Teacher Tale

Competing against Fear

We had an interesting discussion in my small group about competition and whether or not it served a purpose in our daily lives and it got me thinking (A dangerous pastime, I know…).

What does the Bible say about competition? Comparing ourselves to others is bad, right? Shouldn’t we always be striving for self-improvement? What have I seen in my own experiences as a Special Education Teacher? What did I learn as a coach’s daughter?

The disciples themselves argued about whom would be greatest in Heaven (See Luke 22:24-34). It’s human nature to want to perform and outperform others. I do believe in healthy competition. I believe sports can be a source of healthy competition as there are a lot of life lessons you can learn being a part of a team. I don’t think learning these life lessons is limited to sports, but I believe we ALL need to experience failure and success and how to respond to them.

As an educator, I saw a lot of kids fail firsthand. I saw many different responses to those failures. Failure became my BFF, because it is the greatest teacher. If you fear failure, then I think you fear learning. If we encounter failure, realize we can endure and overcome to try again or move on – we develop resiliency. I can tell you it’s a VERY RARE quality to have. It was one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences as a teacher to see a student overcome their fear of failure and accomplish something they didn’t think they could do. On the other hand, It saddens me to hear about young people committing suicide because of a failed test or failed relationship. It makes me wonder if this is the first failure they’ve experienced. If they had experienced failure in a safe environment as they had grown up, would they have responded differently? Would they have been more resilient?

Sports competitions are just a game, but we can learn a lot from playing games. We can learn that our responses to failure and success, really shouldn’t be all that different.

“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me,”  Matt. 18: 1-5 (NLT)



A True Catalyst

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”   

Harry S Truman

He was an unforgettable influence on my life and many others. You were blessed to know Bob Timmons. If you didn’t know him before, know that he will be there for eternity. So you’ll just have to wait awhile. 🙂  I’m not the only one that could literally write a book about him, but I need to limit myself to a few paragraphs here…

As I have been pondering the greatest life lessons I learned from Timmie and have been hearing so many stories from others, I feel some things have stuck out most to me. I think Timmie is the greatest human catalyst I have ever met. Most are aware of the influence he was for Jim Ryun and some of his other Olympic athletes, but those were not the only lives he touched. Timmie didn’t just know those around him, he invested in their lives. He was always asking questions. He was curious about you and your goals. He could see potential in others that you/others couldn’t see. His dreams were big. Bigger than him and his ability. He would always follow-up too. So how are you doing (making progress towards that goal you talked to me about last week/last year)?

He was a great example of Loving as Christ loves us. It’s a tough, gritty kind of love. He truly loved people in that he was not afraid to challenge you beyond your current level of ability. You were left with the choice to respond:

A. “I can’t accomplish something like that!”  = Fearful response

B. “Could I accomplish something like that with (fill in the blank with: hard work, encouragement, help from others, prayer, etc)?”  = Courageous response

The author Don Miller shared that a lot of us dream of being heroes, like Luke Skywalker of Star Wars (That’s the hero example he chose and as a Star Wars fan myself, I’m sticking with it). But if we really want to be used by God to make a difference in this world we should want to be Obi-Wan Kenobi – the hero’s mentor. Obi-Wan lived, learned and invested his life lessons into Luke (and many others that aren’t mentioned in the movies).  Our goal should be to be Bruce Wayne’s Alfred, or Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. That’s where the role of the catalyst lies: to be Jim Ryun’s Coach. It’s very human to want glory, fame, honor and accomplishment of heroes, but not always Godly.

“Ask yourself, why do you seek the Cup of Christ? Is it for His glory, or for yours?” – Kazim, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

“In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ ” 1 Peter 5:5 NLT

Love others enough to challenge them.

Memorial Slideshow of Coach Timmons


Did you skip that part?

Bible in a Year Challenge

As I got more familiar with the Bible, I developed a bad habit in that I “skip” parts.  Been there, read that.  Or at least that’s the attitude I started with.  A line I tended to skip in prior readings of Genesis REALLY stuck out this time around,

“And evening passed and morning came.”  Genesis 1:5

Super profound, right?  Just hold on and keep reading your perspective on the world might shift.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about how that line repeats during creation week and asked why is evening mentioned first?  We always say day and night.  She said, “It’s all about rest.  We rest at night to be creative and productive during the day. So our day really starts the night before with His rest.”  Wow.  I did not realize how much our culture had clouded my understanding of work.  Now work is good, Adam…

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God’s Speed

Bible in a Year Challenge

I heard the phrase, “Godspeed” for the first time watching an old movie.  One character tells another before a horse race, “Godspeed.”  I thought it must mean something like, “Good luck.”

According to the Oxford English dictionary it does mean something like that: An expression of good wishes to a person starting a journey.

God has been teaching me His ways of doing things and this phrase kept coming to mind because God’s speed is much different than we think or want to believe. Reading about Abraham and how God promises to make him a father of many nations, yet Abraham is childless for decades.  God gives Joseph dreams of ruling over his family, yet he finds himself innocent and forgotten in prison.  God, when are you going to come through? When are you going to show up? When are you going to fulfill your promises?

It is really easy to…

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United in Purpose

Bible in a Year Challenge

The qualities of light are fascinating to study.  A friend who had studied the properties of light said when two light sources join the light output is not just “added” together, it is actually multiplied.  When you consider that God calls us light to this earth and if you have studied the natural properties of light you begin to realize how important and powerful believers walking in unity really is.  When we are united in God’s will our output is not added but multiplied together.  I have been privileged to be a part of a few teams that have been united in mind and purpose to bring God glory.  On the other hand, I have been on teams that were backbiting and divisive. It doesn’t take long to discover which is more pleasant, productive and attractive to others. I know how difficult unity is to accomplish.  I also have learned how important…

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Present and neglected

Bible in a Year Challenge

I have come to realize the most neglected life skill is sweet and simple friendship.   I have heard in multiple countries someone share with me, “I just want a friend that will listen and not judge me.”

As I was reading through Job, it stood out strongly to me how his friends responded to all the horrific suffering Job faced.  These men heard their friend Job has lost all his livestock (wealth) and all of his children in one day.  He is sitting with nasty boils all over his skin and scraping himself with a broken piece of pottery.  Job is in a really, really low place.

Job’s three friends decide to go together and visit Job and to comfort him.  When they arrive they do not recognize Job.  They tear their clothes (sign of distress and mourning), and weep.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for…

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