I had the privilege to coach my son’s under 9 recreational soccer team. Sometimes the soccer practices are brilliant, even inspiring. Sometimes I walk away from the soccer field wondering when I will receive my call to start coaching professionally.
This was not going to be one of those practices.
9-year-old boys and girls are at one of those paradoxical ages that are exciting and frustrating simultaneously. They are old enough to follow instructions and yet revert to whining, running in circles, doing cartwheels – anything that is the exact opposite of following instructions. They are chock-full of energy and if that energy is released in the right direction magic happens. However, if that energy is misdirected chaos ensues.
As we kicked off practice the whining began, and chaos ensued. I was certain this was the practice I was going to lose it. On this night I thought it would be easier to coach squirrels. Every instruction I gave was met with reasons why it couldn’t be executed.
Me: Everyone get your soccer balls.
9-Year-Old: He kicked my ball.
Me: We are going to play “popcorn”
9-Year-Old: I didn’t wear shinguards.
Me: Get a water break.
9-Year-Old: I didn’t bring water.
Me: We are going to play “four corners”
9-Year-Old: I don’t like that game.
As another excuse was voiced, I kindly looked at the player and simply said, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.” Her puzzled expression was all I need to know that I had broken through. I repeated softly, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.” Then I had her say it. She timidly uttered the words, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.” She turned, went an got her ball and was ready to play.
Practice continued and as other players began whining, I quickly inserted our new team motto, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.” It didn’t take long before the players were saying it to each other, even chanting together, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.”
It must have sounded odd to the passersby who heard fourteen 9-year-olds yelling in unison, “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen!”
The chaos had been pushed back. The team energy was moving in the right direction. The kids were having fun. It became one of those magic moments on the soccer field.
Where is the Chaos?
We can get so overwhelmed with the circumstances of our lives, the battle with our flesh, and the worries of the day. There are moments where we feel as though everything is lost. It seems like the chaos is winning and will soon overtake us. We long for the magic to appear, when the chaos is restrained, and our hope is renewed.
I want to remind you of three truths for when you feel as though the chaos will win.
- Jesus has overcome the world.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” (John 16:33, ESV)Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus is a way maker, a path maker, a trailbreaker. He goes before you leading the way. He will see you through the chaos. Don’t lose sight of Jesus.
- Jesus uses the trials.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4, ESV)It seems that Jesus cares more about your character than your circumstances. Jesus uses our circumstances to shape us into the person that God wants us to become. He loves you too much to leave you where you are. He desires for your faith to be complete, not lacking anything. Jesus uses the chaos to transform your faith.
- Don’t give up!
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12–13, ESV)We long for God to change things in our lives, our health, our relationships, our desires. He is willing to do it. He is a loving Father who cares for his children. This is realized through faith; however, faith requires you to act. As you step forward in faith Jesus heals.
My Prayer for You
As you gaze into the chaos, I want to encourage you to echo those words of a recreational soccer team: “We don’t make excuses; we make things happen.”
My prayer for you is that you can experience God working in the chaos of your life. As you step forward in faith you will see Jesus emerging. This is when the magic happens. It is in these moments when we look back and see that God never abandoned us, he was with us the whole time. We can sense that the Holy Spirit was empowering us, interceding for us when we had no words of our own. And we see Jesus emerging victoriously, the trail breaker through our chaos.