Underestimate Me. That’ll Be Fun.

Once upon a time, I was a Youth Director at a Lutheran Church.  Comical, if you know me. Never, not once in my life, had I stepped into a Lutheran church or any liturgical church for that matter. I’m an honest person and I told the Pastor in my interview, “I am a divorced woman with four children who is not a Lutheran,” and waited for the rejection. But to my surprise, my experience with teenagers did win out, and I was offered a chance at this adventure.  I packed my bags, moved to Texas, and four weeks later found myself remodeling a dingy office at the end of a dark hallway,  music blasting, wondering how the hell I got there.

It was a good year.  I learned all I ever needed to know about Martin Luther. The teenagers versed me in Lutheranese, (it is such a thing), I eventually grasped the concept of a Liturgy, weekly communion, when to wear what color, and GaGa Ball rules. And, if we’re being honest, I still miss those amazing kids.  But I was an outsider.  I was not Lutheran, and it showed.  Moreover, some church members cared that I did not hold this title.  They looked for a stamped, signed, and sealed “Baptized and Confirmed Lutheran” certificate in my back pocket and when they didn’t find it they set out to cause me trouble in the name of the Lord.

One day, I came across a large whiteboard shoved in the back of a closet and I got giddy. Nerdy, Joker smile giddy.  I grabbed a hammer and nails and I hung that board on my freshly painted gray wall, right where no one could miss it when they walked in. With the thickest, blackest marker I could find and grit to my teeth and heart, I wrote,

Underestimate Me, That’ll be Fun. 

That quote did not get erased.  It made me smile daily.  Person after person came into that office and no one ever said a word to me about that quote which made it even better.  It was a daily kick in the ass.  Ironically, I was the one kicked.  It set the grounds for a challenge that I could not ignore.  An “I’ll show them” mentality quickly coupled with, “I’ll show myself!”  And, “Don’t underestimate me,” quickly became, “I won’t underestimate myself!”  I fought and worked hard.  I tuned out the naysayers and I focused on the task at hand, the one that I didn’t understand but the one that somehow felt destined…basically, I rose to my own challenge.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in that role, but no matter what adventure I find myself in, there are still times that I can feel like I am the outsider, and it shows.  Like something is different and everyone knows it.  There’s someone, somewhere, looking for a stamped, signed, and sealed certificate of who they think I should be, and when they don’t find it, trouble follows.  When this happens, I face the choice of defeat, of keeping an ear to the crowds, of choosing not to follow my destiny.  Or, I decide to fight, work hard, grit my teeth and my heart, and rise to my own challenge, Underestimate me, that’ll be fun.” 

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