I’m sitting in Starbucks.
I just finished a very boring cup of caffeine-free tea.
John Mayer is playing through my ear buds.
I just saw the news that the NFL has finally reached a settlement with the refs.
No more replacement refs.
Yes, I’m disappointed. I found the replacement refs inspiring.
Very simply, because I am one.
Not literally. I couldn’t call a game if my life depended on it. But the life I do lead has been one of consistently feeling way in over my head.
I’m a parent. Am I truly qualified to shepherd a life from infancy to adulthood? If I am, I certainly don’t feel like it.
I’m a pastor. People come into my office with broken marriages and ask me to help put them back together. Do I know what to tell them? Do I have the magic fix that will make it alright? Not hardly.
I’m a teacher. Thousands of people will periodically give me 30 minutes on a Sunday morning to listen to what I have to say. Do I feel confident when I do this? Do I feel qualified? Rarely. More I often I feel like people can see straight through me.
I could go on. You get the idea.
I’ve been waiting for that moment in life when I feel TRULY qualified to do the things I do each day. I’ll have a boldness, an unshakable confidence, and I’ll move through my day with focus.
The further I get along in this adventure the more I’m convinced that moment is a mirage. Even more, I’ve come to believe gaining that degree of confidence isn’t the goal. I’ve come to believe we weren’t designed for that kind of SELF-confidence.
Or, put another way…
I’ve come to believe we’re all replacement refs.
Even the real refs are replacement refs. They blow calls. They ruin games. They get things mixed up.
One of my favorite statements of Scripture comes from Paul’s pen…
“I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses … For when I am weak, then I am strong.”(1 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)
Yes, I am a replacement ref desperately in need of a higher power to give me the grace, strength, and wisdom to navigate this life. I am way in over my head, which I’ve increasingly understood to be the point. We’re not made to do this thing alone. We’re meant to lean into a power greater than ourselves, so we can live beyond ourselves.
Hats off to you replacement refs. You had the courage to go for it even though you knew it would be bigger than any game you’d ever called before the biggest audience of your life. That takes guts.