life

Help Wanted: Cheerleaders… and a team

I had this friend. She was, is a party girl. I don’t mean that she dances with lampshades on her head, she’s just all about having a good time. And she was a lot of fun.

I didn’t know that she was all about a good time until I asked her to join my board. It didn’t take long to realize that she is not the roll-up-your-sleeves hard-worker type – which is what I needed her to be.

“Oh, well,” I thought, “she can be a cheerleader.” Except she wasn’t.

A cheerleader’s job is to cheer. A cheerleader cannot be a fair weather fan. She has to cheer you on through thick and thin until the bitter, agonizing end. Her job is not to guarantee the win, her job is to keep you going, to pull out your best performance, to energize you.

But a party girl is not there to pull out your best, win or lose. A party girl is there to celebrate a victory. It’s all about the celebration.

I was frustrated because I thought my friend lacked courage. I thought she wasn’t engaging in the mission, wasn’t cheering the team on because she was afraid to be associated with failure. I noticed how viciously she would turn on her favorite sports team when they weren’t winning, as if their failure was her failure. Lots of people are like that. I’m not like that. I’m a loyal fan.

But maybe it’s just that she wants a party and losing teams don’t get a party.

Anyway, I thought she was waiting to ride my coattails, but now I think she was just waiting for a party.

I was waiting for her to cheer me on so I could accomplish the task, and she was waiting for me to accomplish the task so she could cheer.

Impasse.

I finally asked her to step down from the board because her disdain for the faltering team was spreading to other members of the board.

Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

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6 thoughts on “Help Wanted: Cheerleaders… and a team

  1. Indeed. Sometimes it’s hard to know what people are like until you work with them. And sometimes, the process of discovery takes decades. Thus the Chinese saying, “the longer the distance you will know your horse’s strength; the longer the time you will know a person’s heart”.

    Seems to me it was a valuable lesson =)

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    • The Thursday morning Bible study I attend is currently doing John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping study guide and watching and discussing the accompanying video.

      In this week’s video clip he said that in every encounter we will either bless or curse the other; be for or against them – there is no option c. “You can curse someone with an eyebrow, with a shrugged shoulder,” he said.

      I used to think that curses could have no effect on me (sticks, stones, words…) But then I realized that if curses had no effect, then God would have not gone to all the trouble He did to prevent Balaam from issuing one against His people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely. Words mean things. Words have power. Once spoken, they cannot be undone. I tend to be a black or white person. This is not helpful in counseling. My absolutes may not be absolutes for the people I’m trying to help. I cannot be against them, or I’m destroying any chance of helping them. Learning to speak the truth in love; to let my speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, is an ongoing project for me.

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