Last week, the baby came home and said he’d been selected as the second grade representative to speak in chapel that week. A mixture of pride and terror came through when he shared the news.
For me, despite my intimate experience with terror at public speaking, I initially only focused on the pride. That’s great buddy, I’m so proud of you. It doesn’t matter how you do as long as you do your best. You’re a great reader and dad and I will be there to cheer you on.
I realized fairly quickly though he was close to backing out. He practiced on Tuesday with the other grade representatives and shared, he guessed “he’d do it” despite his misgivings.
Wednesday, I arrived early to get a front pew seat. He came in with a pale face and major anxiety etched across it. The head of school came over to share an encounter she’d had with him earlier in the week:
He told me, ‘You’ve picked the wrong man for the job.’ He said he wasn’t a good public speaker. I told him I was sure I’d picked the right person. So he said he’d do it. He practiced and practiced on Tuesday. I told him to stay as long as he liked.
I had no idea that conversation had unfolded.
He took his mark right on cue, read his lines, and beamed walking off the stage knowing he’d done it.
But boy was it hard.
And for the days leading up to it, he was sure he was the wrong man for the job.
The Bible is full of wrong men (and women) for the job.
- Moses: Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? (Exodus 3)
- Gideon: Pardon me, my lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. (Judges 6)
- Esther: All the king’s officials know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned… will be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. (Esther 4)
- Elijah: I have had enough, Lord, take my life. (1 Kings 19)
These stories make me feel a little better because I’ve felt like the wrong woman for the job lately. Not my work job. That job I’m loving and feel like I’m firing on all cylinders. But my life job. The job where I need to find the right balance of patient mom, encouraging wife, faithful friend, engaged church and community member, and giver to those with greater needs than mine.
That Job = Wrong Woman.
I have lots of stories I’d love to tell about the past couple weeks. Ways our family and our neighbors have tried to step back into a pattern. Community I’ve found which deeply nourishes the soul. Sadness which flies in from nowhere. Highs and lows.
This “I still care what people think” part of myself though keeps tripping over them when I take pen to paper. Why? A silly anonymous comment in our little corner of the blogosphere attacking me and my values.
There’s a line in Pretty Woman which always stuck with me, “The bad things are easier to believe.” If you’re struggling to believe you’re the right man or woman for the job, then someone saying something negative becomes pretty easy to latch onto. As if you can tell the universe, “SEE, I told you I’m the wrong person for the job!”
Here’s the good news. First, I remembered Jesus doesn’t speak to us in accusatory anonymous social media comments. Thank Heavens! He says we are loved and chosen and precious in His sight. Second, I remembered God called people knowing full well they were incapable of doing what He needed. It’s how He uses them most. Like our worst fears about ourselves and our biggest failings are the places God uses to shine through us the most.
You just have to be willing to walk up on stage. It’s not about the audience, or if there even is one. Certainly not about whether you know your lines or stumble over the words. It’s not about whether you’re pale and clammy stepping out into the place God needs you to be. It’s about being wrong for the job and accepting the assignment anyway.
So I’m going to write a couple of stories about sweet community this weekend. And I’ll finish up some of my funny tales about Mama Drama too. Plus, we’re going to return to Fashion Fridays next week. I’ve missed you all, friends. I’ve just been a little stuck.
Here’s to being the wrong person for the job: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12)