Purposeful Faith

When You’re Cheering On the Sidelines

cheering on the sidelines

Post By: Katie M. Reid

My dad said that if I got a tattoo or was a cheerleader he wouldn’t pay for college.

Years after I graduated, I almost caved and got a tattoo, but backed out at the last minute. It was going to say something like, “Follow the Way of Love”.

I didn’t exactly avoid the cheerleading thing though—cheering for others is something that naturally springs forth from within.

No, I don’t cheer on the sidelines for sporting events—except when our kids are playing soccer, then my husband and I are completely obnoxious and embarrassing, we’re so competitive!

But I do cheer for others as they pursue their dreams. I love to inspire others to take the next steps and to jump higher. I enjoy celebrating like a fool when a writing friend gets a book deal or a speaking friend gets an invitation to a national conference.

I am genuinely happy for my friends when they succeed, and I would do a back handspring for them, if I could—I tried to master one in gymnastics but never did get the hang of it.

But here’s the thing, when I see others sailing through the air—reaching new heights—it’s easy to feel left behind, grounded and insecure.

Recently, I confided in a few friends about how I was feeling as I saw others soar. It was embarrassing to admit that I was having a 38 year old temper tantrum—this first-born over-achiever doesn’t like to be left-out or passed by.

One of these friends prayed that God would give me clarity in my mission so that, regardless of what others are doing, I will feel peace pursuing the things that He has put in my heart (thanks Kelly!).

So I prayed this prayer. And you know what I felt like He said? Help others be successful.

I’m not going to lie, this was not really what I wanted to hear! It was, and is, such a pride-buster to my striving and driving self.

And maybe that’s exactly the point.

God knows what I need and that truly, deep down, I want to be more like Him than be liked by the masses—it’s buried down deep in there somewhere.

I read this the other day and it hit home, right in the epicenter of my success-driven self,

“Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?” -Kimberly D. Henderson

That’ll shut you up—or at least me up—as it speaks to the heart of the matter.

Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others?

Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?

Are you sure God? So basically You want me to be a cheerleader, so that others have a greater chance at V-I-C-T-O-R-Y? This is hard on my pride God, but I trust that You know what is best. And, thank You, for wiring me to cheer and come alongside others. It hurts sometimes as I’m stretched and bruised but it is a privilege. Forgive my unbecoming greed for gain and help me to be committed to holding the ladder so that others can climb.

Follow the way of love. I didn’t tattoo it on my foot, but He wants to write it on my heart and help me walk it out.

Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.

Jesus made a way for us by serving, sacrificing and surrendering so that we could be restored to a right relationship with Father God, if we choose to believe and make Him Lord.

He offered Himself—holding nothing back—out of Love for us.
Oh, how I fall short of this kind of love.

May we make Jesus famous in our lives as we bend to exalt Him.
May we trust Him with our dreams and let His Spirit lead each step of the way.
May we care more about connecting with Jesus and being known by Him than we are about gaining connections to be known by others.
May we celebrate well when God brings others success—and maybe even learn how to do a back-handspring too.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

Read more about Kelly

18 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh Katie, everything about this post makes me jump for joy. The writing is spot on and the heart shown is fabulous. I had this great image of heaven pop up when I read this. You were there, but the thing is, in heaven you could see the truth for the truth. There you saw that you were actually playing what is a starring role the whole time. You were in the game! Where we can finally see what matters. Go girl! I can’t wait to see that crown you will one day sport for the heart and the love that you show others. While you thought your role was nothing much, God thought it was everything and much. That’s why I love your words here. I love how you shared this and I love your honesty. It doesn’t matter where you are on the worldly totem pole! AMEN! I feel this way sometimes when I look at other writers too and your words ground my heart. Thank you for this post. Loved it – and love you.

    • Katie,

      Something I learned years back during my coach training is, “if you sense jealousy of other coaches growth, immediately pray for them.” I owned it. Did it. Prayer works, shrinks the sin. Think of what sin sucks from us?

      Also, the way up in the Kingdom, is down. 🙂
      Love you and your words and your heart,
      Darlene Lund

  • Oh, Katie. Yes, yes, yes! This is SO where I am! This year I felt the Lord calling me to be an “Elizabeth”, as in the mother of John the Baptist. A woman who recognizes His call on the lives of others and who then prays for them and speaks life and love over them as they walk out that call – just like Elizabeth did for Mary. A place of putting all envy aside and choosing the way of love. A kind of cheerleader like you are talking about here. And it has been a MAJOR pride-buster for me too. He also whispered to me I need to “sing in harmony” with others. As in, “Stop trying to platform and have some sparkling SOLO career. Let your gifts blend with the gifts of others. Use your gifts to support the callings of others. Sing. In. Harmony.”

    Thank you for sharing my quote, but most of all, thank you for sharing your heart so honestly. I love these questions you posed: “Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others? Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?” Excellent questions I need to keep asking myself.

    Blessings to you as you cheer and as you make a gloriously beautiful difference in His name!

    • Hi Kimberly- Thank you so much for your post and quote. Being an Elizabeth, I love that. I have wondered if she ever had a hard time that she carried John instead of Jesus, I know it sounds silly. But then you step and think, wow! the mother of John the Baptist, what an honor. And the opp. to speak blessing over Mary and baby Jesus in the womb? Amazing. I am a singer too and I really like the “singing in harmony” thing. You should write a post about that, if you haven’t yet. 🙂

  • Such powerful words, Katie. I have struggled with this – feeling I am not achieving, or that my efforts are not flourishing. I sensed God speak into my frustrations by reminding me that He is the God who left the 99 in search of the 1 – and that we should never lose sight of the importance of the one. I know the truth of these words, but it can still be a challenge to be patient and wait on God’s timing.
    Blessings and hugs,

    • I understand Kamea. It is “easy” to say, “focus on the one” and much harder to live that out. The story of the talents is brought to mind. Didn’t He say “Well done good and faithful servant” to each of those who was a good steward of the “talent” He gave them? May we live faithfully and steward the little or large that He has entrusted us with. Hope that you are encouraged today.

  • Oh Katie, you really hit this one out of the park. This is my heart cry, but it’s so easy to get caught up in that left behind feeling and our own insecurities. This got me right here: “Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.” Amen. May each day show us how to be more in step with his Spirit and his ways. Love you, friend. xoxo

  • Asking Him to decrease me so He may increase has always been a part of my prayer. It’s really hard to stay focused when temptations are everywhere and everyone seems hungry for fame.

  • Love, love, love this post! I can so relate! Being a former real cheerleader, it’s so easy to focus on wanting MY team to win! And as a professional marketer, I am used to doing the whole comparison thing. More market share equals more success, right? In the technology world, little market share equals product failure. With my Christian writing, which I am still pretty new at, I have to remember to stay focused on my primary purpose: not market share, not even mind share, but sharing the love of Jesus. Even if it’s just one person at a time. The numbers are less important than the impact. I love what you quoted, “Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?” I say that to myself all the time, also reminding myself that I have much to learn from the more experienced (and in my mind, already famous) Christian writers and speakers. I am seeing that many of the people I admire the most have qualities that extend far beyond writing: grace, humility and a giving spirit. I am grateful for you, Katie, and the way you inspire me, not just in your articles, but by who you are. Thank you for cheering for both the big successes and those others of us who are still honing our craft!

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