A couple of months ago I was brainstorming ideas to fill this space week to week, and I had several good ideas. I have sent those items along over the last seven weeks. As I was writing those ideas on a piece of paper, I had the thought, “Who cares for your soul?” I thought about so many of our colleagues who serve in isolation, with few colleagues nearby, and whose service is seldom met with the degree of success that most would judge to be worthy of their time and energy. That could easily lead them to loneliness and despair.
That thought brought to mind this verse from Psalm 142 -
“For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.”
I am sure some of our coaching friends experience that sort of emotion, and surely some of the sports chaplains and character coaches in our networks do as well. Again, I ask, “Who cares for your soul?” The more I thought about that, I remembered that I had written a note in a similar vein back in January. It is below. I hope is of value to you.
One of the items of great interest to me in the book, Replenish – Leading from a Healthy Soul, by Lance Witt, is the terrible fact that far too many pastors and other ministry workers are terribly isolated. Too few of us have strong relationships with trusted friends or mentors.
This leads me to ask, “Who is your chaplain?” Who is there in your life to provide the same sort of service that you regularly dispense to others? If you didn’t immediately have an answer, this is a problem to be addressed. Who cares for your soul? Who knows you well enough to ask you hard questions about your use of time, energy, and relationship? Who understands your life’s pressures, your weak spots, your character flaws, and loves you through them?
Are you close enough to your pastor for this sort of relationship? Have you given him or her permission to enter your life beyond your “public persona?” Is there a friend or colleague with whom you meet often enough to be vulnerable about your life?
Although I am an off the chart extrovert with thousands of acquaintances, there are few people I trust with my life’s pains and struggles. My introverted friends may find this even more difficult, but with a smaller circle of relationships.
Again, “Who is your chaplain?”
I meet with two men every Tuesday at 6:30 am at a local coffee shop. One of those gentlemen and I have been meeting together for over twenty-two years now. We three have walked together through family health issues (cancer and epilepsy), a divorce, a suicide attempt, a remarriage, multiple family issues, financial growth and challenge, joy, grief, and pain. Such is life. We know and trust each other. They are my chaplains.
Once more, I will ask, “Who is your chaplain?” I challenge you to find an answer to that question, to commit to an enduring and vulnerable relationship with someone who knows you well enough to care for your soul’s health. The long-term success or failure of your ministry as a sport chaplain or character coach may be determined by this relationship or the lack thereof.