It was 4:00 p.m. on a seemingly normal Wednesday afternoon at the office; the sun was setting, and the parking lot was beginning to clear out. I was thinking about what I would have for dinner when I walked into my boss’s office to discuss a situation that had come to my attention.
A few minutes later, I left her office knowing that dinner would have to wait; I was about to plan a last-minute trip to Austin, Texas. In less than 24 hours, The Upper Room was scheduled to be present as an exhibitor at the Youth Ministries Academy at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. My coworker, who had made all the arrangements and was planning to go to Austin herself, was sick. The point of this trip was to build awareness of The Upper Room’s newest program ministry, Discovery Weekend, a weekend event for middle schoolers held in local churches and led primarily by high schoolers. Having been recently hired as the new Marketing Manager focusing on children, youth, and young adult offerings at The Upper Room and being a youth leader myself, I knew someone had to represent us at this event.
So, at 7:55 a.m. Thursday, I boarded a plane.
I arrived at the seminary and was able to get the booth display set up without difficulty. I knew it was only by the grace of God that on such short notice I had traveled to an unfamiliar place to do something I had never done before. I knew God would help me through it, yet as the attendees began to arrive, I became nervous.
The first keynote speaker on Thursday evening, Travis Garner, a local pastor from Nashville, spoke about how he often feels that he’s “just not that good” at his job—but that’s the point: God is good at working through him, and God will take his mess and use it for good.
Throughout the weekend as I held conversations with other young adults and youth ministers, the thought often entered my mind: “I’m just not that good at this.” It was in these moments when I normally would have wanted to throw my hands up in defeat that I found myself smiling. Each time, God reminded me that it’s not about whether or not I am good at this; God is perfect at doing what God wants to do. God will take my mess and use it—but I have to get out of the way and let him.
So with that in mind, I handed the event over to God. Not with the goal of increasing sign-ups or sales, but with the goal of simply opening the door to spiritual growth in the lives of young people, I began to pray, “Lord, send someone who needs to talk to me over here.” Over and over again, God was faithful.
“[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore 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, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV).
Today, after returning home, I am grateful that when I am weak, God is strong through me. Along with his strength, God also has shown a divine sense of humor: this coming Thursday, I am scheduled to go to Chattanooga with an experienced coworker for what was supposed to be my first work event. As I smile at the irony of the circumstances, I am looking forward to being “not that good at this” next weekend as well.
Dylan White serves as a Ministry Engagement Marketing Manager for The Upper Room, focusing on children, youth, and young adult ministries, . . . and, by the way, his coworkers say, "he is good at this."
“As the curator of The Upper Room Chapel and Museum, it is my task to highlight art and draw the viewer into the work itself. On clear days, the art is outside The Upper Room Chapel: gorgeous pink blossom clouds of the Japanese Magnolia trees. The blossoms don’t last very long. If you are in the Nashville area, take a few minutes to stop by and enjoy them. ‘We recognize God’s presence in the world around us,’ the author of The Mystic in You says. ‘Sometimes it comes because of our intentional spiritual practices. Other times, it comes when we least expect it and do not feel as though we deserve it. … Geese flying overhead and a dog running in its sleep become windows into eternity when we pause, notice and open to the wonder of all being.’ Sometimes it is in a pink cloud of blossoms.”