I had a dream the other night, one I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. I was at dinner with a group of friends, and when one friend stood to get seconds, he said, “I actually think people lose when they marry in their own league.”
Dream-me had turned to him with a questioning expression.
“What do you mean?”
Still scooping up food, he answered, “When people marry outside their league, that’s when they grow.”
While the Lord has spoken to me in dreams before, I’m still seeking His wisdom and voice to hear what this one means exactly. But in the searching, I’ve been tumbling this phrase around in my mind: out of my league.
What does it mean to be “out of my league”?
I think it applies to more than just marriage and relationships. I think about jobs.
As a first year teacher last year, I was way out of my league. Wide-eyed and fresh out of college, I was convinced that I was going to step into the classroom and empower the next generation in their learning. That wasn’t the case. I was bulldozed on day one and spent a lot of the year driving to and from school in tears because I felt I’d been thrown into the deep end and it was all I could do to keep my head above water.
But despite the struggle, there was so much growth last year. I came face to face with the question of my identity: What truly defines me? Was it my ability (or inability) to teach a room full of preteens; or was it my title as a child of God?
During that year I sympathized with Christ’s suffering more than I ever had before and had a little taste of what it means to suffer for Him. And I’m stronger now because of those struggles.
Feeling “out of my league” however is more than just a then thing. As I leave the classroom now to pursue writing and whatever else comes next, I feel out of my league. I look at the shelves of books of all these accomplished authors and I wonder what I have to offer, if I can measure up. I’m learning so much about the writing and publication process as I try to tackle each piece of it one step at a time, but I’m naive about so much too.
Still, I’m growing.
I wonder how many of us play it safe in what we chase after in life.
I wonder how many of us go with what’s expected because we’re afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone.
I wonder how much growth and how many opportunities we miss because we don’t want to be uncomfortable or we don’t think we’re not good enough, or whatever our excuse is.
What if the patriarchs and the prophets and the disciples and the early Christians never stepped out in faith to follow God.
You wanna talk “out of our league” let’s talk about this God who is infinitely out of the league of every human being that ever walked the earth.
What if instead of leaving Ur for the land God would show him, Abraham stayed in fear and comfort? (Genesis 12:1-4)
What if Isaiah, when he encountered the Lord in a vision, never spoke the words, “Here I am Lord, send me”? (Isaiah 6:8)
What if Peter and Andrew, James and John never left those fishing boats to follow Jesus? (Matthew 4:18-22)
What if Paul, after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus refused his calling? (Acts 9:1-5)
Those men and women we read about in the Bible would be much different. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even know their names. Their faith and willingness to step outside of what was known and comfortable, and the work God did in and through them, is why they’re remembered.
Their opportunities to step into situations outside of their comfort zone and follow a God so outside their league–a God whose love is infinite and whose mercy and grace know no bounds–those experiences grew them.
Those experiences grow us too.
I know you might not feel good enough or pretty enough or qualified. I realize you might struggle with being outside of what is comfortable and familiar. But know this: it’s when you’re outside of your league that you are fully dependent upon God, and that’s where growth happens.
May we always make the choice to grow, rather than be comfortable.
Live in His love!