Life Coach Magazine

Getting Picked Last

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Getting Picked LastWhen I was a kid, I had a pretty stiff case of childhood asthma. I couldn’t run much, and because my dad was a Turkish immigrant and never played baseball or football, he never coached me to hone my skills in those regards (they still remain latent to this day).

Consequently, I was usually the last one to get picked for teams during gym class. This usually played out like this: The gym teacher would line us all up against the wall. He’d assign two captains and the picking began. All the popular kids would get picked first, then the average ones. Eventually everyone would get picked except for me and one of the girls. By this time I was nervously shuffling my feet, wringing my hands and dying inside.

Then one team captain would say to the other, “You take Gungor.”

“No way. I had him last time,” was the retort. “I’ll take the fat girl.”

Such was my life. (I think most of us have experienced the sickening feeling of not being chosen, not being wanted, not being asked to the dance.)

As I entered high school, my popularity didn’t increase. In fact, there was an upper classman who particularly hated me. I would be walking down the hall in school and he would push my books out of my hand to the floor and punch me in the stomach. I was a ninth grader and he was a star wrestler in his junior year—way intimidating. I dreaded seeing Billy and would do whatever I could to avoid him.

One afternoon as I was walking home from school, I noticed two cars pulling up about a block away from me. I watched as a gaggle of boys jumped out of the cars, step into bowling pin formation and start heading directly towards me. As I peered more intently, I saw Billy was in front-pin position. I panicked inside. But before I could come up with an escape plan, Billy was in my face. He pushed my books to the ground and started shoving me in the chest (Here-we-go-again, I thought).

“Wanna fight Gungor?” he jeered.

“No,” I answered sheepishly.

“Common Gungor. You a chicken?” he snapped.

I felt helpless.

But then something happened that changed my whole high school career. Bit came to the rescue. Let me explain.

Bit was the biggest, coolest kid at Neillsville High School. He was huge and built like a rock. We all knew he started shaving in seventh grade, which gave him superhero status. The reason we called him “Bit” was because he had a huge acne problem and, because of our respect, we didn’t want to call him “Zit.”

“Billy!” Bit bellowed. “If you are going to mess with Gungor, you’re going to have to go through me first!”

I can’t really describe for you all that happened in my soul at that moment. The coolest kid in the school just sided with me! My fear, my anxiety, my dread about mean Billy the wrestler all gave way to the joy of being chosen, being valued by another. My stock value shot up instantly in my own mind (and in the crowd’s mind that had gathered around to see the fight). I had done nothing to earn this, this was Bit’s kindness, and it changed my life.

That’s a micro-snapshot of what the biblical story is all about. It’s about God choosing to side with those much less than himself—you and me. And he did so, not because we did something to earn it, but because of his kindness. When someone significant chooses you, it causes his or her significance to be attached to you. This is God walking across the room in front of everyone and asking you to dance!

He chose you. He wants to be with you. Getting to know him, his person—that’s what gives us the confidence that we can matter in this world. The apostle Paul said because of his encounter with Christ—because of his introduction into this story, we walked into life confident. “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me,” he writes. “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.”

It turns out we can make our mark in this world because of our relationship to God as Father, not just because we perform well or outshine others around us. It is so sweet to be one of the chosen.

You did not choose me, but I chose you.


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