For most, August means the start of another school year but for me, it also means that volleyball season is right around the corner. Fall is a whirlwind of craziness, excitement, and stress for about 2 months before the final hoorah at Union’s tournament. When the season first kicks off, there’s a good week of sore muscles and laughing at my rusty skills before I get back into the swing of things. Back in August when the season started, we had a challenge ahead of us: new positions and rotations. Though the rotations weren’t difficult to master, I began to realize that I was facing an obstacle I hadn’t considered - lack of trust.
For the last couple of years, I’ve played solely as a setter. This season, our new positions gave me the chance to have more time at the net as a hitter. It’s been great! But, little did I know, the years of practice in one position made it difficult for me to trust myself in another. All of a sudden, I felt out of place and very uncomfortable in a space that I had never been in. I lacked confidence in myself and there were times when we, as a team, struggled to trust each other. Volleyball requires trust. As setter, you have to trust that your teammates are ready and in a position to hit the ball. (Or else it drops and that’s just awkward all the way around) As a hitter, you have to trust that your teammates are covering your back so that you can swing hard. When we trust each other, we play hard for each other. If communication breaks down, our teamwork falls apart and it becomes easy to point at individuals’ mistakes because we’ve lost the team mindset.
I was thinking about how similarly we tend to operate as Christ followers. We read verses about ‘living together in unity’ and ‘having one mind’ but often times I wonder what that really looks like. How can we work together as a team to reach people? Do we trust each other enough to journey through life’s ups and downs together? Do we gather around our people when things don’t go so well?
One evening after a practice, I sat down with a teammate and we talked about the unique skills each player possessed. As the two of us chatted, I realized that our whole team shared the same idea: we wanted to do well at the Union tournament. That’s basically the end goal for everyone and it’s probably the highlight of the season for most players. Although this is our goal, the preparation for it has to start way before we load on the bus to drive up to Union College at the end of October. The goal is before us but our training happens right now. As my teammate and I finished our conversation, we both decided that ultimately, our team needed to trust each other. That mindset would help push us towards our goal during the training time.
Though looking forward to Union’s tournament is exciting, it pales in comparison to a bigger life goal I have: heaven. As I’ve thought about it, I see that though heaven is an end goal, the journey of knowing Jesus is happening right now. Being in the presence of God doesn’t begin once He comes back. The preparation is already in full swing. I want to encourage all of us to take a look at our hearts and the goals we’ve set. Can we, as a body and a team, use this time as preparation for eternity? Let’s set our eyes on the goal as we grow in Christ. - Jenna Gibson