I was sitting with my in-laws around my own kitchen table when it hit me.
I’m afraid to fail.
It was a simple game of Rook — the game my husband was raised on. His family has played this game for decades. I only married into this ongoing game and I really only play when they need a fill-in. They are pros and I’m just a light-weight add-on.
So a heavy weight laid on my shoulders and I felt very small and insecure when it was my turn to lead out with that first card.
It wasn’t so much about whether I laid the wrong card messing up my own score but it was failing my partner and messing up their score.
I can follow suit or trump-in with confidence because someone else has already laid the first card. The direction is given and I just have to follow suit. But to set the direction and lead out, that’s uncomfortable.
I found myself repeatedly saying, “I hate to lead.” Which of course, those around the table would respond with, “Just lay something…it doesn’t matter. It’s just a game.” But in my mind, it did matter. Others were looking to me and depending on me. My actions would affect my team’s score… and what if I failed?
Leading out based only on what is in my own hand is scary.
Looking at the lack of good cards in my own hand scares me and the longer I think about it, the more scenarios of failure come up in my head. I talk myself out of going forward before I even get started.
I think what I hold in my hand is not good enough so I speak out the words, “Pass” and the opportunity is gone.
It can be intimidating and scary to step out into something new and take the lead in a new direction.
When God called Moses to head back to Egypt and rescue His people, Moses was afraid.
God encouraged him by asking, “What is in your hand?”
Moses didn’t see anything special just his own staff, carved and fashioned with his own hands… nothing special, just an ordinary walking stick.
Yet with God, that ordinary staff… that simple piece of wood… revealed God’s way of deliverance for His people.
In the game of Rook, I may feel intimated by those around the table yet I’ve learned to lean on my partner. My father-in-law is excellent at this. We tend to get partnered together and I’ve learned to trust him in the game.
When I have the guts enough to take the bid and call the trump, I know he is in this with me. There’s never any “What were you thinking?” or “Why would you play that?” instead it’s a working together to see if we can pull off a win.
In this life, God partners with us. He doesn’t sit across from us and say, “What were you thinking?” or “Why would you play that card?”
At times, I might play the wrong card and I might not lead with the best card in my hand yet that is where His grace steps in and He works with us to bring about the win… the good.
We might think that what we hold is just ordinary and not really that significant. Yet when God works through it, He pulls off some amazing wins.
Being on God’s team isn’t a game of chance that we play alone. He knows what’s in our hand and the best way to play it out. God partners with us to accomplish His purpose.
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This year, as we step out into new areas of trusting Him, let’s take some risk.
It can be scary and intimidating… this whole thing of stepping out and playing the lead card. We can be afraid to fail. Yet we can trust Him and His direction, believing He honors our steps of faith.
We win when we hold onto Psalm 37:23-24.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though we may stumble, we will not fall for the Lord upholds us with His hand.
We can lose heart looking only at our own hand but we find courage when we look to the One who upholds us with His hand!
So today, what is in your hand? What are you holding that God wants to work through to make a win for His purpose?