It’s ok to be number 2

In a world preoccupied with being number 1, and having the honor and respect, I still think it’s ok to be the number 2.

Last week, and previously, I have heard the story of Deborah and Barak (Judges 4-5) preached.  The facts aren’t complicated:

  • Deborah (judge and ruler) is planning a war
  • She says to Barak “God says, you’re up!” 
  • Barak says, “but I want you to come too” 
  • Deborah says “sure I’ll come with, but you won’t get the honour. History will record that a woman did this”

The few times I have heard this story preached, all have been critical of Barak.  He wasn’t brave. He didn’t step up. He wasn’t courageous enough to go on his own.  If he had heard the call properly, and trusted God, honour would be his. 

So today I read the story for myself. Apart from that one warning from Deborah, I am NOT seeing any criticism of Barak.  Maybe some Bible scholars know better, I’m not sure. 

Here’s what I saw happened:

  • Barak did what he was asked. He gathered the troops
  • He went out WITH Deborah and advanced on the enemy 
  • They won the war
  • The king of the opponent was also killed but by another different women
  • A song was written about both Deborah and Barak
  • There was peace in the land for 40 years 

In a world preoccupied with being the sole hero, the seen leader, the applauded icon, is this story really a lesson in disobedience or lack of courage? 

He still went to war – he was courageous. 

He still did what he was asked – he gathered the troops and fought. 

They were still victorious. 

It was ok to be number 2.

The world over is filled with a variety of people, personalities and skills. Some are risk takers, some are strategists, some are back room. 

Some work well alone, some as a team. Some can back themselves, some need reassurance. 

If your best position is number 2, and you can achieve great things but risk no honour, then I see not criticism of that position in this story.  Don’t let the visible people of the world criticise you for achieving, albeit from a place of no. 2.

What was the end goal? Was it honour, or victory?   If you read this story as a criticism of Barak, then your focus is honour. If you read this story as a team who fulfilled the mission, then your focus is on the victory, which provided 40 years of peace. 

As a final thought, I think having a song written about you IS honour. Sure it wasn’t solo honour, but he was honored nevertheless. 

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Things aren’t going the way I planned

Things aren’t going the way I planned.

People aren’t doing what they SHOULD be doing.

I can’t understand why they don’t realise (when the issue is so obvious!) and why don’t they do something about it…

It’s a problem – and it’s causing me stress.
It’s a problem that gnaws away at me until something changes.
It’s a problem that hijacks my thoughts – and my happiness.

It’s a problem that I need to do something about. I have to get things back on track. I can’t leave things the way they are. I have to think it through, work it out, say something, do something, talk to someone, convince them … address it somehow – ASAP!

OR

Do I take a moment and ask myself “Do I need to be more flexible?

When situations don’t go the way I think they should, I can try hard to make it go the way I think, or I can look at whether I need to be more flexible, more patient and what I can learn from this.

Some issues definitely need to be addressed. Some situations can’t stay the way they are.

But before we line up the bazookas in battle, run them through the filter of “Do I need to be more flexible?”

and then figure out what we can learn from all of this.