Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wheelhouse (Reed Sutton)

Reed Sutton is a dear friend. Reed wore many hats at WCS; coaching, teaching, administrative. With his family, Reed has moved to Montgomery, Alabama where he has been given the task of beginning the women's basketball program at Faulkner University. There is no doubt he will be a life changer there as he was in Houston.

When I was playing tennis as a kid, I had a coach who taught me that I always needed to hit the ball in my "wheelhouse". The wheelhouse is the place where I felt most consistent and comfortable hitting the ball. My coach would holler at me if I tried to hit the ball too early or too late instead of moving my feet to get in a position to hit it while it was in my wheelhouse, which was when the racket and my arm were fully extended out in front of my body. This is a phrase that I believe he picked up from the baseball world. Baseball people have been saying it for years. They suggest that a hitter's wheelhouse is that "sweet spot" directly over the plate that is at the right height and distance so that when a batter swings it makes them extend their arms to get maximum force on the ball. It is that spot that good pitchers like the freakish rookie, Stephen Strasburg, try to avoid. There are elaborate scouting plans designed to help pitchers avoid each batters particular wheelhouse. In physics, the wheelhouse would be where kinetic energy meets potential energy for optimum force. The phrase "wheelhouse" is rumored to have originated as a nautical term to describe the heart of the vessel in great conditions where the boat is steered most easily and manageably.

We all have "wheelhouses" in our daily lives. One may have a wheelhouse at play, at work, and in their spiritual walk. Our wheelhouse is usually the same regardless of circumstances. Our wheelhouse is our personal strength(s), or more specifically our God-given spiritual gift(s).

How much time do we spend trying to strengthen weaknesses, rather than developing those specific few things that God gave us to do well? We pray for improvement or read books on things that have little bearing on our specific purpose in life. Referring back to physics, work input in that situation does not equal work output no matter how much kinetic energy one puts into it. How much more efficient would it be to put our potential energy into our gift from the Holy Spirit. So many times I have seen when there is spiritual alignment with spiritual gifts that the work output is much greater than the work input which goes against the laws of physics (these are called miracles). When we turn over control of our wheelhouse to the God that created them, He blesses us. Seems easy to say...but it is hard to do. We want to steer our own ship.

So how do you know what your spiritual gifts are? There are a couple of ways that you can figure it out. The first is by having an awareness of the things that you naturally do well or have the aptitude for. The second is to have an awareness of areas where you seem to get compliments (I personally have gotten compliments on devotionals and speeches I have given but I have never gotten compliments for leading songs, therefore, I try to speak whenever I can and lead songs as little as I can). Another way is to ask others what they feel your strengths are and have an open mind. There are probably more ways, but the last way I will share is to take an evaluative assessment like the one below.

Let me know where your strengths are. Mine are in teaching and exhortation. A huge shout-out to former Westbury Christian Assistant Coach Kelly Edmiston for sending me the link. She was an encourager for me to be inquisitive about my own gifts and the gifts of our players last year. The fun part is trying to predict the gifts of friends and see if the assessment shows it to be true.

I encourage you to click on the link and follow the prompts to begin identifying your spiritual gifts. I encourage my players at Faulkner University to begin thinking about how their gifts will best be utilized within the framework of our team, their families, and the church. How boring would this world be if we were all alike? Find your wheelhouse!
Blessings,
Coach Sutton

http://coachsuttonblog.blogspot.com
www.faulkner.edu/athletics
I Cor 12:1-11
http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1