I have never cared about sports of any kind. Then I got married.

For the last two years, I have been in boot camp, learning to be the wife of an avid sports lover. Any game involving a ball makes my otherwise attentive husband oblivious to the world around him.

To keep harmony in my home and avoid being a nagging wife, I sometimes sit with him through the games, absorbing more information than I will ever need or use. I have learned about teams, players, touchdowns, field goals, offense and defense, and good versus poor sportsmanship.

Players who spend time on the bench consistently catch my attention. Whether they’re there because of injury, poor performance, or not following the game plan or their coach’s lead, being benched is a big deal. It can be a temporary setback, or it can define their career.

The player’s attitude and ability to receive correction and instruction is what makes the difference. Those who decide to use the experience to gain wisdom and guidance are likely to emerge as better players and possibly even better people.

The same principles apply to our life and our walk with Jesus. My ultimate bench experience happened the third time I went to prison. The first two times I got locked up, I didn’t know the Lord, and I wasn’t interested in trying to do better in life.

I didn’t see myself as the problem. I blamed other people and my circumstances for where I had wound up. The chaos and dysfunction of my life had become comfortable, so it didn’t even occur to me that I should try to change.

But after 25 years of repeating the same cycle, I was barely alive and exhausted from doing things my way. In His grace and mercy, God put me on the bench, and I finally realized my need for Him. There, I surrendered my life to Jesus and decided to let Him be the head coach of my life.

I spent the rest of my prison time immersed in my Bible. It’s God’s playbook for a meaningful life (Hebrews 4:12). If you want lasting transformation, God’s Word is where you’ll find it.

Once released, I surrounded myself with like-minded people who were invested in my success. Five years later, they still take the time to walk with me, share their wisdom, and cover me in prayer as I learn to live for Christ. When I mess up or when my thinking is skewed or I misbehave, they don’t just tell me what they think I want to hear. They tell me the truth about myself and lovingly redirect me to God’s Word.

No matter how you get to the bench, trust that God knows what’s best for you. He may require you to sit it out with Him several times throughout your life. Our heavenly Father deals with us individually according to what we need (Hebrews 12:7). If He puts you on the bench, sit there and learn!

Is yours a physical bench or an invisible one? Are you in a season of correction? Maybe God wants you to be still for a while and get your priorities straight. Pay attention! Look for the lessons and the wisdom around you. More importantly, listen for God.

Spend your time on the bench wisely. Ask the Lord to show you in His Word how to change, how to break old habits and behaviors, and how to become more like Him. God disciplines you because He loves you (Proverbs 3:12). He wants you to become everything He created you to be—for your good and His glory (Ephesians 1:4–6).


CHRISTINA KIMBREL serves as Victorious Living’s production manager. Once incarcerated, she now ministers hope to those held captive by their past and current circumstances while sharing the message of healing she found in Jesus.