These thoughts are to help and inspire people like you and me to reach higher and strive for greater things, to stand for a cause more noble than self serving, seeing the good in others and seeking it for their sake. I unashamedly weave my faith, biblical insight and life experiences into a sporting context to illustrate my personal journey to this point - I hope in a small way, I can help you on your journey to being all you were intended to be....

There are now over 50 posts to check out, tweet, link to facebook or google+ Please feel free to share a link BUT If you use any of the illustrations please acknowledge the source as Phil Manchester, Bradford, England. You can follow me on twitter @philmanchester

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Crouch Touch Pause Engage

With the 2011 Rugby World Cup now only weeks away and warm up games in full swing, I wanted to post a rugby themed blog. 

As an ex-forward I journeyed from the back row of the scrum to end my career as a prop. Back then when a scrum was set, teams simply smashed into each other on the refs signal - crunch (that's going to hurt in the morning).

Today the referee is required to use the following instruction: 

Crouch - the front rows crouch in a set position
Touch - each of the prop forwards reaches out and touches the shoulder of his opposite number
Pause - there's a momentary pause - the length determined by the referee
Engage - on this command the front rows come together and conflict resumes!

Reflecting on what is a great sport and the sheer physicality involved today I'm reminded of the hits we take in life sometimes and the times when we have to press forward against tough circumstances or experiences.

I'm also reminded that there are moments in which things stop momentarily and it is at those points that the illustration from Rugby is apt. At the point of breakdown in play, the game is reset by a scrum and the referees instructions Crouch touch pause engage.

As a man of faith I believe that God can use those momentary pauses in the thick of things to help us reset to re-engage with life. The bible has some great advice when it says "be humble before God and at the right time he will lift you up" - for me that's the "crouch". There's more advice in the Psalms when we are advised to "be still and know exactly who God is" - for me that's my "touch" phase - reaching out to know that there is someone there who is also reaching out to me. 

Then there's the part that no player wants a referee to be too long about - the "pause". I have to constantly remind myself that this phase is at the referee's discretion and requires patience on my part. Sometimes the "engage" doesn't come straight away from God and I am learning patience. But when it comes, I know that the timing is right and that I have the signal to proceed. 

I've had to learn that to engage, I have to crouch before someone with the authority I need, reach out to discover that God is there and then on his signal - bang, re-engage with the task in hand. A reset doesn't actually take long, but is an integral part of the game. How are you re-engaging?