“It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiiiime of the yearrrrr…”
Oh, you thought I was writing a Christmas blog? Nahh. Those are actually lyrics I chant to myself as the football coaching carousel begins to twirl. Not joking. Every year as the Christmas decorations begin to go up “it starts going down” in the football coaching world.
This year, some of our closest coaching friends have lost their jobs or been asked to “step down.” Others are in the waiting boat which carries those who COULD be losing their job but they won’t know for sure until the new head coach makes hiring and firing decisions. But we don’t say fired in football. We say “in transition.” A great season doesn’t promise security and job stability. Losing seasons don’t necessarily equal instability or transition. Oh, and all this happens while majority of people are “so stressed” about perfecting holiday traditions and all things Christmas. It can be a touch isolating.
If you know a football coaching family, let “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” song remind you to PRAY for them. Do that instead of asking questions about next year or saying things like “I bet it is such a relief that football season is over…” Prayer is better. Small talk like that is actually a loaded question. If you pull that trigger you might get fire-hosed with emotions.
Navigating holiday hustle while striving to simultaneously suppress anxiety about the unknowns of the future is tough. Insert a side of guilt for not being 100% on point with Advent readings and struggling to keep Jesus the reason for the season… whew. Carousels are all fun and games at six flags. They’re a different thing in the coaching world.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14
Team Waites has only moved once in our 13 years of coaching collegiate football. I’ve stopped saying “we’re blessed to have only moved once” because I truly believe my friends who have moved multiple times are no more or less blessed. One of my best friends moved 9 times in 19 years and God blessed her through every transition. In Hebrews, we are reminded this world is not our permanent home. The word doesn’t say anything about landing a dream job, finding a “forever home,” or having a 5-year plan. That’s an American Dream thing. Not a Jesus thing. Jesus actually said in Matthew 8 that even though foxes have dens and birds have nests HE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A PLACE TO LAY HIS HEAD. He said this to a dude that said “I will follow you wherever you go!” Will you?
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9
The world says we should follow our heart. Uhhhh follow the most deceitful of all things? No thanks. My heart is so emotionally attached to the town + staff where we currently coach that I’ll cry at the thought of it ending on a Monday. Same heart the next day can’t handle our current circumstances because it’s hard. I’m tired. Let’s quit coaching and drive for Uber. Done.
Wednesday I’ll fantasize about coaching there, moving here, or getting paid XYZ more dollars. If only he had that position we’d do THIS. We could afford fill-in-the-blank if we were somewhere else. Then like clockwork by Thursday I’ll be experiencing shortness of breath thinking of how devastating it’ll be if this was our last season here. You get the picture. Can’t follow this heart. Maybe I’m the only one, but maybe you relate?
Big Picture Prayers “He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.’” Matthew 9:37
Recently I’ve been praying “big picture football prayers.” There are SO MANY YOUNG MEN playing football and SO FEW Christian coaches working as laborers for the kingdom through the ministry of football. It’s natural to be self-centered in prayer life and thought life. How will life be for me? My kids? My coaching friends? When I zoom out and prayerfully intercede on behalf of God’s bigger picture, it’s relieving. Jesus said we should pray like Him: “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” Rather than reciting to Him a wish-list affected by my deceitful heart and its cray cray feelings…I should probably just pray like Jesus. After all, He is LORD. He’s the reason for the season, because remember it’s almost Christmas. Don’t get distracted by the carousel. Will you join me in praying a “big picture” football prayer?
Lord, Your word says we shouldn’t be anxious about anything but in everything PRAY WITH THANKSGIVING. I confess I wrestle being anxious and I know I’m not alone. Meet us in our anxiety and rescue us from getting stuck in our heads and being self-centered. Thank you that I can love only because You first loved me. Thank you for using the unpredictability of football to draw coaching families near to you. Thank you for the gift of each and every season and how you use ALL THINGS for the good of those who love You and are called toYour purpose. Please place Christian coaches in the dark places where You would have them shine Your light. So many young men who You made in Your image love this game. Our country idolizes it. In the name of Jesus, according to Your will I pray You use football for Your glory. God please give complete knowledge of Your will and spiritual understanding to Christian coaches. Help the way they live to honor You and enable them to produce good fruit in their lives whether in transition or never moved. HELP CHRISTIAN COACHES GROW AND KNOW YOU BETTER AND BETTER AND PLEASE RESCUE LOST COACHES WHO HAVE GREAT IMPACT FROM THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS TO THE KINGDOM OF YOUR DEAR SON JESUS WHO PURCHASED FREEDOM THROUGH FORGIVENESS OF SINS. I pray you strengthen coaches and their families with Your glorious power so they can have the endurance and patience they need. Help them be filled with joy, always thanking You, the Father. You are good and what You do is good. Do Your thing, Lord. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in football as it is in heaven. In Christ Jesus name I pray, AMEN.