The other night, wrapped in one of my dad’s oversized sweaters, I had some much-needed introvert time. I found myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom with a peppermint mocha and some Christmas-themed worship music, flipping through old journals. I came across the following words from the middle of my senior year of highschool:
“One day, I’m going to sit in eternal fellowship in Heaven and I’m afraid I won’t have any glorious stories to tell.” February 23, 2013
The truth that there won’t be any sin, crying, identity-issues, or comparison in Heaven (Revelation 22:3-6) didn’t stop my heart from questioning it’s worth before both the Lord and other believers. What was I doing and was it enough? Was I enough? Was I living in the fullness of the extraordinary life that everyone talks about having in Jesus? Because writing papers, meeting with middle schoolers at Starbucks once a week, and trying to keep up with a blog that no one really reads didn’t feel like enough. Depending on the Lord looked like my trusting him in small things and I just wasn’t convinced that a story of his faithfulness in having grace with my siblings or building new friendships was what someone was looking for on a testimony night.
But then I came across this article.
Have you ever heard of Bert Elliot? Me neither. He’s the brother of the missionary Jim Elliot. I was surprised that I’d never heard of Bert, given my admiration for Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. Honestly, there’s a chance I wouldn’t even be at Wheaton College if it hadn’t come up while I was reading The Journals of Jim Elliot the summer before my senior year. The Lord has used their stories and books to shape me in some pretty formative ways.
You can imagine I was pretty curious about this mysterious Elliot brother. Why had I never come across him? Because he was just an average guy who loved Jesus and his family and his neighbor. Nothing spectacular. Not the kind of thing they write books about or dramatize on the Big Screen. The article summed it up this way:
“In the kingdom of God, there is a great need for streaking meteors, but most of us won’t be that . . . There is a great need for people willing to stand in the midst of the boring, convinced that there is no such thing as ordinary when you follow an extraordinary God.”
So, after reading this article, I spent the next few days wrestling. I looked back on the posture of my heart in 2013 and found myself digging up remnants of the same insecurity, while trying to rest in the truth of Scripture and testimonies of faithful, unknown people like Bert Elliot. And then, with the most unlikely of analogies, something clicked.
You probably didn’t know this about me, but I played powderpuff football this year for our Junior Class. I was drafted (aka they had to find a spot on the team for me) as an offensive line-woman for the 2015 powderpuff football game.
Trying to recall everything my dad had taught me about football before our coach walked over, I realized pretty quickly that I knew nothing about the line. I knew they hit people, but that was about it. I could name quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. Maybe even a few kickers or safeties. But I was drawing a blank when it came to the line. Honestly, what did they even do?
Yet as we ran drill after drill, I began to see the importance behind the job I’d been given. When the coaches called a pass play, if I didn’t hold the defense back, the quarterback would be at best under pressure and at worst, sacked. We were responsible for giving our QB the most valuable thing in the game: time. People weren’t there to watch us. No one would remember our blocks. We weren’t making tackles, throwing winning plays, or scoring touchdowns. Memorable plays don’t have the names of the offensive line attached, but you better believe they wouldn’t have happened it we hadn’t made our blocks.
That was our job: make our block. Block the girl in front of you. Don’t let her get to the QB.
Make your block. It wasn’t an extraordinary job. But it’s what we were asked to do. We were asked to do it faithfully, play after play.
I think this is exactly what Jesus calls us to do too.
It reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
I’m reminded that the lot the Lord gives each of us looks different. Our stories will be different because the way Jesus is moving in each of our lives is different. We aren’t called to throw the football if we’ve been drafted for the line, just like Bert Elliot was not called to live the same life that his brother did. God’s faithfulness in my life may not look like thousands coming to Jesus or spectacular miracles, but that doesn’t make the stories any less about God’s faithfulness.
I don’t know where you are reading this.
Maybe you’re life looks a lot like playing quarterback or being a “Jim Elliot,” streaking meteor. Maybe God’s showing up in some pretty amazing ways and calling you to some radically transformative things. That’s amazing. We need your stories of dependance on the Lord and His provision in your life! Let the body of believers be encouraged by the stewardship of your talents.
But maybe that doesn’t describe your season, your calling, or your life. Maybe you are living a seemingly ordinary day-to-day faithfulness of dishes, homework, errands, laundry, phone calls, and deadlines. The life where taking the next step in obedience often goes unnoticed by those around you. But it doesn’t go unnoticed by the Lord. It isn’t insignificant to Him. Your life of dependance is amazing too. We need your stories. When His faithfulness looks like getting you out of bed in the morning with a smile or letting a dying car make it to the next appointment, it’s still His faithfulness. We can’t let our fear of not having “amazing stories” keep us from telling what are ultimately just the Lord’s stories.
He calls us to make the block that He’s put in front of us, that’s it. When we do, regardless of what it looks like or who saw it, the Lord smiles and whispers yet again to our hearts, “well done, good and faithful servant.”