Posted tagged ‘Disappointment’

Cutting Kids

February 11, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       February 9, 2018

                                            

Yesterday I posted “the list”! The list is the 13 seventh grade boys who have been invited to be a part of the Timberview Middle School interscholastic basketball team. It’s a list of celebration that had 13 signs of relief breathed upon it.

Not on the list are the 28 others who I had to say “Sorry!” to. Telling seventy percent of the boys that they were cut is worse than a couple of hemorrhoids living side by side…okay, maybe not that bad!

“Cutting kids” is also a life lesson. In every aspect of life there are those who are left off the list. Last spring I applied for a head coaching position for basketball at a local high school. About a week later I received an email informing me that I was not one of the finalists. There was a moment of indignation, but I got over it. Two weeks later I interviewed for another position and was a finalist, but was still not the final pick. In both cases I was not the one. It’s how life works.

For each of the students who tried out for the seventh grade team I did an evaluation that I will willingly share with any of them who ask me. I made the point to those who were not chosen that if they work on specific skills their chances of making next year’s team will improve. Some will make attempts, and others will find other things that may be more of a passion than basketball.

Parents don’t like kids to be cut. In fact, we use softer language as I did in the first paragraph. We “invite” a few students to be on the interscholastic team. If you hear the students talk, however, they will usually use one of two terms. They “made the team”, or they “got cut.”

Some day these same kids will apply for college or submit a resume for a job. When they are rejected I wonder if their parents will correct them and say, “No, honey! You just weren’t invited to take the position!”

Pain and disappointment lead to self-discovery. “I’m sorry to inform you” letters cause adolescents to realize that the world does not spin on their personal axis. If someone is never disappointed he/she will seldom reach for something that is still beyond their reach.

One boy came to me Friday afternoon. He’s a good-sized kid, who I thought would be one of the 13, but his skill deficiencies rose to the surface in the four days of tryouts. “Coach, I was really disappointed when I saw that I didn’t make the team, but I’m okay with it now.” He’s a good kid who I will have in class Monday and Tuesday for the teacher I’ll be subbing for. I told him I’d share my evaluation with him so he can work on a few things. He appreciated that. In the course of a few hours he went from taking it personally to knowing that I care about him. In regards to him, disappointment will make him stronger and cause him to work even harder.

Cutting kids is the hardest thing I do as a coach, and yet one of the most important things I do.

On Monday morning I’ll convince 13 other seventh grade boys that the world does not revolve around them either!

Getting Comfortable With Disappointment

April 4, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      April 4, 2017

                                

Recently I interviewed for a head coaching position at a high school in our area. They were looking to hire someone for the Girl’s Varsity Basketball team. In talking to the athletic director of the school I’ve coached at for the past four years, three of which were as the Girl’s JV coach, he thought I was a perfect fit for the position. In fact, the school’s chief administrator had called him to talk about me.

The interview was okay, but it felt a bit impersonal, kind of like the two people interviewing me were just going through the process.  A week later I received an email thanking me for interviewing, but they were not moving me on in the process. I was disappointed, mainly because it DID look like a situation that I would have been a good fit for.

It was the fourth varsity coaching position I’ve interviewed for in the past few years, and I’m 0 for 4! One of the four I probably wasn’t ready for…and they are on their third coach since that took place four years ago, but the other three I thought I would have fit well into.

I can look at that recent disappointment and pout like a two year old, or go into a personal cocoon for a while…or I can get comfortable with it!

I remember when I was pastoring in Michigan, and pastoring at a church that was wonderful to my family and me, that a search committee showed up in church one Sunday. About a month later Carol and I went and met with the committee in the suburban Detroit community they were located. The interview went well, and one of the committee members even said, probably to the horror of the chairperson, “Why do we even have to interview the other person? This is our guy right here!” We left there thinking that we’d be relocating in a couple of months…and then a couple of weeks later we got the call that they had chosen the other candidate. Once again we were disappointed, but I chose to look at the upside…that we were still a part of a great church family where I ended up pastoring for 15 years.

Disappointment is a part of the life journey for each one of us, but sometimes disappointment clouds over the blessings of where we are in the present. In terms of my coaching I’m still blessed to coach three different middle school teams- one football and two basketball. One of those school basketball teams I’ve now coached for 16 years!

Disappointment can hit us like a prom date rejection, or we can look around at where our path may be redirected. Perhaps our wants are not what God needs! I can look at my latest coaching position rejection and believe that they made a mistake, but I’ve been able to release it and move on. And sometimes…sometimes…the flaws of the position aren’t able to be seen by our starry eyes until we get a distance away from it. That happened in regards to the Michigan church. Some things happened in the next few years in that congregation that were unsettling. In fact, I felt kind of sorry for the person they DID call to come there and be their pastor.

