I’ve been thinking about this post for over a year. It’s really a topic and a thought that I’ve had since high school. Something that I’ve pondered on as I have watched individuals in my life champion me.
A champion is normally thought of as the victor of something. They have become victorious and because of this they often are seen as fighting or competing on behalf of other people. In the Hunger Games you would see this idea as each district had individuals competing to be the Victor but it was an honor for their district if they won. They were champions for their people.
But what this word, champion, can also be a verb. And in verb form it means the act of defending or support. In Kaitlin terms… to champion is to make someone or something victorious. To champion is to raise someone up when they can’t on their own.
Throughout my life… I have had many champions. My parents, my sisters, my friends. Aunts and Uncles. Cousins. Pastors, mentors, coaches, teachers. They have all championed me.
In high school… I had many champions. My parents, my high school leadership teacher and my pastor. These people didn’t see me just as the youth with emotional baggage, who didn’t see herself as worth something but instead they saw what God was up to in my life and that my heart to follow Him outweighed my brokenness (most of the time). And so they championed me. They raised me up, they encouraged me, they made room for me at the table. They naturally pulled out who God was calling me to be.
In college… I had many champions. I had district supervisors and staff (Shout out to Dave Veach in the Northwest District!!) who loved on me and gave me opportunities to do and see more. They didn’t hold back but only because they knew I had more to give. I had staff at LPC who gave me opportunities to step into leadership roles, to love on others and who created opportunities to help me make it in college. They saw not only a college student but a minister of the gospel, in many different ways.
And most recently, in the years since I moved to New England… I have had many champions.
I had a district staff that made room for me at the table. When I arrived as a district intern I was given a voice. I was encouraged to speak up and speak out. To lead. When I didn’t feel old enough, wise enough… when I just didn’t feel enough. They championed me until I knew I was enough.
I had pastors around the district, well respected and seasoned leaders, who loved me and encouraged me. They made room for me to be Kaitlin but also made certain that I was a part of this place. Leaders who let me love their people and lead their youth. Leaders who again, made room at the table and championed me.
I currently have a job as a staff accountant with a team and a boss who champion me. They respect my thoughts and give me opportunities to both learn and lead. They champion me to minister beyond just my local church body or even my denomination family to impact the Kingdom in far wider places.
I am being championed.
And I have pastors today who are helping me to make room at the table for others. they encourage me to think differently, to dream larger and to allow God to do more in me. Who have never once told me that I’m too much but who are helping me to be the ALL God created me to be. They champion me to not limit God in me, to not stay rooted in the box of conformity, but to be open wide to the limit that is only God’s Word.
They champion me.
The other day at staff meeting, one of our pastors mentioned that in many of the letters that Paul writes he addresses the letter as coming from both himself and Timothy. Paul puts Timothy on the same level as himself. He gives Timothy equity with just a few words. Paul champions Timothy.
In my own life, I have so many instances to champion people. I have leaders who are capable who just don’t know it. I have youth who are made for more, who can’t even see past high school. I have college students just wanting to know that they belong. I have friends in my community loving God as best they can.
And the question that I am faced with is this, will I champion them?
Will I make room at the table, will I allow their voices to be heard?
Will I make them victorious, no matter the cost to myself?
Will I champion now?