Go to the ball, Jenny!! To the ball! Cmon! Atta girl! Go get the ball! It was a typical Sunday: morning church, afternoon soccer game.

So at a little after 2 p.m., I was on the sidelines encouraging the girls on my daughters team. Im the assistant coach so I was encouraging them loudly and jumping up and down in an animated fashion to drive home the point of whatever it is I was yelling about.

After the game, I was walking with my daughter and we ran into a friend from church. We had been playing against his daughters team, a fact which had escaped my attention during the game.

I thought you were going to jump onto the field there, he smiled. Suddenly, I was running the instant replay camera in my head of my sideline antics. I looked down and caught sight of the "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelet around my wrist. Subtly, I pulled my arm around my daughters shoulders, hiding the bracelet and smiling back to cover my absolute mortification.

Yeah, I guess I get a little carried away, I said, smiling ruefully.

Um, a little, he agreed, or maybe disagreed.

Well, see ya, I said, heading quickly for my mini-van.

Oh, I was so embarrassed. I am an obsessed soccer mom, and I hate it. Yeah, I have written a book on spiritual life, about bringing peace home, and Im the loudest, most obnoxious mom on the sidelines at my kids soccer game. Whats wrong with this picture?

I am way too intense, and I feel like I cant stop myself. Its embarrassing. What I want to do, I dont do. What I dont want to do, I do? Why?

The Apostle Paul asked the same question, and I am pretty sure he never had to coach kindergarten soccer. It might have been an even greater thorn in his flesh.

That was last year. I resolved on that day, and many others, to just be quiet and calm at soccer games. I had little or no success.

Today, on the sidelines again, I jumped up and down and screamed at my daughter, who was playing goalie. Get back, get back, youre too far out in front of the goal!

She ignored me, even when the other team scooted past and scored because she wasnt guarding the goal.

And before the game, I had been thinking about how I should just be quiet during the game, how I shouldnt yell. But there I was, yelling again with the best of intentions. I wanted to help these 6 year-olds do their best. (I am sick, arent I?) I mean, Im the assistant coach. But I was using that as a yelling license and it was wrong. Something had to be done.

So tonight, I had two difficult conversations. I practiced the discipline of confession. First, to my daughter. Melanie, look at me, I have to tell you something.

Yes, Mommy?

I yelled too much today at the game.

You sure did!

And it was wrong. It didnt help, did it?

No. She frowned at me.

Im really, really sorry. Will you forgive me? She looked at me, weighing the decision, then put her little arms around my neck and hugged me. I swallowed the lump in my throat and hugged her back.

But I wasnt done. I picked up the phone and called the head coach of our team. Sharon, its Keri. Hey, Im sorry about how much I was yelling today at the game.

Really? I didnt notice.

Well, I just get so intense and I yell.

You know, I used to yell a lot too, she confided.

You did? How did you stop?

I realized it didnt do any good. They learn more from making the mistake than having me yell at them.

Yeah. Well, Im sure thats true, I said. But I think that, if its okay with you, Ill help out at practices and then Im going to hang back at games to let you coach the girls. I cant handle the intensity.

Sometimes, taking steps with one spiritual discipline will help you take the next step with another discipline. So next week, Im planning to practice the discipline of silence at the game. I will also work on the discipline of prayer on the way to the game and during it. You know, something deep like, Dear God, please help me to shut up. Amen. Ill let you know how it works out. Pray for me, would you?

Click here to visit Keri's Website or for more information about her book, God's Whisper In a Mother's Chaos.

Copyright 2001, Keri Wyatt Kent