In life, do you ever feel like you’ve been benched by God? Like you’re sitting on the bench watching everyone else playing the game, being used by God? Like you’re sitting on the sidelines, screaming, “Put me in, Coach!”?
Pretty much all the time.
Last week, serving in Mexico, was an exception. For a week, even if things were very different than I expected, I felt used by God. I felt like I was actually part of the team, playing the game, even scoring a point or two. Like God had looked over at the bench and yelled, “Adams! You’re up!”
“Me? Adams is a pretty common last name. Did You mean someone else, Coach?”
“Quit foolin’ around, Adams, and get out on the field! And hustle!”
Oh, it felt awkward, like my shoes were the wrong size and I put on the wrong uniform. Like I didn’t know the plays and I was running in the wrong direction sometimes. Like I didn’t even know the language of the sport.
But I was in the game, and that was awesome!
Then I came home.
And I felt benched again.
And the screaming started again. “Put me in, Coach! … Please!”
Rather than waking up before my 6:30 AM alarm clock, filled with anticipation and excitement for the day, I’m back to sleeping the morning away because I have no sense of purpose.
My prayer journal is filled with “What now?” and “How are you going to use me here?” and “I want to do big things for you, God.”
I think this internal dialogue of mine points to a lie about the Christian life that has taken root in my heart and is producing some rotten fruit.
Somewhere along the way, I got it into my head that there are people who are really being used by God in big ways and people who are just sitting and waiting to be called into the game.
Oh, I would have never admitted that. I would have told you that God is using all His people in all their circumstances at all times for good. And then I would have quoted Scripture to you to prove I really believed that.
The fruit of my life is what points to the lie. It was the feeling that going on a mission trip meant God had decided to use me. It was the feeling that this season of my life isn’t offering me many opportunities to be used by God (because, you know, other seasons of life have plenty of built-in opportunities). It was the feeling that surely God using me looks different than THIS.
That last sentence points to another lie I’ve rooted myself in: my plans are better than God’s plans. Again, I wouldn’t admit to that lie. I would tell you wholeheartedly that I believe God’s plans are WAY better than mine, and I would point you to Isaiah 55:8-9. But I haven’t been living that way. I’ve been living a discontent, foot-stomping life that says, “God, I know better than You do.”
It’s interesting to me that in Mexico, God revealed these lies to me. While I was there, He dealt with me and reminded me that seemingly insignificant things could have a big impact eternally. He reminded me that my expectations don’t always line up with His plans. I felt like I was making progress, embracing His plans rather than my expectations.
Then I came home, and the lies are still there. I’m screaming, “Put me in, Coach!” louder than ever.
So, I know many of you were praying for us on our trip, and I’m so thankful for you! If you’d like to continue praying for me, this would probably be my number one request. Pray that I would be faithful in all things, seemingly big or small. Pray that I would spend time in God’s Word and in prayer and that He would replace the lies with truth. Pray that God would help me remember each day that there isn’t a distinction among Christians. We’re all in the game – our plays just don’t all look the same.