I Got 99 Problems but a Bench Ain't One by Monica Wilkinson

I got 99 problems...

I don't get it. I'm amazed at what lengths we will go through to be seen as the "star" of the team. I mean hypothetically speaking, we are all a part of a team in some area or another. Whether it's at work, at church or in our families, we have to work together as a team.

Here's what I learned from my years of playing and watching basketball. There's this whole negative connotation concerning "riding the bench" - which pretty much means you sit on the sidelines for some unknown period of time during a game. You have "starters" which are usually the most known and often times very skilled players, and then you have other players who act as the support. These players are typically just as skilled as the "starters"... and they are the backbone of the team.

The people on the bench are just as great; just as necessary as the starters.

Most people are totally ok with working as a part of a collective team. With occasional recognition, annual raises and public praise, we can live life happily - being a part of the team; ON THE BENCH. Then, there are those who will break their necks to be seen... Go out of their way to do ALL of the work ALONE. Ensure that everyone knows what THEY did and how THEY did it... Demand a bigger TITLE... Rub noses with the bosses... And step on everyone they can to get there.

Insecurity. It's all a form of insecurity. I know this because I was once that person, trying to outwork and over-please everyone so that I could be noticed as the star. The BEST leader. It took me about 5 years to realize that I was just insecure. I had to let God heal the deep places in my heart and deal with my self-view. I had to learn that I am GOOD ENOUGH. I had to learn that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I had to learn that God has blessed me with gifts that were specifically designed for me. Most importantly, I had to learn that I have a purpose that only I, Monica, can fulfill.

Now I understand that with the spotlight comes great responsibility.

To be a great team player, we must -

Check our hearts often and allow God to work out the insecurities within us.

Celebrate others. (Even when we don't feel like it)

Consistently offer help to those who are not on the bench.

Change the way that we look at the bench.

In this season of my life, I will GLADLY sit on the bench. I've learned that the most powerful role on the team, well... it's the TEAM. Every role is necessary. Every person adds value. My life is constantly moving. I always have several plates spinning at once. My mind is constantly thinking about the next thing... I got 99 problems, but a BENCH ain't one!

Inside Job by Monica Wilkinson

After living in the suburbs of Houston for 5 years, I just moved to the city of Houston about 5 months ago. Once finding an apartment that was in my price range, my roommate and I were excited about the move. There's just one thing... While the view all around us is beautiful, what I see when I look out of my window or walk out of my front door is an unfinished apartment complex. It's literally just frame and siding with scaffolding directly across my parking lot. There's a ditch that's been dug in my immediate line of view; mounds of dirt everywhere. Piles of broken wood, trash and other debris in all directions. 

To add to this eye sore, I hear hammers and drills and whatever other kind of tool that builders use EVERY morning! I mean I couldn't tell you what they are doing because I don't see ANY progress! The noise of the tools wakes me up every morning, along with the noise of the music that apparently keeps the builders entertained. It's so ANNOYING! Not only do I have to look at that mess everyday, it interrupts my sleep and I don't see any progress! 

The other morning I walked out of my front door, looked at that building structure and started complaining to myself; mostly about the fact that I don't see any progress. No stairs, no doors, no balconies. Just a frame with walls and siding. Then I had a thought. What if all of the work was happening on the inside and I can't see it? What if the builders are laying pipe inside of the apartments or even putting up dry wall? What if the noise that I hear (and mess that I see) is actually going towards making the inside beautiful?

When God does a work in us, many times it's an inside job. He changes our minds, hearts, will and emotions. God works on and within the realms that man can't see. According to Psalm 139 He knows our down sitting and uprising - He even knows our thoughts afar off. All of that is INSIDE work! Sometimes when I'm frustrated with my own progress or even frustrated with other people's progress, I remember that perhaps God could be doing an inside job! It may look a hot mess on the outside, but God makes everything beautiful in time.

1 Samuel 16:7

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.