It was the big day.
I had practiced, stretched, learned the routine forward and backward.
I was ready.
As ready as an awkward chubby little 5th grader can feel on the day of cheerleading try-outs.
It was on. I was confident.
My mom tore a hole in the paper that covered the window where the try outs would happen so she could watch me do my thang. What a good mama. She wanted to watch on as I razzled-and-dazzled those judges.
I remember standing at the door waiting on them to call my name.
And then, they did.
It was all the “woos” and cart wheels and round offs and spirit fingers. I did my entire routine without even taking a breath. Adrenaline was pumping. I smiled at the judges, maybe even gave a little wink.
I watched their faces as I performed looking for their shock-and-awe over my obvious cheerleader-in-my-DNA skill that was on display for them.
I crushed it.
So you can understand my absolute and utter dismay over walking up to the posted list of new cheerleaders for the school year and not seeing my name.
I could not understand this. There was no explanation.
Until my mom sat me down and gave me the very clear explanation.
I had done my ENTIRE TRY OUT backwards that day.
Back to the judges, facing away from them.
How you ask? How could I be fully convinced I was staring at them, and winking and doing all the grinning?
In all my “woos” and spirit fingers and cartwheels and round-offs I had gotten turned around backwards.
I could see the judges…
In the mirror.
I remember replaying the entire thing in my mind in a complete shock-and-awe of my own.
I can’t imagine how those sweet judges didn’t fall out of their chairs laughing as I COMPLETELY HAMMED IT UP AND WINKED AT THEM AND CONFIDENTLY RALLIED ALL THE WAY BACKWARDS THE ENTIRE TIME.
Bless it Jesus. Bless my heart to the moon and back a thousand times.
Needless to say, I did not make the cut.
How often do we determine that we don’t make the cut?
How often do we disqualify ourselves?
When Jesus begs us to follow Him, how often do we replay our mistakes and sin, our brokenness and ugliness, over and over again in our mind in complete embarrassment and shame?
How many times do we leave the presence of God determining that we’re not good enough, not clean enough, not equipped, not capable, not lovable?
All this talk about changing the world, impacting lives, being a true follower of Jesus, that’s for the rest of the group that surely has it together more than you do.
“I am not worthy, I am too jacked up, too messy, too new to this faith thing. I’m not qualified, not disciplined enough, not good enough.”
Well friend. Jesus has an answer to this.
His disciples, you know the 12 dudes He chose to change the entire world, will put these lies to rest.
Did you know that in Jesus’s time, He was not the only rabbi? (I did not know this)
Rabbis were religious teachers and young jewish boys dreamed of following a rabbi. It was the ultimate achievement.
They would study their entire early lives, memorize the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) forward and backward. They would study that rabbi’s teaching so much that they could quote it verbatim.
Then, as pre-teens they would appear before their rabbi of choice and they would essentially “try out” to be a follower.
They would strut their stuff, show their knowledge and eloquently present themselves as the best follower this rabbi would ever have. They would put on display their follower-in-my-DNA skills and pray that they did enough.
If they were chosen they could then follow that rabbi. Only the best of the best made the cut. No performing backwards allowed in this arena.
If they weren’t chosen, if they didn’t make the cut, they would head into the world and work a family trade, like fishing or tent making.
The cream of the crop would follow their rabbi. The not-so-cream-of-the-crop would fish.
“Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Matthew 4:18-22 (MSG)
The first disciples that Jesus called were fishermen. It was their regular work.
What does that mean?
It means that they more than likely didn’t make the cut. They had resigned to a trade.
They weren’t the elite, the best, the brightest.
But they were Jesus’s choice.
Jesus, the only Rabbi that truly mattered, the savior of the entire world, God-wrapped-in-flesh, set his sights on those fishermen.
They were His choice because it would be nothing of their merit that would change the world. It would be Jesus who would, through them, rock the boat with an offensively radical love.
He chose to use the ones that didn’t make the cut.
He could have chosen anyone, and He chose them.
He chose them because He wanted them to be like Him. Not know about him, or know of Him, not work for him or learn from him…but be LIKE Him. He believed that they could.
You, friend, are His choice. He has chosen you.
You are qualified simply because He has called you.
He believes that you can be like Him.
He delights in choosing the weak, the broken, the jacked up, because through them He gets the ultimate glory. Where we are weak, He shines all the brighter.
He desires vessels that need to be filled with Him to be of any worth.
He loves to use the rag-tags. I know this because He has used me.
So stop asking questions, stop making excuses, stop disqualifying yourself.
Drop your nets, the things that remind you that you’re not good enough, that you don’t make the cut, and follow Him.
You are His choice, friend.
What an honor to follow a Rabbi like that?
Read more about disciples and Jesus at That the World May Know Ministries: