“Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.” – 1 Samuel 17:49
Do you ever feel underestimated?
Maybe it’s because of your age. People disregard your innovation because you’re “too old” or dismiss your leadership potential because you’re “just another Millennial” who knows it all.
Maybe it’s because of your background. People can’t see that whether you use rural drawls or city vernacular to say it, you still have something important to say.
Maybe it’s how you resist. People won’t take you seriously because you’d rather grab a bullhorn instead of a briefcase or because you still believe that a hug and a bit of hope can change us all.
Underestimation can be your greatest weapon.
Just ask David.
He is a young shepherd when he volunteers to fight Goliath, a championed warrior who also happens to be a giant.
King Saul tries to tell David he can’t fight Goliath because of his inexperience and age, but David tells Saul that he is prepared because he has fought off wild animals as a shepherd.
And David is ultimately right.
He defeats Goliath even though no one, including Goliath, thought he could.
If Goliath had more faith that David was a stronger opponent, the story might have ended differently. He might have been on higher alert—or even asked for backup.
When people who create oppressive systems underestimate your work or the heart of the people they oppress, they give you power.
They underestimate your resolve to keep pushing back and your power to prevail against their oppression.
So the next time someone underestimates you, shake their hand. They just set your path for victory.
Thank God I’m underestimated. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of South Euclid United Church of Christ, South Euclid, Ohio.