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A Lesson in Humility January 29, 2009

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Uncategorized.
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“Keep your mouth shut.  Just watch… and see what I’m going to do.”

That’s what I felt like God spoke into my heart last Friday night.  Now, let me explain to you why He said that.

Basketball is my favorite sport, yet I never got to play.  It was one of the heartbreaking moments of my life, when I finally got up the courage to go to the coach and ask him about playing for my high school team, and he told me that I would never have the chance to get on the court… that he just had too many other girls that were just too good.  That was truly one of the most spirit-crushing moments of my life.  But life goes on…

When I began teaching at a local Christian school three years ago, I became very interested in the school’s basketball team.  I attended every game I could, and cheered them on as loudly as I could.  I lost my voice over more than one ballgame, I can tell you that.  They were a great bunch of kids, and were quite talented in the sport.  I told quite a few of them that I knew they could make it as a college player because they were just that good.  They knew how to handle the ball, plus they knew how to handle themselves on the court.  That, nowadays, is as important as ball-handling skills.  If you’ve watched any basketball games on TV, then you know what I’m talking about.

Well, due to my love for the game and my admiration of the boys on our school’s team, I considered it my responsibility to be at every game.  I saw myself as more than just a loyal fan; I was a “guardian,” if you will, of the team.  I felt like I needed to be there, not only to cheer and enjoy the game, but also to watch every move, and shout out particular messages to whoever had the ball.  And I would get wound up, so wound up, if our boys weren’t playing their best, or doing what I knew coach wanted them to do. 

I tell you, if they would have given me a place on the bench, right next to coach, I would have been there in a heartbeat.

So I was surprised when the Lord said, “keep your mouth shut,” but I figured He had good reason.  So I kept my mouth shut.  The entire game.  I did not say ONE word.  Not a single word.  And a lot of the kids looked at me as if to say, “What’s up with you? You’re usually one of the loudest people in the stands!” 

Well, the opposing team made the first basket.  And I bit my lip.  Then I watched as our team brought the ball down the court.  Suddenly, I felt the words rise up within me: “Set it up! Come on, guys! Fast passes! Make it count! Put it up! You can do this!”  But I didn’t say a word.  Instead, I watched… very quietly… because the Lord had said, “watch and see what I will do.”

It was an excruciating hour and so many minutes.  But I made it, all the way through the game.

The funny thing is, a light began to dawn inside of me.  See, I’m a “fixer.”  A “rescuer,” and though I don’t like to admit it, a wannabe “hero.”  I love to help people, and I love to be there for people, to help them out of their troubles.  I love taking care of people.  I probably would have made a good nurse, but I didn’t want the responsibility.  Still, I love “being there” for someone else.  And all too often, I will take on a responsibility that is not mine.  I will shoulder a burden that the Lord doesn’t want me to carry.

A friend of mine recently asked me a question, that stung and dug down deep.  The question was, “are you helping because you want to help, or are you helping because you have a need to be helpful?” In other words, “Cookie Lady, are you helping because it helps you feel better about yourself?”


As I sat there quietly, watching our boys win against a team they haven’t beat in years, I suddenly realized: they don’t need my help. They don’t need my coaching from the stands. They don’t need my extra comments, and they don’t need me protecting them from the ugliness of the fans or the team they are playing.  God can handle this.  He can take care of them, and He doesn’t need my assistance.

It was a very humbling experience.  And to top it all off, it happened again, this past Monday.  Our team played their biggest rival, and to get the point across, the Lord told me again, “Keep your mouth shut.” So I did it again, and saw the same thing happen.  A team that our boys had not been able to beat in years, was declared the loser in overtime. 

And on top of that, I was not in the gym at the end of the game.  Instead, I was in the hallway of the building, talking on my cell phone, when the buzzer sounded.  And wouldn’t you know, the opposing team members rushed our stands in anger, trying to pick a fight with some of our fans.  And they were in our stands at the very spot where I would have been sitting.  So if I had been there, I would have had to fight off the urge to go into “hero” mode, and show these kids just who they were trying to pick a fight with.

And I typically don’t leave a game during overtime.  That’s just not something that I do, so it must have been God’s wish for me to not be in that position.  Once again, very humbling to realize, I don’t need to stand up for my team.  God has them, in His hands, and He can handle the situation when it gets ugly.  He doesn’t need my help with this!

So, I still have my voice, since I didn’t lose it by shouting at two basketball games in the last week, PLUS I have a deeper understanding of my place in Christ.  I see that there is a big difference between helping because God has called me to help (which is something that all of us should do without question), and helping because I have a need to be needed (which is something I need to lay down and walk away from).

May God help me to always remember these two basketball games, and what He showed me He could do, and what He showed me about myself.


Today’s Cookie  Crumb:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” I Peter 5:6



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