I believe that God made us in His Image, and as a follower of Jesus, this changes everything. This molds and shapes my thoughts about my neighbors, my friends, my family members. It’s the lens through which I try to see strangers in the grocery store and people I will never meet halfway around the world.

But on our own, we are broken. Our hearts are bent and bruised. We are selfish and divisive and jealous. On our own, we fall back on wisdom that’s flawed and damaging. We forget that the Father created us from dust. We forget who He is and who we are.

A Case Study in Limping

In Genesis 32, we see this wild and beautiful story. It’s the story of Jacob—a man known for his schemes and selfishness and pride. He was a fighter who got what he wanted. He didn’t know what it meant to lose, and he forgot that God is God, and he is not. 

The night before Jacob faced his past—mistakes and missteps, moments he acted on foolishness disguised as wisdom—Jacob encountered God. And this fighter wrestled the Father until He dislocated Jacob’s hip, yet Jacob wouldn’t let go of God. Even in his defeat, Jacob demanded that God bless him. 

And God did. 

As the story goes, the Father gave Jacob a new name. After this encounter, people knew Jacob as Israel, but that night, something else was different.

Israel walked with a limp. 

This limp was a reminder—not of Israel’s loss, his failure, his defeat in a wrestling match with God. Instead, it was a physical reminder of the grace of the Father. It was a reminder of who God is and who Israel is. It was a mark of sacred humility and love. 

Walking with a Limp

This is what we need more of. 

We need limping leaders, limping people. This limp isn’t from pride disguised as humility. It’s not from negative self-talk and self-degradation. It comes from genuine humility—from encountering the Father. It’s a reminder of the grace He gives over and over again. We don’t need more megaphones. We need people with the humility to say, “Our world needs both of our ideas. I want to create space for yours. Will you create space for mine?” 

Left to our own devices, we start wars and push away those closest to us when we can’t agree. We rely on our own wisdom, thoughts and opinions, and these also need to collide with the Father. They need to wrestle with God and encounter the grace that covers our brokenness.

Encountering the Divine

I am not God, and neither are you. We desperately need to come face to face the Father—even if that means wrestling with Him, asking Him questions, leaning into our doubts. And our thoughts and opinions and experiences need to encounter Him too, because no amount of human wisdom compares to the divine, sacred, loving wisdom of our Father. 

Friend, our world desperately needs limping leaders, limping people, limping Image Bearers who deeply, personally know the One who created them. 

These are days to fight for what is right—to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. And these days are ones to walk with a limp—to walk with humility and kindness and love and truth. May we take as much time to wrestle with and encounter the Father as we do to shout from our pedestals. 

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