Updated: Jul 21, 2020
The sound reverberated across the stadium, “DAVID MAXWELL!!!! GET BACK THERE AND GET THE QUARTERBACK!!” Yelling my name was one of the favorite things for my coach to do during my high school football games. His goal was not to make my life miserable, although sometimes I wondered, his goal was to make me better. At the time, I did not understand that, but now I can see that truth.
How often in our lives do we look back on difficult situations and see all the lessons learned from them? We all have a free coach who provides lessons that can help us learn and grow if we are willing to listen. The coach’s name is struggle and his lessons are usually the most memorable. When we go through the struggles of life, we learn lessons that stay with us and shape us. Age does not matter, we go through struggles as children, teenagers, or as adults. Coach Struggle creatively takes different types of scenarios to teach us. The key to learning from Coach Struggle is to listen and let him show us the truth.
Coach Struggle Reveals Us
Struggles have a way of bringing to the surface of our lives some of the deep attitudes and issues causing us problems. These are areas that we may not even realize are hurting us and the others around us. Many times these things are only brought out when we are struggling because otherwise, we would never deal with them. Overcoming is uncomfortable and we tend to shy away from the action it takes to win the battle.
When my wife began her battle with brain cancer, my focus was on taking care of her. The surprising part of the struggle for me was the realizations I had of myself. God brought up to me much of the selfishness and self-focus that had infected my life. I saw the truth of how much I expected the world to revolve around me even when I was playing the part of serving others. That truth was something I never would have dealt with if Coach Struggle had not brought it up. The uncomfortableness of that revelation was not something I would have naturally sought, but the struggle brought the truth into the light so I could deal with it.
Coach Struggle Reveals Situations
Seeing our lives from a different perspective is part of the blessing of struggles. Struggles help us become more thankful for the little things. We start to see small everyday blessings and appreciate them in a deeper way. Contentment flows through us more readily and we are less likely to strive after the unimportant aspects of life. As we go through struggles, we can empathize with other people’s struggles and connect with them on an authentic level. Relationships grow deeper and our ability to connect relationally increases. Instead of looking at our situations, we start to look more at the people in our situations. Relationships grow stronger and the ability to enjoy them is richer because of the struggles.
Our family experienced this when we lost almost everything due to a hurricane. Our house was flooded and all our possessions were destroyed. However, walking through that time deepened the relationship we had as a family. We grew together and learned the unimportance of possessions. We had great times of joy during that time and our connection grew stronger. We probably felt like we had a strong relationship before the hurricane, but the struggles revealed the deeper levels of relationship that we could travel to.
Coach struggle appears in everyone’s life. We all deal with him and live through his methods. The question for us is how will we respond? Will we seek to listen and learn, or will we defiantly choose to close ourselves to his teachings. How we answer those questions will do more to reveal the depth of our life than anything we say. Our challenge is to seek to learn from Coach Struggle because no matter how hard it is, he is seeking to help us grow and become better.