“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12
With seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter, the ball had fallen to the ground. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good. The Polar Bears won. A week of sleepless nights, hours of film prep, endless hot practices and a long bus ride to Paris, KY and it all paid off. The final score was 43-41.
The kids were riding high. All of us coaches were elated. We walked out of the locker room and the parents and fans who were still there were taking the opportunity to tell everyone how great of a game it was. This win put us at 5-1, and things were looking up.
It was wonderful to have parents and fans clapping and cheering. It was a sound I had rarely heard before. People were even saying “Great win coach.” I play a very small role on the staff. I help break down film, and help in a few spots, but even in that small role I play, those compliments were music to my ears.
That night, after we walked past the 5th or 6th straight “great game/job/win Coach!” one of the other coaches took me aside. He has been coaching longer than me and had some advice to pass down that had been given to him. “If you believe them tonight, then you’ve got to believe them on the nights when they’re telling you how bad you are too, and trust me, those nights, they’ll come.”
It took me down from my momentary high, but it was such a sobering reminder. And the ways that to apply it are innumerable. The same people who call you good looking will be the same people who call you ugly later. The boss who tells you that you’re a fantastic employee can just as quickly tell you that your work is below average. The coach who tells you you’re fantastic can equally call you worthless. The lesson learned is simple: Don’t let other people’s words define you or I.
Of course, if you’re anything like me, that’s not easy. But it’s reality. The struggle is to make sure that we’re defined, not by the names other people call us, not by the accolades or the criticisms, but we must remember we’re defined by a much more important label: Child of God.
Good coach, bad coach. star player, bench warmer, great dad, awful dad, smart, dumb, pretty, ugly. None of those labels matter as much as the one label, the one that gives us the right to become a child of the creator and maker of all things. Let this serve as a reminder, that we aren’t what they say we are. We are a child of the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and He calls us His own.
– Benjamin Stroup
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