I had a friend in fourth grade named Rachel. She and I, along with our friend Larissa, formed a girl club trio. "The Colorful Hearts." (It was fourth grade, okay?) But we were official -- we had jackets with our name and club logo on them, thanks to Larissa's mom who owned an embroidery shop. We swore our loyalty to each other, and were inseparable at every free moment. But let's just be clear, Rachel ran our lives. (I may be a pushy broad now, but it came later in life.) We did whatever that girl said.
Rachel: Go tell Luke you think he's cute.
Larissa: But you think he's cute, not me.
Rachel: Go tell him. I just want to see what he says.
Rachel: Let's have a play fight at recess.
Me: What do you mean?
Rachel: It'll be funny, and everyone will watch.
Me: Are you going to really hit?
Rachel: No. I said play fight.
To her credit, she didn't actually hit me. But she did pull my hair and kick my shins like a caged donkey. Real funny. One memory of Rachel that most sticks out in my mind was when the three of us decided we were going to dress up in costume the next day for school. Just for the fun of it. I was going to wear my soccer outfit and they would wear their Pop-Warner cheerleader outfits. (This should have been my first clue. One of these things is not like the other.) Well, I missed the memo that said that they had changed their minds. I wore knee-high soccer socks and short black shorts to school. This was not cool. People were staring at me the second I got out of the van. To a fourth grader, humiliating. But when I saw my friends not wearing their end of the deal, my heart sank. I started to take off the socks.
Rachel: What are you doing?
Me: I'm taking off my socks.
Rachel: No. We just forgot to wear ours. You still have to wear that. All day.
I remember sitting in my elementary school bathroom crying enormous tears over my silly soccer socks. Why did I listen to that girl? Because she was a leader, and I guess I needed someone to follow. And when you put yourself in the hands of another, you are at their mercy.
How much greater is our vulnerability, then, when we put ourselves at the mercy of the Lord? His power, believe it or not, exceeds that of my fourth-grade friend Rachel. When you put yourself out there for the Lord to do His work, when you say words like, "If you can use anything, Lord, use me," or like my friend Jen Hatmaker said, "God, raise up in me a holy passion," there is the possibility of a life turned upside down. Comfort: gone. Security: gone. Identity: gone. Expectations: pssht. Servanthood requires emptying of self and a filling up with the will of another. Now, I know God can wipe out life from the planet (hello, Noah?) and strike people dead in His anger (Nadab, Abihu), but I also know that he can deliver His people from the mighty hand of the Egyptians, preserve them through the ages, and send a Redeemer to save Israel and the nations. I'll take His will over Rachel's any day.
With that surrender comes a certain rawness. Because I've knocked down my walls and shelters and buffers, I feel a certain sobriety and helplessness that pushes me to trust God entirely. It's the stripped down self I asked for, I know. And compared to many modern day disciples across the globe, His calling on my life has required very little. Thus far. But let me tell you, Pick Five hasn't been a walk in the park, either.
One comfort I find is that I know, without a doubt, I'm in good hands.
"My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:8