by Shannon Caughey
Coaches can struggle with all kinds of insecurities. Am I winning enough? Am I in danger of being fired or replaced? What do people think of me? Do my athletes respect me? Do they like me? What if parents are upset with me?
When we struggle with insecurities, our approach to coaching and living is tainted by fear. We fear failure, or disappointing people, or not having control over a situation. We’re afraid that others might not think we’re competent enough or successful enough. Like an athlete who is weighed down by fear rather than playing with freedom, our insecurities hinder us from coaching and living to our full potential.
At the root of these insecurities is the tendency to look for our sense of identity and value in coaching. But this is not God’s good design for us. We can instead know the joy of being a Romans 8 coach. In this series of devotions, we’re exploring how this much-loved chapter of Scripture directs us to embrace rich truths about who we are and how we live as followers of Jesus Christ—especially through the Spirit’s presence and work in us.
Romans 8:15-16 points to how we get out from under insecurities so that we can live and coach with true freedom rather than fear: “15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”
When we respond in faith to Jesus Christ and his work on our behalf, we not only receive forgiveness for all our sins and new, eternal life with him. We are also adopted into God’s family. He chooses us to be his children. More than being citizens of his kingdom, we are sons and daughters of the King. Our identity and value are now found in being God’s children.
God wants us to live day by day with the security of knowing we belong to his family. That’s why part of the ministry of his Spirit—who comes and dwells within us when we put our trust in Christ—is to continually “affirm that we are God’s children.” The Spirit leads us to call God “Abba”: an Aramaic word for “father” that expresses relational closeness. Rather than “fearful slaves” who are worried about judgment and punishment, we are secure in our Father’s love for us as his children.
When you embrace this truth, Coach, it changes how you respond to factors that may have previously stirred insecurities. You do your best to succeed in competition, but your value is not defined by how much you win or what others think of you. You are secure in being a child of God. You are secure in being loved by him not because of anything you’ve done or could ever do, but because this is who he is: your loving Father who has adopted you into his family. Out of this security, you are free to love your athletes well and lead them toward the Lord’s good design—regardless of their response to you.
When you sense insecurities creeping in or fears affecting you, renew your commitment to listening to the Spirit who dwells within you. This is what he says is true of you: you are a child of God. Respond to what the Spirit directs you to do: call upon your Heavenly Father who loves you, and rest in his gracious work in your life.
Embrace being a Romans 8 coach whose identity and value are secure in being a member of God’s family.
For reflection: Renew your commitment to listening to God’s Spirit as he reminds you that you are secure in being adopted into God’s family. Bring any insecurities you’re currently experiencing to your Heavenly Father, resting in his loving care for you.