One-Sided Prayer Time

Saturday morning I woke up super determined to accomplish my huge to-do list. I even wrote it all down (OCD probably).  It consisted of:  Going to watch the middle school cross country meet, grocery shopping, work out, do my lesson plans for the upcoming week, clean my dishes, and go to a youth group get-together.  I had a full plate of things I needed to do that day.  I left my apartment around 8:00 in the morning.  Filled up my tank.  Got on the road.  And then I intentionally did something.

I turned off my radio and I listened to God the whole way there.  I was completely convicted that when I’m praying I shouldn’t just be asking for stuff, I should be listening, too.  If you ask someone for advice, you don’t turn your back on them, you listen to what they have to say, right?  And let me tell ya’, the Holy Spirit was definitely talking to me.  He told me things that I needed to hear.  I also felt extremely at peace during my drive there.

So I get to Hugoton and the meet was about to start in fifteen minutes. I stopped at a gas station and got one of my favorite snacks, banana chips!  As I was pulling out of the parking lot my phone rang and it was the athletic director at the high school.  He asked if I would come help out at the volleyball tournament.  I was in a dilemma.  I had told some students that I would be at the cross country meet but I had also told the AD a few weeks ago,  “If you ever need any game workers let me know.”  He sounded really desperate, so I said yes.  I did a u-turn and drove all the way back to Liberal.  I was kind of annoyed, not with him, but with myself, because I had just drove all the way to Hugoton to support my kiddos and I was driving back and I thought to myself, “Wow, so I basically just drove out to Hugoton to get banana chips…”

And then God spoke to me again: It shouldn’t take me having to drive forty minutes one way and forty minutes back to have an intimate time to listen to the Lord.  Wow. #Conviction!

One of my commitments at camp this summer was that I wouldn’t stop praying for or about something just because it wasn’t being answered. And I was doing a decent job of that for the past few months (I can always do better).  But it’s like what I said earlier, when you ask someone a question, don’t you want an answer?  When you ask for direction and guidance, aren’t you going to listen for the response?

I was asking God for all of these things during my prayer time but I wasn’t taking the time to listen to what He had to say about those things. To hear His response.  To give an ear to His guidance in the certain situations I’d been praying about.  It was definitely a one-sided prayer time.

Looking back 24 hours later, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t just go to Hugoton for a bag of banana chips. I had an amazing time with the Lord just by listening to my Heavenly Father and being his daughter.  God is so good and so gracious.  He has things to say.  We just have to intentionally tune our ears to hear Him.

Prayer time should be two-sided.  The drive there and back… was worth it.

P.S. (I must also add that I’m uber thankful that it was something as small as having me drive to Hugoton and back to get my attention about listening to Him rather than something bigger like a death in the family, a financial crisis, personal struggle, etc.)

Dropping the Ball: When Leaders Cause Fumbles

Football season has officially started. I actually know quite a bit about the sport. One thing I know is that when a fumble occurs, everyone tries to jump on it.  A lot of fumbles happen because the person carrying the ball, usually gets grabbed and it falls loose.  However, there are some occasions when the quarterback, the leader of the team, is the one who drops the ball; he’s the one who is guilty of the fumble.

A couple weeks ago in class I “dropped the ball”. I fumbled.  I was teaching my students, I had my lesson all planned out, but going into it, something wasn’t right that morning.  Something about my mindset and attitude.  I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been.  And unfortunately, it showed.  I was not on top of my game that class.  I was out of sorts and just “not having a good game”.

As the quarterback of my class, I can’t afford to drop the ball. My students depend on me to make the right calls at the right time.  They look to me to guide them and execute properly.  It all comes down to the little things.  If a quarterback throws the perfect pass to a wide receiver, who is completely open with no coverage, the QB expects him to catch it.  He has a job.  If he isn’t doing the little things right in preparing for the game, chances are a fumble is going to occur.  Me dropping the ball in class that day came down to exactly that…ME.  It wasn’t their fault.  It came back to me.  It was my most well-behaved class, too (go figure, right?!).  I didn’t bring my A-game that day, so neither did they.  There was honestly no one else to blame for them being a little more ornery that day.  They jumped right on my fumble!  The only reason they weren’t as good as they usually are behavior-wise, is because I wasn’t as good as I could’ve been, teacher-wise.

I hate when people make excuses. For anything.  Missing homework.  Tardy to class.  Late to practice.  Anything.  I try my best to not make excuses because I want to model self-discipline to them.  I’ll be the first person to admit my mistakes.  At the end of class we had a little heart-to-heart and I said to them, “Okay, today was probably the worst day we’ve had together as a group.”  And there was a girl, at a back table, and I saw her nod her head in agreement.  Even she knew it!  She knew what her and her classmates were capable of.  And I knew what I was capable of.  I told them, it was me.  It was because I dropped the ball.  I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been.  I was doing the little things wrong.  I didn’t perform as best as I could’ve.

I’ll quote my Facebook status from that day: “One thing I’ve learned as a teacher and a coach is that usually when my class or team is having a rough time, and they’re just not “with it”, I can trace it back to me, as their leader also not being “with it” at the moment. Good thing I still have 5 more hours to get “with it”!” (September 3rd)

I truly believe that people will rise to the expectations set by the leader. But the leader has to have high expectations for themselves, too.  One of the best things about being a professional educator, is that even though I get paid for teaching, I’m learning, too.  About myself.  Daily.