Have you ever neglected to take out your garbage on collection day? Perhaps you forgot. Maybe you were just too tired, or you were out of town. Remember the result? First, an unpleasant odor. Then, an awful stench grows. And then, unwanted creatures such as gnats, flies, or maggots appear. The failure to properly dispose of our waste spawns all kinds of undesirable and unhealthy conditions.
Similarly, failure to deal with our hurts, insecurities, irritations, and disappointments in a proper and timely fashion adversely impacts our emotional and spiritual well-being. It can even repel those near us.
If you want your character as a coach to be one that positively influences others, then you need to be intentional about clearing out negative attitudes, thoughts, and feelings that are weighing you down. As the writer of Hebrews suggests in chapter 12, verse 1, we want to “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles” and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” It’s our awareness of what’s holding us back along with the commitment to take action that enables us to remove our emotional trash.
Since we all have plenty of heart-junk and only God knows everything that is in there, as a coach it’s essential to carve out time for prayer and self-evaluation. Are you asking God to show you what grudges or other negative thoughts and feelings you’ve grown accustomed to, are ignoring, or can’t see? Here are a couple of questions to help you get started. (You’ll find a complete list, along with practical strategies for removing them, in Taking Out Your Emotional Trash).
- What unfulfilled expectations or desires have become distorted by wrong thinking?
Sometimes our legitimate desires or unmet expectations can subtlety or not so subtly become something we believe we need. For example, maybe you desire a calendar filled with coaching clients. Before long you may come to believe it is essential to your well-being. You become fixated on fulfilling this desire. Your thoughts, words, and actions become all consuming to the detriment of your relationships or even your health. You may even become angry with God.
There is a fine line between planning and hoping a desire will be met and expecting and/or demanding that it be met. Be willing to grieve the loss of your desires when they aren’t fulfilled according to your time frame. Surrender what can’t be met right now or might never be met so that you can embrace the reality of what is.
- What grudges or resentments do I have?
Like living near a fast food restaurant and getting use to the smells of grilled meats or spices, resentment is something we quickly grow use to. We become desensitized to their existence.
One morning after reading Isaiah 43, I realized I was holding tightly to an old grudge. Just the night before I had shared with a friend every little detail about something someone had done to me years ago.
One simple prayer, admitting my unforgiveness and asking God to heal and restore my heart, made such a dramatic difference. I couldn’t believe how light and free I felt compared to the months before. I wondered,
Trash removal is about getting rid of anything that corrupts your character so that you are free to be the person and the coach God created you to be. Be willing to take your emotional junk to the dumpster regularly. You will not only experience stronger relationships, better attitudes, and less stress, but you will also positively impact the lives of those you coach.
This article was adapted from the book Taking Out Your Emotional Trash by Georgia Shaffer
Georgia Shaffer is an author, professional speaker, licensed Psychologist in