Instructor's book: Inadequacy is a gift from God

Sean McGever, an instructor for the College of Theology and the Honors College, wrote “The Good News of Our Limits” after struggling with his own sense of inadequacy.

Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau

You probably will not remember every word of this story.

You most certainly won’t read it in five seconds.

God didn’t make you to be that proficient. And that’s a beautiful thing.

GCU President Brian Mueller wrote the book’s foreword.

Such is the sentiment of “The Good News of Our Limits,” the new book by Dr. Sean McGever, a College of Theology and Honors College instructor at Grand Canyon University and a longtime leader in Young Life.

Subtitled “Find Greater Peace, Joy, and Effectiveness through God’s Gift of Inadequacy,” this quick read has multiple tie-ins to GCU.

The foreword is by GCU President Brian Mueller, who told of how he struggled to limit his choices down to one college major – education – rather than try to “do it all.”

In the acknowledgments, McGever credits the GCU students in his Honors Christian Worldview and Systematic Theology 2 classes last year for helping him finalize the book, including the cover and subtitle.

The most poignant example of McGever’s theme was when he watched a graduation ceremony at Pinnacle High School, where he leads the Young Life ministry and coaches freshman basketball, and realized how few students, in his mind, he actually had influenced.

He felt as if he wasn’t doing enough and was disappointing God. He had a lot of relationships but wasn’t sure how good of a friend he was being:

“It was a bit of a guilt trip, just to be honest. Then I said, ‘This can’t be right.’ I started to do some internal work and realized that voices outside of me, whether they knew it or not, were making me feel like I did need to do more, at all times.”

Then he looked at his GCU students and saw the same thing:

GCU students had a hand in deciding on the book's cover and subtitle.

“They’re constantly stressed out. Most of my classes are in the Honors College. These are high achieving students. I’ve always been so impressed by their capacities. But they’re among the most stressed people I know. It’s not a commentary on them. They’re just human.

“People who tend to be like these Honors students can be quite efficient, very high functioning, and yet still feel like they are never good enough or couldn’t do enough.”

McGever’s book does not create excuses for performing poorly. It does not advocate giving less than your best.

It simply urges Christians, in classic “let go, let God” fashion, to give up on the idea that they are all they need.

“Did God really make us to live in that space where we never think we’re enough? And the answer is yes,” he said. “That’s not a bad thing. I think that, as a Christian, that should force me to my knees to say, ‘I’m not God. And so I need to look to You. You’re God. You’re the Creator. You created me this way.’

“What I found was really life-giving.”

One of McGever’s observations in the book is how Jesus wasn’t in contact with that many people and didn’t travel that far during His time on earth. Yet that was enough.

McGever certainly hasn’t lacked for trying, either. He has worked for Young Life for 20 years, taught at GCU for 10 years and coaches freshman basketball at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix.

The book is easy to read and gets to the point quickly.

He has learned that he can’t be everywhere or do every project. He can be in only one place or do one project at one time. But it still is an emotional tug-of-war.

“I think God wants us to trust Him more with people,” he said. “As I think back to my basketball team or my students here at GCU, I know God loves them more and is more active than I ever could be.

“So I’m trusting them to God. That’s the battle I face: Do I trust God enough to let go?”

McGever writes passionately about golf in the book, and for good reason: He’s a 7 handicap who graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and once played the famed Old Course there four times in one day, thanks to a play-as-much-as-you-want student pass he bought.

And he’s not done writing passionately about theological dilemmas. He’s under contract for two more books and previously published “Born Again: The Evangelical Theology of Conversion in John Wesley and George Whitefield.”

He hopes readers of his new book will have a simple takeaway:

“Have a higher view of God and a more realistic view of yourself.”

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


Related content:

GCU Today: Jesus is your problem-solver, McGever tells Chapel

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Jesus taught his disciples, saying: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

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