Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Word for 2014: Coach

My 2012 word was "courage." In 2012, I didn't re-sign my teaching contract, willingly entered into unemployment, moved out on my own for the first time, and moved to a city I'd spent little time in for a job teaching high school, which I had never taught before. It was a lot. And it was courageous.

After all of that, I wanted a word that was a bit calmer for 2013. I chose "wisdom." It is harder to trace the practical implications of that word, but I think the biggest lesson I learned is this. Wisdom doesn't mean seeing and understanding how each of the pieces of the puzzle fit together. It isn't having all of the answers. Instead, wisdom is often the quiet peace that comes with trusting the puzzle solving to God. Watching in gratitude as pieces fit together. Trusting that God is crafting the missing pieces perfectly. Wisdom.

This brings me to 2014. Coach.

I complained to a priest (via email) that I felt more like a bystander in life than a main character. I looked around me, reflected on scripture, and concluded that I wasn't moving forward enough. There was no glorious, obvious, or particularly noteworthy action.

Priest: God is using you even if you feel like a bystander ... you are probably a climbing hook (others hold on to you) or a mountain ranger (others get direction from you) 

Me: BUT don't I need to climb the mountain too????!!?

Priest: Don't climb, coach

I wasn't a huge fan of that exchange. However, I do think there was wisdom (it was 2013) to be found there.

I need to be content with the role God has in mind for me. I can see many places and moments in my life where the words of the priest ring true.

I've come to see that I waste of lot of time trying to be more than God seems to ask of me.  I want to be Katniss Everdeen, essential to a rebellion that will bring about necessary change. I want to be Nelson Mandela, bringing change to the face of a nation.

But what he calls me to is much quieter. It takes effort to see as fruitful. But it is in those quieter things that I find more peace. I'm not anxious about what is to come. I don't worry about what should come next.

I trust in the life God has placed before me.

" Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." -Philippians 2:3-8

Coach. Not climb.

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