I will only be coaching two seasons next year.
As of this month, I have taken a one year leave of absence from coaching high school girls basketball. For the first time in 24 years, my holidays will not be filled with non-stop action but instead with rest and a focus on family. For those of you that know me well, you might be a bit shocked that I’m taking something off my plate. With the arrival of our third kiddo this fall, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to handle a preschooler, a toddler, and a newborn. Or that my husband would want to handle all of that after a long workday so I could be out coaching.
Priorities, choices, and humility
If you read this post back in January, you might have caught of glimpse of this rumbling beneath the surface. I didn’t even know I was pregnant when I wrote it but God had been laying on my heart the idea of slowing down and making tough decisions when it came to how we spent time in our family.
Some of the things I wrote in that post really stand out to me as I reflect back on the decision my husband and I have made for me to take time off of coaching basketball:
“I am doing what I feel like I’m called to do with the people I love but some days I feel like I’m drowning…or it just plain hurts.”
I do feel that I’m called to work with high school students…but maybe not with a third newborn. I don’t want to experience that drowning sensation; instead, I’d like to be fully invested in the husband and three children God has gifted me with (Lord willing, a good delivery and a healthy baby, of course).
“When was the last time I stopped and asked myself what priorities I’m emphasizing in my own life and how they reflect who I say I am?”
I have been turning my priorities over and over in my head since writing that post (6 months ago!) and I want them to reflect who I say I am (more in the next section).
“If you looked at how I spend my time from a strictly objective viewpoint, you’d probably say I’m a mom, high school sports coach, and wife (in that order). I’m not sure that’s what I want you to say, however.”
I want that order to be wife, mom, and THEN high school sports coach, with Christ follower woven through the entirety of my identity.
“I especially have trouble with the things that I know I am good at and therefore I assume no one else could possibly fill that void should I choose to stop whatever that is.”
This was by far the hardest part of the equation. Sure, I knew I could pull it off but was that because I thought I was the only one who could do it? Am I fearing being replaced? What if I didn’t listen to God and trudged ahead, claiming to be Wonder Woman and attempting to balance it all? I know I would drop something. When I told the basketball girls I was taking the year off, the thing I emphasized was how badly I want to be good at everything I do and if I can’t do everything well, then something needs to go. After sitting down and making tough decisions, it was evident that I needed to drop basketball during this season of life.
What I am truly called to do…and who I am called to be[come]
I recently listened to a Bible study by Bill Hybels called Simplicity. One of his emphases was prioritizing your time and how your schedule reflected who you were working to become. I want my schedule to reflect the priorities I stated above: wife, mom, and coach with Christ weaved throughout. Not that Christ doesn’t come first – no, I firmly believe that He should be part of every facet of a Christian’s life, not just relegated to Sunday worship services and weeknight Bible studies.
Since I feel called to be all three of those things – wife, mom, coach – and I want to do them all well, one of them has to decrease as one naturally increases (2 kids to 3!). Just as a sheet of paper doesn’t grow when you reach the margins, my time and energy also don’t expand just because I’ve run out of room. Eventually, all my attempts at pasting together a larger canvas just set me up for eventually dismantling at the first raindrop. And we live in the Pacific Northwest, y’all. There will be rain.
Reflecting back and looking ahead
As hard as it was for me to do, I had to say no to one of my coaching jobs, at least for a [literal] season. I am incredibly grateful that my head coach (I was just the assistant varsity/JV head coach) enthusiastically supported my desire to take the year off. While I don’t enjoy wrestling with philosophical questions, I know that over the next year, I’ll need to do some serious soul searching – and the seeking of wisdom from family and trusted friends – to determine whether this truly is a one year leave of absence or something I take a break from until my kids are bigger. I will keep praying, keep reading, and keep seeking, trusting that the Lord has this all under control and that He will reveal His will to be in due time. Until then, I’ll stay at peace with my current decision and look forward to watching our third kiddo learn to crawl on the gym floor during the 2017-2018 basketball season.