Do you ever look back and wonder, How in the world did I end up here? When you hear that phrase, you hope the outcome of where someone ends up is for the better and not for the worse. I know for myself, I often look back with gratitude on where I ended up. Ministry was definitely not even close on the radar when it came to career plans out of college, but God had a different plan. Divine encounters and experiences that weren’t planned or expected slowly changed my course for the future. Not only did the tug at my heart to accept a call to ministry change my career plans, it also led me to my amazing husband and relationships with people that I easily call my “family.” It is definitely a wonderful thing to look back and see all of the ways God was working in my life—through the good and the bad—to lead me to where I am today.
In Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, readers will also see how God led a young, African-American quarterback on a journey that didn’t result in all-star success as an NFL player. God had a different plan for Dungy as he listened for God’s quiet nudge that ultimately led Dungy on the road to become one of the most successful coaches in the NFL. As we begin to read the quiet strength of this godly man—both on and off the field—let’s take a look at some of the highlights in the first four chapters of the book:
Parents Matter—Dungy grew up in a home that emphasized the importance of education and character. His parents built into him a foundation of faith and character that served to help him when he left home as he faced value choices in college and while in the NFL.
Bottom Line: Parents can influence and shape our future choices, decisions and faith.
Everyone Has Potential—As leaders who are helping kids and teens discover their faith, we need to remember that every child doesn’t wear the same size shoe. That is—each child learns in their own unique way. We can’t assume that every teen will respond to a crazy game that teaches a biblical point or that every child will sit and quietly listen while a Bible story is read to them. But, every child—every teenager—has the potential to learn about the Bible, grow in their faith, and discover who God is in a way that they understand and learn best.
Bottom Line: Everyone learns differently but everyone has the potential and the heart to seek God.
Be a Good Listener—Dungy often wanted God to speak to him in a thunderous boom or loud voice. What he discovered was that usually God spoke to him in the quiet moments that stirred his heart more than his head. When we put God first in everything we do, when we seek His way before our own way—this is when we can know with confidence that He is leading us in the right direction—even when it may seem unusual or it isn’t exactly as we had planned it.
Bottom Line: Put God first and everything else will fall into place.
Think About This
How have your parents influenced you—either in life or faith? How do you learn best? Why is it important to help kids and teens learn in a variety of ways? Describe a time when you believe God was speaking to you—what was that experience like? How can you be open to hearing God’s voice?