Friday, June 13, 2008

Used

When Chris asked me to speak at The Mix, in the back of my mind, I had hoped he would do the majority of writing the message. After all, he speaks almost weekly and has much more experience with communicating God's word to large groups of people.

After being married to him for almost six years, you would think I would have known how this would go down, though.

See, Chris loves to empower others to succeed. He is known for putting the ball in someone's court and allowing them to determine what to do with it. Although he is there to offer guidance and support, he is a firm believer in allowing people to grow and flourish in challenging opportunities. He thrives on seeing God develop strength and character in those underneath his leadership.

Not only did he NOT write my message, he also selected me to speak on an "open" week, where topic choice was entirely up to me. The only direction he gave me was, "Wait on God. He will lead you to the message He wants you to teach."

And so I waited.

And waited and waited and waited some more....

Until two weeks before I was slated to speak, I awoke in the middle of the night with an indescribable assurance that my message would be titled, "Used" and it would entail something about an unlikely leader. And as thankful as I was that God had given me a title, I had absolutely no idea of the content or direction He wanted me to pursue. Not to mention, who was the unlikely leader and what on earth did that have to do with used?

Twenty-five minutes is a long time to stand on a stage, staring blankly at 400 high school students, with nothing to communicate, but a title and an unnamed, unlikely leader. Amen?

Thankfully, God wasn't done with my message just yet. At Bible study a few days later, we were learning about God's Will. The lesson had absolutely nothing to do with him, but the speaker briefly mentioned, something about "The unlikely leader, Gideon."

I about jumped out of my seat as if God had shouted through a megaphone right into my ear.

Now, I wish I could say that my Old Testament knowledge is so vast that I immediately knew the exact story the Lord wanted me to communicate, but the only thing I could recall of Gideon was something to do with him blowing a horn. And I'm pretty sure I pictured him in some type of band, rocking out while tooting his solo.

Not exactly Biblically sound truth.

But when I reread his story in the Judges 6 and 7, it was crystal clear why God had pointed me to this man. Although Gideon was an unlikely leader, a man with some serious junk in his past, God used him to conquer more enemies than any other person in the entire Bible.

Now, don't get me wrong, it was a rocky road to submission. God reduced his army from 32,000 men to just 300. Gideon wasn't even 100% convinced or confident in his abilities, despite God assuring him of victory. In fact, he tested God repeatedly and questioned if he was even worthy to serve. He was scared and unsure God could use him in the battle.

But regardless, Gideon was WILLING to fight anyway.

When I think of the word willing, I think of a man named E. King Gill. As you know, I am an Aggie and A&M is a school rich in tradition. In 1922, one of the most famous of those traditions was born, the 12th man. An underdog Aggie football team was playing the nation’s top ranked team (and I feel the need to clarify that it was not U.T.) Because of injury after injury, the Aggies were forced to dig deep into their reserves.

Everyone begin to get nervous if they would even have enough players to finish the game. So, the head coach called Gill, a former team member, out of his seat in the stands. E. King Gill suited up and stood ready on the sidelines the rest of the game. Later, he was quoted as saying, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I didn’t. I simply stood willing in case the team needed me.”

Because of Gill’s example, today the entire student body at A&M (known as the 12th man) stands the whole game to show their support and willingness to be called on if needed. Now, can you imagine the fear and doubt that must have been going through Gill’s mind as he waited on those sidelines? But, regardless, he stood willing.

As a Christ follower, I can be honest with God about my doubt. It’s OK to say, “Lord, I am afraid…But I am willing!.”; “I am unsure…But I am willing!”; “I am overwhelmed,…But I am willing!” If you are like me, you can take comfort in knowing that we don’t have to be 100% confident or convinced to be willing. In fact, nowhere in Scripture did I read that Gideon shouted, “YES! I am pumped my army has been reduced to nothing! What are we waiting for? Let’s go kick some serious tail!”

But you know what? He did it anyway.

Despite the fact that Gideon was slow to be convinced, he was both chosen by and dependent on God. He got over looking at his past defeats and personal insecurities and simply seized the opportunity to be used.

Gideon was slow to be convinced, but he ACTED on his convictions. Too many times I have been slow to be convinced, putting God off for this reason or that. But Jesus continues to ask me, will you ACT on your convictions? He continues to present me with brand new opportunities to be used on a daily basis. As unsure as he may have felt, Gideon went forward with what the Lord called him to do and the Lord honored his willingness.

God did (and continues to do!) the same thing for me.

*Thank you, Chris, for not robbing me of knowing more of God's faithfulness in this speaking opportunity. By offering nothing more than guidance and support, you allowed me to grow and flourish, being totally dependent on Him. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to practice what I preach.

3 comments:

Liz*** said...

I'm so proud of you, Brit! Way to get out of your comfort zone and be obedient!

David said...

You are a blessing to me and I KNOW you are to those sweet students! Can't wait to see you next week!
Love,
Keri

demetria said...

so encouraging, brittani. thanks for sharing and i admire your conviction to follow God in this new area of "speaking publicly". you know. . . you've really been encouraging people for a long time now, anyway, by using your blog. i think it's cool how God has you simply speaking a little louder now. . . in front of people and not just the computer screen.