Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Love is patient.

I coached a U10 girls soccer team this fall. We lost every single game of the season. Our last tournament was this past weekend. Coaching this team has been quite an adjustment from coaching my U16 team. It was a great experience and I loved all the girls...but it wasn't easy.

In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul writes, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

This verse has been on my mind since becoming the coach of this U10 team for one reason- the parents. Most of the parents were awesome and very supportive, but there were one or two that were very resistant and made me feel very discouraged. These few thought that I didn't know what I was doing and that they could walk all over me, just because I am a new, young coach. Most of the time, I had to ignore the things they were saying and I had to be more mature.

It's hard to get people, especially parents, to understand my coaching philosophy, even after explaining it. I feel like it goes against the way that many coaches choose to coach. I don't believe in screaming at my players and making them play out of fear of failure; or getting angry about mistakes; or becoming overly-obsessed with winning. I believe in peace instead of anger; gentleness instead of yelling; unity instead of selfishness; encouragement instead of pressure; hard work instead of individual glory; self-control instead of recklessness; learning instead of 'getting by'; patience instead of frustration.

Often times, my patience and encouragement and teaching was not accepted, probably mostly due to the fact that we weren't winning. And, that's the most important thing, right? Nope. But we are all seeing the world through different eyes so it's hard to relate sometimes. One parent decided to take things into his own hands and I had to kick him out of a practice. Yes, you read that correctly. I couldn't believe it either. Absolutely ridiculous.

Going back to what Paul said; I am young so it's hard to be the leader and enforce things, as a coach, while trying to still have respect for those older than me. I found MYSELF having to set the example. This is cheesy but, I am trying to see the world as God does. That's what we are called to do. I need to continually remind myself that most people are not trying to do this and that they do not understand why I am trying to do it. It's hard to tell parents, "well, I'm just going to try and coach the way I think Jesus would." Yeah, right. But I'm trying to be patient and, despite the discouragement, continue to coach with the vision that I have. Building players up, teaching them, and setting an example so that they are learning more than just how to be better soccer players.

I'm not trying to win the freaking World Cup. I'm trying to teach them to have an eternal perspective and teach them things that will help them to become better people: honesty, trust, unity, tenacity, determination, perseverance, leadership, discipline, competitiveness, passion. These things will then all be reflected in the way they play soccer.

So....how do I explain this to people?

The truth is, I can't. It might not be successful through the world's eyes...but I don't want the eyes of all the people just living life; I want the eyes of the One that gives life. I can only continue to 'live it' and 'coach it,' and, as Paul goes on to say, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Timothy 4:16).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eternal Splendor.

When you look around at the people and the things happening in our world it's very easy to get discouraged. There are people trying to do good, but it seems as if the evil is so much more prevalent and overwhelming. It also seems that, no matter how much we 'help,' there is always SO MUCH more to do.

In Revelation 19:11-21, the writer talks about a "...white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True." (v. 11). He goes on to say "The ARMIES OF HEAVEN were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean." (v. 14). The passage goes on to describe how this Rider destroys the "beasts" and "false prophets."

The first time I read this passage, it kinda lifted a weight off my shoulders. I think the first thing we need to realize is that THIS IS NOT OUR BATTLE. I think it's our job to do our part to provide love rather than hate but, ultimately, we are God's instruments here on earth. He is the supreme orchestrator.

Another passage that I stumbled upon, while getting frustrated about trying to change the world, haha, is Revelation 22:1-6. It paints the most beautiful picture of Heaven. "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city" (v. 1). The WATER OF LIFE. Ahhhh....refreshing, isn't it? I like to think of this beautiful, radiant-blue river, flowing through the center of all the destruction and pain in our world. It might only be a tiny stream right now but, eventually, it will flood and wash over everything. When this happens, "There will be no more night" (v. 5).

That just pumps me up! Instead of getting frustrated, I read this and realized that THIS IS NOT IT. There is more to come. As William P. Young writes in The Shack, "This life is only the anteroom of a greater reality to come. No one reaches their potential in your world. It's only preparation for what God had in mind along the way."