“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
The most important thing I ever learned about being a sports parent happened after a basketball game nearly 10 years ago.
My daughter’s team was playing in a church gym packed with parent spectators. Maybe you are familiar with how this works, but generally there is not much seating at these things and everyone is on top of one another — cheering, admonishing, and giving direction to the players. The poor kids can barely move the ball up and down the court as it is, much less with all the commotion from the sidelines.
Our team was darling out on the court — all skinny legs and giant hair bows — but they weren’t exactly great ballers. Even though some of us were quick to shout terrific strategy (“Shoot!” “Shoot!”), nothing seemed to help our team “put the biscuit in the basket.”
After the dismal game was over, I talked to the Coach, who also happened to be my husband. That’s when he gave me a few words of wisdom I have carried with me to every game since:
“It’s impossible for kids to hear the voice of their coach, over the voice of their parents.”
He’s right, though.
The Coach has a plan. He isn’t just looking at what’s happening in the game at that moment; instead, he sees multiple steps beyond the current play. The Coach has been at practice and he knows the roles he has for each of his players. He knows their strengths and weaknesses because he has spent time with them. He doesn’t want the players to be influenced by the parents on the sidelines, because the parents don’t know what the Coach’s plan is for each kid. He is constantly working to accomplish something much bigger than one single play.
Makes perfect sense, right?
We need to help our kids train their ears to listen to the coach’s voice, and we need to train ourselves to resist offering unsolicited strategy from our seats in the stands.
But let’s take a look at this in terms of our adult lives. How often have we let ourselves be influenced by well-meaning friends on the sidelines of our circumstances, giving us helpful direction as they watch us navigate situations of which they only have a limited view? How often have we listened to the voices of those who have no idea what the Lord has in store for us?
So let’s change this up a little bit:
God has a plan. He isn’t just looking at our current situation; instead, He sees multiple steps beyond where we are right now. God knows the roles He has for each of us. He knows our strengths and weaknesses because He created us. He doesn’t want us to be influenced by the caring, good voices of our friends, because they don’t know what God’s plan is for us. He is constantly working to accomplish something much bigger than what our minds can conceive.
Our ears need training, too. We need to listen for the voice of our Coach, so we can be ready when He wants to put us in the game.
QUESTION: Do you ever find yourself offering well-meaning advice when you don’t know the whole story?