I am not good enough.
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
I am the least in my family.
“I will be with you.”
This is the story of Gideon, starting in Judges 6.
It also is my story.
If I choose to believe it.
An angel of the Lord called Gideon into battle. Instead, he found excuses. He hid. He wanted the angel to choose someone else, I’m sure.
Satan has told me this same lie for years, and I believed it. I’m not good enough. No one cares what I think. No one is listening, so why barge in?
Send someone else, God.
My thoughts don’t matter.
No one has ever actually told me that.
Why do I believe it’s true, then?
Because very few people try to draw me out, to seek my thoughts on an issue. It’s easy to remain unnoticed.
Sometimes, I don’t have anything to say. (I pick my battles, far fewer than many people do.)
Other times, I’ve thought about speaking up. Occasionally, I actually do.
But that’s why I write. It’s easier for me to share my thoughts with a keyboard than verbally.
My thoughts frequently are off the wall anyway. They would make you uncomfortable. I’m sure of it.
Iron sharpens iron, they say. But iron is hard. It hurts if someone gets hit with it.
So, like Gideon, I make excuses.
But sometimes, God speaks to me too, as He did to Gideon.
No more excuses, Gideon. I’ve got a plan for you.
Go do it.
“I will be with you.” (Judges 6:16)
Does God have a plan for me?
God talked with me over the weekend, several times. I attended a men’s retreat with about 40 men from our church.
Actually, it wasn’t a retreat. Our leader called it an “advance.” Men don’t retreat. We move forward.
Like Gideon did, despite his low self-esteem.
At one point during the weekend, I watched a Canada goose for 40 minutes. The goose swam peacefully on a small lake for awhile, then came ashore to find some breakfast.
Until one of our men walked past. As he approached, the goose sensed danger and retreated to the safety of the water. When the man continued on and the perceived danger was removed, the goose returned to the shore in search of breakfast.
This happened three times, as three men passed by, one by one.
Men are not supposed to retreat like this goose did. If we perceive danger, we are to face it.
Perhaps the danger is real. Perhaps not.
None of these men had any intention of harming the goose. In fact, all of them ignored it. Didn’t even notice what the goose was doing.
The goose didn’t understand that. It perceived danger, and removed itself.
We are men. God gave us minds and hearts to make sense of the world around us.
We are to live in the moment, not retreat from it.
We are to engage. We just might learn something. Or solve a problem.
Perhaps I might get hurt.
Or, possibly, a man and the goose might help each other. Companionship. Assistance finding breakfast, for example.
How do we know unless we engage?
At another point during the “advance,” God told me I need to change my heart towards two people in particular. A specific challenge.
With one person, I’m not good enough. I misunderstand and I’m misunderstood, because I don’t share my thoughts and feelings nearly enough.
I need to engage much more than I have done.
With the other person – who has developmental disabilities than make him unable to understand life the way I do – I need patience and love. He is an adult physically but not mentally. I should not expect him to respond as an adult should.
It’s hard to treat an adult with respect when he acts like a child. He is a child in an adult’s body.
Getting angry hasn’t solved anything yet. Frustration doesn’t work either.
One of our “advance” speakers challenged us to say yes to God, even when He asks us to do impossible things. And God will ask us to do impossible things because we are men, and we are given opportunities to glorify God – because we are worth that much to Him.
We are good enough, our speaker said. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
Despite our failures in the past.
This is the God we worship.
“I will be with you.”
On Saturday afternoon, seven of us men descended a couple of hundred steps (I didn’t count them, I’m guessing here) to the top of a beautiful waterfall that emptied into a gorge. We saw some flat rocks in the gorge that we could stand on, so we bushwhacked down the hill to reach them.
No steps or path there. It had rained the day before, so the leaf-covered hill was damp and a little muddy.
We descended anyway.
Once the first couple of guys started down the hill, the rest of us followed.
The waterfall was beautiful from down there. We hung out for a little while, enjoying nature’s beauty.
Eventually, we had to climb up. We joked about calling for a helicopter to rescue us, but that was a joke.
Grab a tree branch here and hope it holds my weight. Pull myself up. There’s a big root over there; I grabbed that next. My shoes got muddy and I got a scratch or two, but I made it up to the stairs.
All seven of us did.
It took us a minute to catch our breaths.
On my own, there’s no way I would have trekked that hill. Such a thought never would have crossed my mind. When the steps and the path ended, well, that’s where I stop.
See what men can do when we work together? Encourage each other? Push each other, even?
I’m not good enough.
Oh, yes I am.
Now that the “advance” is over, I need to live the rest of my life that way.
Those men won’t be with me day by day, but the living God is.
“I will be with you.”
I need to say yes to God.
Today. Moment by moment.
Let the adventure begin.