If someone enthusiastically told you that they’re always coming in second place in everything they do, there’s almost a guarantee that you’d scrunch your eyes in perplexity. You’d struggle between wanting to be supportive of the person because they’re consistent (and not coming in third or fourth) and questioning who is always taking the gold. You’d probably ask yourself why anyone would be so proud of constantly falling short of just one person. I know I would—from 1-10 on the scale of competitiveness, I’m a Monica Gellar from Friends! But Norm Miller, the founder of I Am Second, would gladly step up to the plate and tell you why living in second place would change your life for the better.
CBN once posted an interview with Miller, telling of a past life that just wasn’t fulfilling enough. Working as a car-battery salesman out of the back of a truck for Interstate Batteries, he was inching his way to the top. He eventually began selling and setting up Interstate distributorships. His hours were overextended, and one day, Miller started drinking to curb his anxiety. This pattern that had been his father’s was seeping into his own life. Becoming a full-fledged, functioning alcoholic, the car-battery expert wound up with two DWIs. Then, one night, he was driving home while drunk, got pulled over, and didn’t even get so much as a ticket. Waking up to realize that he had no hold on his issue, he asked God for help.
A friend of Miller’s led him to read the Bible, and as Miller devoured its contents, he realized it was the Truth. He got involved with Sunday school, did a self-evaluation, accepted the “crazy” idea that God actually loved him, and transformed his life by making the decision to live for God. Quickly, he stopped gauging success in life by the amount of money in his bank account and started determining it by his experience with God’s love and how he shared that love.
Even though Norm Miller moved on up to Chairman of Interstate Batteries, he felt that God was leading him to do something bigger, something for the Kingdom. He felt led to spread the name and message of Jesus as far as he could. At first, he didn’t know where to begin, but after taking a step back to consider how he would raise awareness about his car batteries if that were what he was promoting, he decided a media campaign would be the best way to go. Thus, I Am Second was born in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas in the Spring of 2008. I Am Second joined with E3 Partners and 20 churches dedicated to guiding those who’ve committed to Christ.
Accompanied by advertisements and billboards in the area that bore the simple slogan “I Am Second,” the campaign launched its site in December 2008. This pegged the question of viewers: Who is First? When searching the site for the answer, viewers will find testimonies categorized by alphabetical topics such as Abortion, Abuse, Cancer, Eating, Divorce, Identity, Molestation, Racism, Trauma, and more. Many familiar faces like those of Bethany Hamilton, Lecrae, Brian “Head” Welch, Jason Witten, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Bailee Madison, Josh Turner, and Tori Kelly appear in these films with a simple white chair and black backdrop. All these various subjects incorporate people who are diverse in skin color, age, gender, career, and background, but every single film conveys the same truths: God is first, I am second, everyone has a story to tell, and there is always hope.
Over 212 countries are full of people involved in the I Am Second movement, and the site’s traffic averages about seven minutes per visitor. I Am Second’s wristbands, shirts, magnets, stickers, and accessories relentlessly pop up in schools, offices, homes, grocery stores, concerts, etc. all over the world, spreading awareness of what it means to run the race of life in second place. Many times, I have personally witnessed passersby wearing one of the bracelets, striking interest in surrounding peers.
The raw outlooks on life displayed by each willing vessel in the I Am Second videos have been such a genuine encouragement to me. Celebrities that I have looked up to have become more human to me as they have unveiled their disappointments, struggles, fears, and then their joy, victories, and peace in the Father. I definitely recommend taking time to peruse the site when you are in need of a boost. God may have a message specifically for you and your situation. All it takes is a couple of clicks, listening ears, and an open mind and heart.
If you need a starting point, I Am Second has prepared responses that cover a blanket of questions, including but not limited to who God is, how church is an intricate part of life, whether or not God cares, and why Jesus is the only way to heaven. Another portion of the site challenges anyone and everyone to take action and make themselves second, too. There are even tools provided to continue motivating those who are choosing to live second every day such as a blog, an email subscription, group materials, apparel, and accessories.
Featured Image by Pixabay