No, this isn’t going to be one of those cheesy “Let the Holy Spirit be your coach” things, don’t worry.
I have had the privilege this school year to co-coach the Maurice Bowling Middle School cheerleaders. We only had 2 returning cheerleaders this year, and almost none of the 10 new girls had any prior cheerleading experience. Needless to say, when we started practicing last summer we had a lot to learn.
At first, a pretty cartwheel was applauded. Just getting a stunt up without falling was cause for celebration. But after a bit of that, we moved on to more difficult things. We learned to cradle out of stunts, and one of my flyers had the hardest time remembering to sit instead of coming down like a T. Whatever else went wrong, if she remembered to sit, we all cheered. And I wasn’t worried at all about motion placement and stiffness… I just wanted them to remember the cheers!
Fast forward a few months, and we are preparing for competition this Saturday. “That motion isn’t sharp enough, every motion should be so stiff it jerks your whole body.” “High jumps do you no good if your toes aren’t pointed!” “You’ve got to ride that basket toss higher before hitting your toe-touch.” “You’ve got to be tighter in that full-down.”
What happened?? Why did we get so hard on them? Why did we get so picky and stop celebrating the small things? Because they matured as athletes and with that comes higher expectations.
Reflecting on a practice a few days ago, I couldn’t help but think about how the Holy Spirit does the same with us. When we first become believers, many of us don’t have a clue what’s going on. God is patient with us and teaches us the basics of walking with him. He convicts us of sin, and a lot of time it is “big” sins that are really obvious in our life. But, just like with the cheerleaders, as we go along, God expects us to mature.
There was a time when I believed that I would on this Earth become perfect. Not in a heretical way, I just figured that there are only so many sins that I can struggle with and repent of until God will have me all cleaned out and polished up. Ha! The longer I walk with the Lord the more I realize how foolish that was! Just when I think I’m past one area that He’s convicting me of, he shows me a new area that needs work.
As we’ve gotten harder on them, our cheerleaders have needed reminding of how far they’ve come since last summer. It helps them realize that we’re not just hard on them for the fun of it, but we are helping them to become better cheerleaders. I find that looking back on the journey that the Lord has led me through thus far and all that He’s done in my life helps keep things in perspective for me too. I can trust that the Holy Spirit doesn’t just like to beat up my conscience for the fun of it; He is maturing me into the Godly woman that He wants me to be.
So take heart, weary Christian, and rejoice in all that He has done for you and through you!