Who’s Got Your Back?

Last Saturday I spent the morning watching my niece play volleyball.  As I sat in the bleachers I had a revelation or an epiphany of sorts!  You see I never played sports as a young girl or even as an adult.  There’s not a competitive bone in my body.  Well, I confess there is a little sliver of competitiveness when I’m facing my husband in some sort of game or sport!  I’m fiercely competitive with myself…but when it comes to team sports I’ve always chosen to sit on the sidelines….probably a deep seated fear, but that’s another story!

As I was watching my niece serve from across the court, I noticed the girls in the front of the net had their hands up in the “I surrender stance” which I’m sure they call it something more legitimate like “get ready for the ball stance” and they were completely focused on the competitors on the other side of the net.  As I watched this I realized these front net girls have to develop an extremely high level of trust with each other.  There were many times when the server didn’t quite hit the ball just right and the ball shanked off to the right or left or was low and short.  Yes, even I could notice the difference in sound as the ball hit the hand.  Low and short has what I deem to have the worst consequences as that ball is lower than normal and is headed directly toward the back of the front net girls!  I shiver with the thought of that ball hitting me in the back! (One reason I didn’t play team sports amongst several others…)  It’s up to the team to listen and heighten their awareness of sound, sight and body movement to determine what their next step is and quickly before that ball smacks someone in the back of the head!  Do you see where I’m headed with trust?

Trust is the foundation to developing healthy relationships with others as well as within ourselves.  Our family has endured a couple rough years.  Our trust was put to the test!  I realized I needed a team I could trust to have my back in the tough times––just like the front net position in volleyball. I wanted a team to deflect some of the shanks coming my way! During this time I had to re-evaluate friendships. I realized some friends couldn’t be trusted and that broke my heart. I had to create personal boundaries with some of my relationships; some topics were kept at a surface level and other topics were just off limits. In the end I realized through the struggles of the past two years, I now have an amazing team of friends (and family) that have my back and I have theirs when all hell breaks loose! What a gift this ended up being!

It wasn’t only about trusting others. I had to learn to trust myself. Listen to my gut. Follow my intuition. This in itself was a game changer!  Instead of reacting, which is so easy to do and let’s face it at times feels really good, I would pause and reflect before responding to anything.  In this pause I practiced everything from prayer to personal reflection. I simply heightened my sense of awareness of what was happening within my body and what was happening outside of it. This practice allowed me to develop a strong sense of trust and belief in myself. Within this my spiritual beliefs deepened and fiercely grounded me in my belief that I am an intricate, unique and important piece of this puzzle of life. I imagine this is how each of the girls feel on my niece’s volleyball team – they are each an intricate, unique and important part of the team. This lesson expands beyond the team and into real life struggles.

I’m a firm believer that there is always a gift in the struggle. Whether it’s the struggle of being a team player, the struggle of being a better friend or the struggle of life’s unique challenges, trust is the foundation to build your team of support. Trust your gut. Listen to your intuition. Most importantly TRUST yourself – you’ve got this!

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