Monthly Archives: July 2012

Team.

As I drove home from a 9-2 soccer victory this evening, in which we won, I started thinking about my frustration over my performance in the game. Why the heck was I on edge? What was I frustrated about? Was it my own performance or my team’s? What could I have done better? I realized something about my career in soccer, and why it turned out the way it did.

I started playing at the age of 10. Almost instantly, my coaches and the team knew I was a natural. I tried out for select soccer when I was 13, and made one of the top clubs in the Seattle area. As our team progressed in years, so did our experience, level of play, and maturity on the field. We were the well-oiled machine most people wished they played for.

I was recruited to a wide variety of colleges, from Division 1 well-ranking schools, to Division 3 schools with amazing academics and locations. I fell in love with Gonzaga a Division 1 soccer program with potential, who played the best of the best in their league. I felt it was the right fit for my needs, both academically and in soccer. After two years of soccer however, I realized the balance of life as a student-athlete just wasn’t for me. I was suffering in many areas, but the most visible was my GPA. So, I gave up my scholarship, and focused on my classes the remaining two years.

As I look back on my soccer career, I have noticed something strange: I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.

Now, some of you who adored my playing may want to punch me right now. But honestly, I have to say, that my personal level of play had nothing to do with WHY I succeeded.

In my game tonight, I found myself crossing the ball in front of the goal… to empty space. I found myself making the PERFECT bending run, only to not receive the ball in time, and be called offsides. I passed the ball to a teammate, and tripped over my shoelace as I ran to receive it again on the other side of the defender, and then my teammate lost the ball.

In all these scenarios, I had a different vision in my head. I should have been crossing it to Shelby. I should have been receiving a long through ball from Shannon. When I tripped, Bekah and Jen should have been there to move forward with the ball and score. My select team, Emerald City, was GOOD. We knew how to play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we cared more about our performance as a team than our own personal agenda. Politics can do crazy things off the field, but on the field we were a well-trained team who enjoyed the challenge. As rough as my teenage years were at times, I enjoyed and savored that level of play with my team because I knew I’d never get it back once it was gone.

I’m now convinced, if I had never played for Emerald City, that I may not have ever played college ball. I would have never seen the fruits of such hard work, because I may not have had a team to back me and make me look amazing. Kudos to all my coaches and assistant coaches throughout those years, who dealt with us “gifted and emotional” athletes, and who molded and shaped us to be the best!

So here I am today, assessing how I react to life situations, challenges, relationships, etc. And my conclusion is that on my own, I can’t really do anything. I’m not whole.

But with my team… well, you know the rest. Our teams in life may shift and change; some may move away and others join in. But when we work together, and take care of each other in our dark times AND in our victories, we can see success that would have never been possible alone.

Dressing for Success

My husband and I were discussing the concept of “dressing for success” the other day. We recently sold our cafe of 6.5 years, and he is now working a steady job at a local food warehouse where upward progress is a possibility. He decided he would start looking as presentable as he could for work (keep a clean shave and haircut, dress well on his way to work despite it being a night shift AND having a uniform, etc). This will hopefully assist in the progress he makes, although his work ethic and understanding of the company will be the primary reason he moves up.

This lit a new idea in my mind I couldn’t resist writing down…. People dress for success in a physical way, but God wants us to dress for success in a Spiritual way.

What this does NOT mean:

– Following religious traditions (even going to church every Sunday)

– Wearing pretty clothes to church

– Always doing and saying the right thing

– Maintaining a rigid prayer and Bible schedule

What this DOES mean:

– Seeking Christ with every breath (resulting in kindness, goodness, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness…)

– Developing a serving heart that HURTS for the broken, discouraged, and poor people around us. We are ALL more capable than we think.

– Seeing ourselves as imperfect. God uses humble, broken people for the best of things.

– Admitting our fallibility

– Seeking HIS will, and not our own.

You see, God doesn’t see us as successful if we are successful in the ways of this world. And even if you strip away our rituals and traditions, He looks at our heart, and how we use His name.

He wants us to dress our hearts to be successful in His way. To love unconditionally. To serve wholeheartedly. To give without hesitation. To hear His voice and follow. To continue when we are discouraged and broken. To see God’s goodness and light when everything in life feels SO DARK.

I guess you can take that as a challenge. 😉