When I was in junior high school, my parents decided to put me into a Christian school. In an attempt to make friends, I joined the basketball team. Up to that point I had danced ballet and tap, taken gymnastics and played piano, but I had never played a team sport before. The first practice was so exciting for me! It wasn’t a strict practice that day, rather it was a huge group and everyone got a chance to show their skill levels while the coaches began to decide who would be on each team. The exhilaration I felt running up and down the court with friends guarding and shooting, etc. was overwhelming. When the coach had me sit so the next group could go out, I was still on cloud nine. An older girl came and sat next to me and asked what I thought about playing. I excitedly said how I loved it and couldn’t wait to go back onto the court again. She said, “Oh, you should go tell the coach you want to go back out again, they really love when you do that.” I said, “Really?” This was all new to me and I was extremely trusting and naïve. She again encouraged me to go speak up, so I quietly walked over and stood next to one of the coaches and said I’d really like to go play again. Well, I think you know how this ended. He yelled at me and scolded me for having the audacity to ask him that question and said he was the coach and would make that decision, not me. I was completely humiliated. As I walked back to my seat, I saw the girl who had encouraged me to speak to him laughing at me. Then I knew, she had done it on purpose. Not only did I feel totally betrayed by this person, I couldn’t figure out why she would’ve done that, and I barely got to play again the rest of the season. That was the full extent of my basketball career. It’s amazing how telling such an old story can still make my heart feel pain and betrayal, but it does. While thinking about this story last night, in preparation to write, I had to again pray forgiveness over that person and over my own foolishness. I was young and naïve and really didn’t do anything wrong, but I’ve had to deal with shame over the incident.
Fortunately, I’ve learned that God can use any situation for His good in your life. What I gleaned from that situation was to never self-promote. I know that if I put myself in a position then it’s up to me to maintain that, but if I wait and let God move things in His timing, He will maintain everything for me. In my life right now, there are a few places where I am waiting for God to move me forward. Sometimes, God shows me places where He wants me to move into more leadership, but I am never to take that information and begin to promote myself. Instead it’s an opportunity to let Him mature me in the waiting.
When you look at your life right now, how would you evaluate your willingness to let God’s timing move your life forward? Do you moan and groan in the waiting, or do you use it as an opportunity to deepen your walk with Him? Do you have trouble pushing forward when God says hold back? Are you living in such a way that God can trust you with knowing His plan in advance, or are you needing to learn the art of self-control? That fruit of the Spirit that many overlook or under value. In the world we live in now, self-control is more necessary than ever.
I encourage you today to take a moment and get quiet. Ask the Lord if you are walking in self control and allowing Him to move your life forward in His timing. Let His holy conviction wash over your heart and bring to surface any pride that may need to be removed. He loves you too much to let hidden pride sabotage your life. I’m so glad every time He shines a light on prideful places in my heart. It may sting for a moment, but the relief of removing that thorn far outweighs the pain.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28