When Choosing the Hard Way is Worth It

I’m a coach. It’s actually what I went to school for. I thought I was going to be a teacher and a coach. Yet for the last 20 years I have been a musician/songwriter/worship leader for a vocation. Can’t make it up. :)

It’s crazy how being a coach is kinda like being a worship leader/pastor. In both roles you get to pour into other peoples’ lives and try to do what ever you can to help them be successful. I love both of these roles.

I am a coach of girl’s varsity basketball at a Christian school. Doing that while being on the road doing concerts is a crazy experience, but my staff, family, and the school are very helpful to make it work. My daughter Allison plays for the team and so that is a deeper blessing to do this.

Entering this season we had a total of eight girls for the whole varsity team: two juniors, five freshmen, and an eighth grader. Only four of them played varsity last year.

We’re not big and not super fast. We have no real superstars. On the first day of practice, we all understood that every girl was going to have to learn nearly every position and be willing to do things she had not done before.

We would also need to be the most in-shape team we’ve ever been because with so few players, if we were going to win games, we would have to run the floor better than anyone.

One of the hardest things was learning to practice offense and defense. We had no one to play against. You need ten; we had eight. The assistant coaches would admirably stand in but it’s not the same.

We literally would learn during games because finally we had competition. Our timeouts during games were more about teaching and learning than motivation and adjustments.

The deck was stacked against these girls.

They are young, small in size, and small in numbers. Injuries would have to be non-existent, they’d have to learn on the fly during games, and they’d have to learn to play as five girls on the floor knowing what every position does in case they needed to play it.

It would take these girls self-discipline, mental toughness, physical stress, and, most of all, a will to not quit or say it’s not worth it.

We started our season on November 18th. We ended our season on March 7th.

The result? 20-4 Regular season and conference tournament champions!

Conference Champions! The joy of accomplishing the hard thing!

Conference Champions! The joy of accomplishing the hard thing!

Pretty fun I must tell you. When I heard them cheer, it was actually like all the tense air of the long practices, bumps and bruises, and mental fatigue just disappeared like fog being burned away by the sun.

What does this have to do with us? Let’s get excited about doing hard things this spring.

Our world is about shortcuts. It’s why the escalator is packed with people but the staircase is empty.

We’re looking for easier ways to get things done with less investment, less effort, and less risk.

“Get cash instantly.”
“Lose 20 pounds in one week!”
“Become a millionaire overnight!”
“Have it delivered tomorrow.”
“Quick assembly.”

Conveniences aren’t always a bad thing.

But there are experiences we’re missing out on because we’re looking for the easiest way rather than doing whatever it takes to do it right. Sometimes doing it right is hard.

“Indolence wants it all and gets nothing; the energetic have something to show for their lives.” Proverbs 13:4 The Message

I want to have something to show for my life. I bet you do too.

What is something hard you want to do?

Write a book? Run a marathon? Forgive? Make something from scratch? Invite the difficult co-worker to your church?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. It’s my way of cheering for you.

Who knows, even with the odds stacked against you, you might still come out conference champions.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Choosing to Lead

My parents are heroes in my life. I lost both of them at younger ages but I am grateful for the time I had with them and the impact they’ve had both on my life and the lives of others.

Over the years, I’ve met so many people who knew my parents and were affected by them in some way. Strangers come up and tell me stories of my parents loving service, strength to hold fast, and their effort to do everything with excellence and 100 percent heart.

I have even had people come to me and tell me how they disagreed with my folks in some way and how even then they felt like my folks were their friends.

My parents were willing to make hard, unpopular decisions. Not because they wanted to but because it was best and right in the sight of God’s goodness. Their heart was to put up the good fight for those who couldn’t help themselves like those in poverty or foster care, refugees, or hurting friends who needed an advocate.

My parents didn’t just take on a cause to take on the cause. They truly stood with resolve behind what they believed in.

When they were alive, I never understood how powerful the commitment to stand for what you believe in would have a lasting impact.

Allan and Sylvia Eide

I just remember them talking late into the night about the struggle of feeling like an island with no emotion left to offer because of untrue rumors, getting excluded in community circles, and even having hurtful things being said to their face because others didn’t agree with what they were doing.

Understand my folks were not perfect or rebels. Far from it. They just stood firm with hard decisions because of Christ because it was right and what is the point of something that is good if you don’t fight for it.

Remembering these characteristics of my parents is extra precious because there have been many times I have felt like I’ve been in some similar situations.

I’ve had to make some hard decisions regarding leadership positions I’ve been entrusted to. Like my folks I tried to make nothing in haste, sought a lot of counsel, and prayed through it extensively. I feel good about my decisions.

Yet every decision still involves trust and usually affects other lives.

I have tried to my best ability to be loving without vacillating on the choices that seem to be the best.

The hardest part is probably hearing information that is going around that isn’t accurate and knowing that people are responding negatively without having all the pieces to the puzzle in any of those situations.

It’s hard to resist the temptations of trying to control the info or attacking with self-righteousness to bring justice where I think it’s needed. Those never produce good fruit.

I am blessed with friends, colleagues, coministers who stand with me and are for me. Still sometimes you can feel pretty alone. It’s part of leadership and being committed to what you believe.

Maybe that’s one the reasons why the Bible talks about trusting in the Lord with all of your heart and leaning not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It’s interesting that God talks about the heart in this verse when it’s the mind and all the “possible scenarios” of what people are saying or doing that fuels fear and hurt.

Is it because whatever a person speaks usually reflects what’s in their heart?

Is it because the heart is often the metaphor of where Christ lives?

Is it because the heart is how we describe our passions, our loves, and dreams, and God wants us to give all of that to Him daily?

Maybe yes to all three.

To be very open with you: those times are really hard and that’s ok.

When I’m in it, I don’t know who will like me and who won’t in the end. I might learn that I need to do things differently. I’m totally fine with that as long as integrity is kept.

I always want to see God’s Kingdom come and all involved see how much God adores them and loves them in this.

I also do not want to live in my wounds or fear and lean on my own understanding. I’ve always hoped that one day my children will hear from others about how their dad helped them or made a difference so they can be encouraged to fight the good fight.

Here is my take away…

I can’t lead and make choices and measure them solely on peoples agreeing with it.

I can’t make every one happy. Sounds cliché but it’s a reality.

I must, as best I can, try to stay keep a clear conscience before the Lord.

I must remember I may never get to see the fruit of my labor and that’s ok…

Why?

Because the second part of Proverbs 3:5-6 says “acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways and He will make your path straight”

I really want the straight path. I believe that’s what my parents were trying to show me.

God is good all the time.

Peder