While I am excited to have a great friend of mine, Sam Jacobs, do a guest post today, it does feel like I am “guest post cheating” on Jeff. But when Sam sent this post to me in an unsolicited email this morning, I felt like it was something I needed to share. I love men that are comfortable sharing their stories.
Finding where we belong, our purpose, what God wants for us, is difficult sometimes. Pain and injustice stand in our way and knock us off the right path. But comfort and joy can be found when we understand that God made us how we are for a reason and those traits fit with the path He wants us on. Repeat after me: He didn’t make a mistake on any of us. Please enjoy Sam’s story…
Before I get started, I have to say the Jenny Meyerson is the best! There I said it, and we all know it’s true! It is her ability to reflect on life and truly get to the heart of the issue that has inspired me to take a moment and share my challenges, anxieties, fears, desires, and heart for God as I take on the next stage in my life. So here we go.
My Life Test is on Monday. And the Question that keeps running through my head is, “Am I ready?”
I was born into a family of amazing people. We were often referred to as the Cleavers. I had two wonderful parents and two over achieving siblings who demonstrated how to eat excellence morning, noon and night. And up through high school, I did my best to follow suit. I was student body president, captain of the football team, and graduated number 4 in my class. Looking back now, I feel that God was grooming me for leadership.
But when I went to college, I made a conscious decision to not be a leader anymore. I stayed in this little safe cocoon of mediocrity for a couple of years. In that time, my life was simple. I went to school, worked and coached football. I managed to meet the lovely lady who would one day become my wife. While life wasn’t bad, I was just not being who God made me to be.
And then during my junior year in college my 52 year old mom was diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. In the world of cancer that’s about as bad as it gets. This devastating situation forced me to reexamine what I thought, what I believed, and even who I was. After she passed away following a courageous 10-month battle, I was a mess. It was by the grace of God and the love and encouragement of my wife that got me through.
During the 4 years following her death, I struggled to find true purpose in my life. My depression ran me out of the teaching profession and into real estate, and then I spent time as a stay-at-home dad. Other than coaching and running my house, I still refrained from taking any leadership positions.
Because I wouldn’t willingly step into God’s plan, God forced His plan on me. His first step was to kill the economy. That’s right, it is all my fault! The dead economy led to my wife being laid off so I had to head back into the high school classroom to teach and earn a living. Being back in the classroom, though tiring and as thankless as I remembered, energized me. It gave me a platform to be a leader and speak into the lives of high school kids again. My energy and excitement on the football field started increasing as well. By the end of the year, I was getting pushed into other leadership roles on campus and I loved leading.
I decided that the next logical step was to find a head coaching job as soon as possible. Well, God didn’t see it that way. While I spent the next two years looking for an opportunity, God used that time to help me rediscover His path for my life. He continued to stretch and grow me. He taught me about patience, humility, love, and feelings. Feelings had been in a compartment locked away deep in my body since my mom passed away. Slowly, I began to feel again! A lot! I’ve been the macho man my whole life, and now I cry over all kinds of little stupid things. It’s AWESOME!
It’s funny the difference between when we think we are ready and when God thinks we are ready. Finally, in the early part of this year, God opened the door for me with a head coaching job. It is a huge opportunity God has placed before me and I understand the tremendous influence and responsibility He has just given me.
So what exactly happens on Monday you ask? Monday is my first football practice as head coach. This is when I get to see if all the preparation, all the training, all the lessons, all the praying, all the life experiences, have really prepared me for the mission God has planned for me. This is the first time that I will be entrusted with the minds and hearts of 100 young men. My primary goal isn’t to get them to win games. No, my primary goal is to send them out of my football program better men than when they walked in. The implications of that are so much scarier than teaching them just football. I have to get 100 kids to believe that I have their best interest in mind all the time. I have to get them to believe that they were made for a purpose that is greater than they could ever imagine.
So am I ready for the test? The honest answer is no. You see, I’m embarking on a mission that is so much bigger than me! I won’t be able to do it on my strength alone. I won’t have all the answers, and I’m going to screw some stuff up. But I know that when I step into the role God puts in front of me, He will show His power in my weakness! He will show His strength when I’m tired! He will show His wisdom when I’m dumb! He has laid out this amazing and scary plan before me. I’m just excited and humbled to lead by following Him!
I hope you enjoyed this like I did. I am thankful to Sam for being vulnerable and for moving forward despite doubts and fears. I only hope that my children have a coach in high school like Sam.
Sam, I am rooting for you.
Blessings sweet friends – JennyTweet