If I have learned anything in my 18 years as chaplain of the Powell High football program it is how to stay out of the way. And staying out of the way is much harder than it seems. In fact, it is an art form. Staying out of the way requires an active, thoughtful, intentional state of heart and mind. It is born out of the realization that there is a much larger story going on here than just you. In fact, you aren't the point at all. Your job is just to show up, pay attention, be available, and listen. Your job is to not impede or hinder that larger story, but to support and encourage it whenever and however possible. Which is an incredibly humbling position to be in.
I don't know about you, but I am not great at staying out of the way. In fact, sometimes my tendency to interrupt, insert, and initiate actually gets in the way of what God is up to, rather than encouraging and nurturing it. It becomes about my agenda more than it does about his. You see, far too often I tend to operate out of need: the need to be heard, the need to be seen, the need to be significant, the need to make an impact, the need to put my two cents in. In fact, I tend to operate out of this weird combination of pride and insecurity far more than I'd care to admit. And when I do this, it becomes more about my story than it does about God's story. I can't tell you how many times through the years I have walked away from a conversation or an encounter thinking, "Oh wow, I really missed it there." (Here's a great example, if you're interested: a do-over . It comes from a time I did that with a couple of friends who were in some really, really deep grief)
So needless to say, all of these years with the football program have been great for me. I need as much practice as I can get learning the art of staying out of the way.