don’t leave me standing here on my own

if you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time around me, you’ve likely heard me make the joke that i’m awesome. it’s one that i make a lot and likely too much. when i was getting over the ex, i would make a daily status update that said something like, “in terms of getting back to awesome, i’m listed as day to day. hoping to be at full strength by next saturday.” yeah, it was as stupid as it sounds.

since high school, i’ve always said i was awesome. it’s normally a joke and i say it jokingly, but i know that it’s rubbed people the wrong way. a lot of people have thought that i was extremely cocky or a jerk. in fact, the girl thought for a long time that i was this really cocky person because i always made those jokes and she didn’t really know me to know that they were actually jokes.

being awesome has always been a front though, and i think that’s something i’ve never admitted.

you see, while i was saying that i was awesome, i never believed it. i always thought that i would do something or say something to screw whatever it is i was doing up. if i told enough people i was awesome enough times then maybe they would believe it.

being awesome was my coverup for thinking that i sucked.

for one reason or another, i always thought that i wasn’t good enough or smart enough or athletic enough or whatever. truthfully speaking, i likely wasn’t athletic enough but that’s a different story. there were some things that i truly was awesome at, but i never let myself believe that. i don’t know why i did that or what caused it, but that’s the way that i lived my life.

and because of that, i always feel extremely weird when i get compliments.

last night i spoke at fuel for the first time. i had been able to do all of the “ministry” things since i’ve been here except for teach at our corporate gathering. i’ve had the small one-on-one life lessons. i’ve hung out with students and been able to get to know them. i love doing all of that but i was itching to teach. teaching is in my blood and it’s something that i just love to do.

going into it, i didn’t really know what to expect. the thing that no one really knew was that when it came to speaking (or for you old people: preaching), i was a baby. i had only done it twice before. the first time was in front of about 100 old people at my home church. the other time was at a “youth service” at that same church in which there were about five students and 45 old people.

i’d never spoken to a group this large.

i’d never spoken to this many students at one time.

i’d never really done this before.

i went and prepared my talk in the way that i felt comfortable doing. when i had finished my outline, i sent it to one of my best friends to read. he said he liked it and thought it was good. thinking that there had to be something wrong with it, i sent it to a friend of mine that’s a youth pastor. once he said that he liked it, i thought that he must have overlooked it and sent it to another guy i knew that was a pastor. he said that he liked it too.

and i felt weird.

i didn’t know how to respond to them. i kept thinking that there had to be something wrong with it. something needed to be tweaked or changed.

going into wednesday night, i was pretty good. i wasn’t that nervous or anxious or anything. as i was standing there during our worship set, i heard this voice in my head that said, “you’re gonna be fine.” for someone that second guesses everything that they do, hearing that voice say that was a big thing.

i did the talk and thought everything went well. i thought that the students responded well and actually a little better than i expected. i thought that a student or two might come up and talk to me after because that’s just what students do.

what happened next blew me away.

as i was standing up front, i had a line of students come up to talk to me. and the crazy thing was they all had positive things to say. they waited in line to tell me that they enjoyed what i taught on or that they really learned something from it. then i had leaders do the same thing. then my phone started vibrating and i saw that kids were putting things on facebook about it.

i didn’t know how to respond.

i’d never received that type of positive feedback for anything i’d ever done before.

i did the only thing i knew to do. i responded to every single text message and every single facebook comment telling them thank you and that i really appreciated it. i know that me saying that to eight different people at the same time probably comes across as canned and unemotional but i really and truly did appreciate all of it.

i don’t say all of this to toot my own horn. that would be cocky and would be me being a jerk. i say it because of two things. first off it was incredible to experience and really felt great. second of all, and most importantly, it was a reminder that god could take someone that sucked and do something great out of it.

he can take someone who is awkward and doesn’t have the most self-confidence and use him to impact a group of students.

he can take someone with little to no experience in speaking and speak through him to reach a group of people.

and he can use those things to reassure that person that he made them for this purpose.

last night was great. i once again realized that god wired me the way he did for exactly the job that i am doing right now. he worked through me in a way that i had never experienced and would have never expected. if you were one of the people that took the time to compliment me or say something encouraging after, i can’t tell you how much i appreciate it. it really does mean the world to me.

here’s the deal though: i’m not the only person that thinks they suck that god can use. personally, i think he likes to use those of us that have doubts about ourselves the most. we are the people that know we can’t do it on our own and that if we do actually do something, the only way it’ll be worth anything is if god does it through us.

so what is it that you don’t think you are good enough to do?

what is it that you know that for it to work, god will have to do it through you?

most importantly though, what is it that’s keeping you back from doing it?

jump out there. take a chance. even if you don’t think you’re good enough to do it, take a chance and watch how god will work through you. i did it last night and was blown away and i bet if you make the effort, you will be too.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.

-jonathan

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3 thoughts on “don’t leave me standing here on my own

  1. Told ya!!

    One of the most awkward things about preaching is having people tell you how much they enjoyed it after the service — especially when they weren’t supposed to enjoy it. That’s one of the great things about speaking to youth — they’ve got no motivation whatsoever to brown nose you by telling you it was good if it wasn’t. Sounds like you made a real impact Wednesday.

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