What trumpets in my soul is the fact that I follow a God who desires to bless my life, not shower me with hailstorms of disappointment. My ways are not his ways, and, like an open bag of Hershey’s chocolate bars, my wants are not what he knows I need!

Running…to God

November 25, 2015

WORD FROM W.W.                                                                         November 24, 2015

                                                

A long-time friend of mine who recently lost her sister to cancer wrote a post on her Facebook page that resonated with me. She said, “Because of all your sincere prayers on my behalf my anger (that is a bit extreme) at God is gone. I was disappointed the Lord did not heal my sister on this earth. I am choosing to run to Him, not from him.”

     What is the direction of our run when we are in pain? It is easy to run from the God who didn’t answer our heartfelt prayer in the way we desired. Distance from God is a natural reaction to disappointment with God.

My own running has been punctuated by sprints away from God and slow crawls back to him. My running away in disappointment has sometimes been the result of God not going along with my desire for my enemy to suffer, or the absence of an angelic choir to sing about how my answer to a hotly debated problem is right.

Sometimes my running away comes from the unfairness of life, sometimes it happens because I don’t want to be fair with God.

My friend’s reference to running to him is using the lane with few footprints in it. David chose to run in this lane quite often, but, as we know, he also had his races of retreat.

What is the direction of our run? When the content of our prayers is dominated by the wants of our life we can expect that there will be a running from the Giver of grace. When our prayer is focused on our relationship with the Father running to him will often be our response.

If I am secure in my belief that what God wants for me is wholeness, not hurt, I will be slowly running to him.

We have a way of putting “what if’s” in our theological outcomes. Another friend of mine from years ago lost his daughter in an accident recently. I can not understand his grief, and, therefore, how he is journeying through the loss of life. Knowing the depth of his spiritual journey I’ve got a feeling it resembles someone swimming laps in a pool…the swimming away is followed closely by a swim to…and then a swim away!

My choice to run to God seems much less complicated than his.

This is Thanksgiving Week. A time to run to God and recognize that he is caring, concerned, loving, and kind. In a world with daily terrorist threats and warnings I’m choosing to be in the shadow of his wing…the cleft of the rock…rather than the isolation of my disappointment.

The Disappointment of New Possibilities

April 19, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  April 19, 2013

 

This past week I had the door closed on me twice in regards to opportunities related to one of my passions, one of the things that I’ve been involved in that energize me. Suddenly what looked like a new venture, a new chapter, became a brick wall. A few days the brick wall re-emerged in regards to another possibility.

What does a person do when the wind is taken out of the sail? I admit that my initial reaction was one of self-pity and confusion. My ego jumped into the ring and became the center of attention. When the situation revolves around something that we are passionate about it is easy to go that way. Most of us believe that our giftedness is always affirmed with a “yes”, as it relates to the area we are gifted in. Our value gets tied up with the opportunity.

When our passions, experience, and skill get presented with a new opportunity that is seemingly in perfect harmony with them we assume this is the way of God. This is the door that is being opened for us. We even spiritualize it by saying that all we need to do is have faith to walk through it.

But there are times when perfect alignment is not the tell-tale sign that this is what God was preparing for us all along.

Sometimes God is in the closed doors! That’s hard for most of us to hear because we believe more in open doors than closed doors. Closed doors require us to look further. Closed doors make us wait. Closed doors can sometimes even be an indication that a chapter has ended. We’d prefer a “Let’s Make A Deal” scenario where we get to choose between three doors instead of two closed doors and one open.

I remember a number of years ago being contacted by a pastoral search committee. One Sunday they inconspicuously visited the worship service at the church I pastored. Carol and I met with them about a month later “on their turf” and, from all indications, we felt God was calling us to move there. Then, in the midst of that, they went in another direction. We were disappointed, but ultimately the church I was pastor of went through a new period of fruitfulness.

It is hard to see the possibilities in rejection. It requires a willingness to trust that God knows what he is doing, and that he desires the best for each one of us… that hard news can lead us to good news.

It encourages me to know that God even gave stop signs to Paul and Silas. In Acts 16:6-7 we read of how the Holy Spirit kept them from preaching in certain areas, while not letting them even enter into other areas. It doesn’t take a seminary professor to be able to determine that Paul was being very effective in his ministry. You would think that all doors would be opened to him! But God had specific plans for him. A closed door one moment could be connected to a fulfilled purpose a few years down the road.

So my discouragement is tinted by eyes looking for new directions. The glare of being turned down will gradually dim and suddenly there in front of me will be the defined way.