Hi. My name is Emily, and I’m a benchwarmer. To be more precise, I’m a spectator. The closest I’ve come to playing any sport was that one semester in sixth grade when my P.E. teacher made me play basketball. Suffice it to say my team did not win the tournament. I’m pretty sure I faked injury after the first two games and spent the next few days keeping the bleachers company and avoiding the suspicious gaze of the coach. Not an athlete, this one.
So it’s slightly ironic that as I write this I’m watching the Olympics, mesmerized by each sport and the dedicated champions who dominate their field. There’s nothing like the summer Olympics to make one feel slothful, unaccomplished, and just plain mediocre, am I right?! And yet, there’s something so inspirational about seeing a human being use the talent they’ve been given to its fullest potential. That’s what draws me back in every four years.
I find myself similarly stirred when I catch a glimpse of someone I know personally doing what they were created to do. My soul leaps when I witness 1 Peter 4:10-11 in action. I am overwhelmed sometimes with the level of expertise that surrounds me. From amazing mothers to wisdom-filled teachers; creative geniuses to faithful prayer warriors; spirit-filled worship leaders to selfless behind-the-scenes operators. It’s a captivating and beautiful thing when a daughter of the King knows her calling and steps into it skillfully and with true humility.
My sixth grade self would never have guessed it, but this benchwarmer has also found a spot on God’s team. I’m still one of the most unathletic people on the planet, but I’m ok with that now.
I’m realizing my own divinely-appointed gifts.
I’m better now than I used to be at claiming and affirming what God has uniquely placed in me.
I’m through with comparisons that leave me enviously wishing my own talent away in exchange for someone else’s.
So here’s my take on life:
The happiest people I know are the ones who have unreservedly stepped into their calling. Christ is most glorified when the abilities He places in each of us are used in service to Him.
Take some time to discover your unique gifts. Find ways to use them – not to bring honor and attention to yourself, but to share God’s message with others. When you notice someone exquisitely shining for Jesus, make sure you give them props – their success does not equal your failure.
Whether you’re an elite Olympian or more of a benchwarmer, there is a place for you on the field of life. Don’t live the life of a spectator when the Father’s desire is to add you to His starting lineup.