Wednesday Wisdom 🙂
Inspiration this week comes from Romans chapters 14 and 15: I really encourage reading both chapters in their entirety. I found clear discernment in them as I served and coached through the past six months. Here is the first part of chapter 15…
“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.“
Every moment of every day we all make a choice: Am I going to build people up or tear them down? Another way to think about this is to ask the question, “Do I exist simply to please myself or does God put breath in my lungs so that I can serve others as I share His love?
I’ve been a “part time” coach for the past 24 years. I was an athlete for more than a decade before that. Picture the high school kid who trained four hours a day and went to nationals instead of prom 🙂 That was me! Swimming and running were my refuge during my teenage years. Looking back, I can see how God placed the sports in my life to help me grow and refine the sense of integrity and discipline that He placed deep within my soul. Today, God continues to use athletics to shape my heart. I love the kids that He brings to me. I love them in a genuine way that teaches me about compassion, mercy, and sacrifice. My athletes are a critical part of my faith journey, and God just keeps bringing on the blessings with each season that passes.
In my mind, Jesus is the ultimate coach. He came to seek, to serve, and to save. No one was insignificant in his eyes. Everyone was worthy of love. During his time on earth, He never ran out of patience and always took the time to pour into the people in his life. His unselfish consideration of others provides a lofty goal that drives me to try to love better and ultimately to coach better. There is not a day that passes that I don’t ask myself, “am I being considerate in order to build others up?” In all honesty, the answer to that question sometimes slaps me in the face as I realize that I have stumbled. But, when I think about what has helped me the most as I coached through covid, it is being intentional about making the choice to build others up.
I remember our preacher saying years ago, “What comes out of you during stressful times shows what exists in your heart.”
I pray each day that what comes out of me is love.
I have a list of ideas that God placed on my heart while coaching in 2020. Today, I share them in the hopes that they will inspire and help you as you serve.
- Certainty is scarce, and fear is abundant. I must be steadfast and rooted in Jesus’ love so that my athletes can find strength and confidence in our relationship.
- When hope and love come alive, fear falls apart. Community and team provide a support structure that breeds positive energy. As the athletes look around them in the huddle, they have hope and they sense love. They know that they matter and that they belong.
- Living is important. That means showing up, giving your all, and leading with your heart. Every practice counts. Every race or game is a blessing. Choose to live, be a contributor!
- Patience and perseverance go hand in hand. Am I tough enough to love first? Am I gentle enough to inspire consideration within the team? Am I humble and strong enough to sacrifice repeatedly for my brothers and sisters?
- Knowledge makes us feel important, but it is love that builds strength (1Corinthians 8:1). In 2020, more than any time in my coaching career, love mattered. God brought me athletes in a myriad of different emotional states, but they all needed love. There was a deep need in the kids to realize that receiving and sharing love drives hope.
- Courage is contagious. And, it starts with heart-felt leadership. Working hard together means more because it builds a culture of sacrifice and consideration of others.
When we choose to love, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to build each other up. This is the basis of TEAM (together everyone achieves more). My daily prayer is that our kids will continue to have the ability to engage in church, school, sports, and a variety of team activities that teach them the importance of Jesus’ call to love in community 🙂