Stay in Your Lane

One of the hardest lessons I continue to learn is that I will never succeed in trying to be all things to all people all the time. You may be thinking, of course, you can’t! That’s crazy! But there are seasons where coaching life is all-consuming and I have found myself swept up in the chaos just to survive. Without re-establishing firm boundaries this will happen quickly when the season starts and you find yourself trying to keep a house clean, get food on the table and keep two toddlers happy.

And since coaching is a business there are times when I know it’s best to say yes to things I’m competent to complete even though they aren’t my preference. That doesn’t mean I am willing to stop my previous commitments though, and that’s when burnout can start to creep in. When football and ministry overlap there are times when we run ourselves ragged trying to make sure all the bases are covered in a situation.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that I’m not great at asking for help. When our schedule is packed and an emergency comes out of nowhere, I often to just keep moving forward. I figure out how to get things done with less sleep or self-care.

While I am capable of stepping in quickly to help in many situations, the choice to do so impulsively gets me in trouble. I’ve learned that even though I may be able to do something to help, what I’m asked to do isn’t always the best match for my skills and talents. When I set boundaries around my calendar and my yeses and no’s the outcome is usually best for everyone. Said another way, it’s best when I choose to stay in my lane.

Why You Should Want to Stay in Your Lane

We all have a set of skills, gifts, and talents. We have unique knowledge formed from our life experiences and education. I’ve found myself in situations where I am able to draw on past experiences and empathize with some as they share their hurt or frustration. By sharing what I’ve learned, what helped me, and what didn’t, I can support someone as they figure out what’s best for them.

There are also times where it’s best to defer to someone with more knowledge on a subject. Here’s a simple example: I am a parent, but when a friend asks for advice about their daughter I may not be the best person to answer since I’m raising boys.

When we stay in our lane we understand our strengths and weaknesses. We also have enough humility to trust that those in our community are capable of contributing their equality valuable gifts, skills and talents in ways that will benefit the whole.

We are strongest when everyone utilizes their God-give gifts and talents to the best of their abilities. We stay in our lane when we pause to consider what others bring to the conversation rather than assuming the responsibility falls to us to fix things or take charge. We also stay in our lane when we say no and then trust that others will step in and fill the gap even when it takes awhile to void a vacancy.

Consider Your Circumstances

One of the life experiences I am able to speak about is interracial marriage. The reality is, two decades into our marriage this is a subject I don’t mind discussing, but I used to avoid it at all costs. Even though it wasn’t my preference, we lived in communities where college students who were dating outside their race only had a few couples to talk to, and those who simply wanted perspective on dating needed a safe space to ask questions.

So even though I would have preferred that my conversations revolved around something other than race relations, it was clear God called us to a season of life where that was a part of our coaching ministry. It is part of my lane. But it’s not the entirety of my experiences or interests.

The best part of staying in your lane is the freedom it brings to operate within your strengths and gifts. Don’t be afraid to say no. Acknowledge that there are other people better qualified to do some things. In the long run, it will be best for everyone. The reality is, as a coach’s wife or ministry wife you will likely always have a full plate. Choose how you use your fringe hours wisely. Serve the people around you to the best of your ability as you are able, and trust others will step up as well.

Ready to Learn More About Your Calling?

Lessons from the Sidelines front cover final

As the wife of a football coach, Beth Walker encourages women whose families are in the public eye to pursue their own callings even as they support their husbands’ careers and ministries. Through her personal stories as well as interviews with other women who are also living just outside their husbands’ limelight, Beth shows it’s possible to do both.

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