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May 20th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

14 comments (+ Add)

Guest: Jon Acuff

Our friend Jon Acuff just released his new book, Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job. We’ve appreciated his work for quite a while, so we invited him to share a few thoughts with the Swerve community.

The truth about being a nobody.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak at a fun event. While introducing me to the audience, Craig dropped one of those grenade sentences he’s so great at. Here is what he said:

“Three years ago, Jon was a nobody with a passion.”

I love that sentence because it’s the opposite of what so many of us think.

When it comes to chasing our dreams, to stepping out into big adventures with God, we often think we need to “be somebody.” When God puts a desire in our hearts or awakens us to a cause he wants us to run toward, we often think, “Who am I to do that?” We imagine that before God can really use us, we need to become somebody. We look at our lives and our gifts and discount them in comparison to the people around us.

“I like to write, but I’m no Donald Miller.”

“I like to serve, but it’s not like I could do what Charity Water does.”

“I like to sing, but it’s not like I’m Chris Tomlin.”

“I like to __________, but I could never _________.”

So we don’t get started. We think that being a nobody with a passion is no place to start a new mission. If we had more money, more time, more anything, then we’d begin. If we were somebody, then we could do big kingdom work. But I think the reality is that nobodies are God’s favorite people to use.

Look at Gideon, a nobody from a nobody family who was hiding when God called him.

Look at David, considered such a nobody by his own father he wasn’t even initially called in from the field when Samuel asked to meet Jesse’s sons.

Look at the disciples, a nobody crew of fisherman until they bumped into Jesus.

The Bible is littered with examples of people who were nobodies with a passion. People who God transformed. People who God called to big missions. People who God used to change the world.

I don’t know what God has in store for you. I don’t know if he’s calling you to start a non-profit or a conversation with a neighbor at your mailbox. But along the way if you ever feel like a nobody, don’t worry.

It’s OK to be a nobody, those are God’s favorite people to use.

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there are a total of14
  1. May 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Hey, me too. I’m a nobody, but my God’s a Somebody.

  2. May 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I’m a nobody with a passion for my call to music ministry!

  3. May 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I haven’t heard of Jon Acuff’s book, but after reading this blog post, I don’t think I can get my hands on it fast enough. He makes such a good point about our desires to “be somebody”—it’s something that I’ve felt I needed to strive towards since I was a child. However, I know now that I’m following God’s path by teaching children’s ministry, and that’s more than enough for me. Thanks for sharing this insightful post.

  4. May 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    This book is for me. I needed to read this today. I am a nobody with a passion for worship and writing.

  5. May 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I am not just a nobody with a passion. I’m a nobody with a past and a passion to use it to help others overcome challenges.

  6. 6Kathy hickey
    May 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Jon’s blog is a delight to me every day, and Church Online has been ministering to me for nearly two years. I love it when i find out that two people I love get together!

  7. May 31, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Loved this post! What a great reminder!

    I’ve forgotten about Gideon and David and their humble backgrounds and beginnings.

  8. May 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    [...] the Lifechurch [...]

  9. May 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I really needed to hear this! I’ve been feeling very discouraged and constantly thinking “there are enough writers in the world, why do I have to love this, too?!” Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t matter who I am–it matters who He is and what He can do with me!

  10. May 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Getting older and still having the passion to serve the Lord! I am praying God will open doors. Those doors may be different doors thean what I expected. I feel like a nobody when I see young people so much more talented (so I think) and churches that seem to prefer younger mambers on their praise and worship team. Thanks so much, Jon!

  11. Jun 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I have read this book, in fact I am one of the “Quitter 100″. A truly inspiring book with tools to pursue on your dreams. This book will change your view of what your dream is and how to get there. Well…that’s what it did for me.

  12. 12Susan Dohmen Riddles
    Jun 6, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Nothing seems to be happening but something seems to be calling me. Does that make sense? I have been unemployed for several months. Along my path to seek employment I have had a repeated theme appear in my life, my nighttime dreams and my prayer life. God is moving in my life and I am at attention (finally). It is 5:18 AM and I woke up at 4:20 AM from a dream (a little scary and sad), and from a recurring thought to lead a life group for single moms or single dads, single parents? I keep hearing messages at church that say “God has prepared you to lead, to mentor”. Me??? Truth be told I am somewhat avoiding it. Scared really to take this on. People have a lot of stuff going on in their lives and sometimes it is difficult to hear the pain, sorrow or stupidity. But with several things that God seems to keep putting in front of me I feel like this may be my time to do this. (I have organized every inch of my house, painted the exterior too because of all the free time I have….organizer at heart but there is something else I am supposed to do with my summer and I get it) So this morning when I woke up from my dream and once again had things on my heart I realized it was time to step into this new place. I grabbed my prayer journal and my laptop. The prayer journal because I love spending time with God and talking to him (the best part is when he talks to me and I have enough clarity to listen…I am now to the point I know it is best to obey as well. Took a pretty big hit the other day because I didn’t), the laptop because I have no clue where to start. What if some of these single moms/parents need bibles? What if someone has children going to bed hungry? What if??? My mind started running with these thoughts and I realized I don’t have the resources like I used to to just pay for what might be needed. And then it hit me, maybe I am not supposed to have the resources. Maybe I am a link. I don’t know, but I here I am. Clicked on Resources and stumbled upon the entry by Jon Acuff. It is official, I think I am a nobody. Kind of chokes me up to be honest…I worked really hard to raise my children, was a single parent for many years, build a good home for our family and develop my career. I thought I was doing everything to make me a somebody….wow. Liked what Jon wrote so I felt like leaving a comment. Moving on to identify next steps in this process.

  13. 13Ian @ CATF
    Jun 8, 2011 at 11:46 am

    God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. When we give it up to God …amazing things happen.

    A perfect example of someone being used by God is the life of Moses. Moses was in an excellent position to affect the lives of those around him, but he felt inadequate, insignificant and didn’t think he could be used by God. However, God speaking from a burning bush said to Moses “I AM everything you will need to change the world.”

    Even after Moses took his sandals off and realized who God was, he continued to doubt his abilities. God responded by saying “This is not about you, it never has been about you, and never will be about you.” God went on to say to Moses “It is all about ME. I need to work through you, to be able to show my power and miracles.” Yet, Moses felt the job was way too big for him. There was no way Moses felt that he could pull it off by himself.

    This is when God spoke directly to Moses as he did to Joshua and his people saying “I command you–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

    Choose to be a world changer that takes risks. Be enabled to know that God wants to use you in a special way, where you are and with your current abilities. Pray to God “…to make my life count.” You, your family and those you connect with every day at work, school, at the grocery store or in the neighborhood will be glad you did as we continue to do life together. From a Brandon Duff blog entry.

  14. Jul 16, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Wow “It’s OK to be a nobody, those are God’s favorite people to use.” I just need to tweet that.