I was a mediocre cheerleader. On a good day.
No, I’m not just being modest. I was so average that I didn’t even make the squad the first time I tried out. But mid-season a couple of girls got kicked off for having bad grades and the coach told my mom, who was a teacher at my high school, that she had spots to fill and she wanted me to try out again. So when I made it this time around, I knew without a doubt that I was the worst on the squad. After all, every other girl had made the cut back in August when I hadn’t.
You might be thinking, “The coach did want you to try out the second time. Maybe she regretted not putting you on the squad and you were actually better than you remember.”
Nope. It wasn’t about skill. In that conversation between the coach and my mom she told her that of all the girls who didn’t make the squad I was the only one who didn’t give her dirty looks in the halls. She wanted my attitude more than my toe-touches and back handsprings (which is good because I couldn’t ever one).
My mother will still repeat this story if given the opportunity. I think I made her really proud, and now that I’m a mom, I understand why.
I’ve been thinking about my sad pom-poms as we read the Acts of the Apostles this Easter. Jesus had a lot of disciples, but only twelve in the inner circle. How did it feel to not be one of the chosen few who he pulled aside and passed his most important teachings on to? Matthias especially stands as he literally was chosen as a replacement. Judas got cut from the squad (forgive my candor), or cut himself I suppose, and the eleven cast lots to choose between Matthias and Justus.
When we know we aren’t the first choice it can be hard to say yes to an invitation. It means we have to swallow our pride and realize that even though we might not be the “best,” we do have something important to contribute. It also takes courage to hold your head high and say, “I’m here for a reason.” Matthias journeyed with Christ and was the perfect person to step in and fill out the group of twelve, and who knows what gifts he added in spite of being the new guy. My jumps may have improved a little of the years, but I never became better than mediocre, at least not as an individual, but I do know the squad was better because I was on it. Go team!
Lord, instead of focusing on what I lack, help me to see what you make possible and give me the courage to say yes when I am called.