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316. Empowering Lives with Purpose, Interview with Caitlyn Benedik

By julie

Would you consider yourself uncommon? God created you – you are unique and wonderfully made.   Today’s guest, young and vibrant Coach Caitlyn Benedik, shares her story of how God created her to be different.  She stepped out of the “box” into a fun career and shares her 4 uncommon reasons to live by as Christ has led her.   ****

Kimberly Hobbs   Welcome to Empowering Lives with Purpose. And I’m your host, Kimberly Hobbs. I’m the founder of Women World Leaders. It is our privilege to come to you today and ask you to join us as we welcome our guest today, which is Caitlyn Benedik. Welcome, Caitlin. Glad to have you.

Caitlyn Benedik   I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Kimberly Hobbs   Yes, and today we are talking to you ladies about uncommon and that’s a word that is very special to Caitlyn. And as we talk a little bit about her story, you’re gonna see why and hopefully that word will speak to you today. And it’s our our hopes that in you listening today, ladies that this podcast will strengthen you and encourage you to walk in that beautiful purpose that God has just for you. We believe that all of us are created uniquely by our Creator, our Lord, our God. And every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as the faithful stewards of the many colored tapestries of God’s grace. That’s First Peter 4:10. So as we go into our podcast today, I always love to share a little bit about our guests. So today I want to share a little bit about Caitlyn and who she is and where she came from, before we get into her story, so Caitlyn is a graduate of Pensacola Christian cap College where she was part of the Lady Eagles basketball team during her tenure there. And during her time at Pensacola, she discovered her passion for coaching men’s basketball, which led her to Maryland. And that’s where she’s now an assistant coach for the Salisbury men’s basketball program. She’s also pursuing her master’s degree in Health and Human Performance. And when she is in coaching, she loves to read, spend time outside and serve in her church. So today, as we go into this interview about being uncommon, it’s something that really resonates with Caitlyn. And I usually ask some of the women who I have the privilege of interviewing what’s a word that would describe you in your life and in what you want to share with the world. And in Caitlyn chose the word uncommon. And I said, Okay, that’s really interesting. We’ve never talked about that before. So she’s going to explain more on this as we get into today’s podcast. But I wanted to start off with a scripture about being unique. And I just always, if any of you are following us, women, world leaders on these podcasts, scripture, scripture, scripture, it’s so important because there’s power in the Word of God. And I chose Psalm 139 14, which says, I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, my soul knows it very well. And I love that because each of us are unique. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s what the Bible says about us. Caitlin, god, did you with a distinct purpose and a beautiful heart to walk out that purpose? So let’s start here by sharing your story because you were sharing with me. As we were discussing, prior to this podcast, some of the struggles you had growing up and wanting to be an athlete. So can you talk about your growing up years?

Caitlyn Benedik   Yep. So when I was a young kid, I was a gymnast. And that sport is very demanding, you have to be in the gym 24 hours a week, you know, and it’s a year round sport. So there’s never really any time off. And it’s it was a perfectionist environment. So you’re judged on how perfect you can do a skill or a routine and growing up also, my family was and they had their own struggles and my parents got divorced and they’re both remarried and through that, like the environments weren’t very, very loving for a while and I just never felt like I was valued or, or I was good enough. And to add that home situation to my gymnastics mentality and perfectionism. I struggled a lot with my worth and knowing who I was and who’s I was and My value and I desire to be a college athlete. I you know, I did gymnastics for 12 years, and my Oh, was, I’m gonna do this in college, I’m gonna get a scholarship doing this. And then about my freshman year in high school, I started getting this feeling like, I’m not really sure if I want to do this anymore. And I didn’t really vocalize that for a while it was about a year that I felt that way. And then I started getting scared to do skills I’ve been doing for a long time. And for all that I’ve seen gymnastics on TV or participate in the sport, you can’t have fear in that sport. Because you’re flipping around a bar or you’re tumbling over a four inch beam, you have to be fearless. If you’re if you have any type of scared feeling in you, then it’s very dangerous. And so about my sophomore year in high school, early fall, so late July, early August, I decided for good, it was time for me to be done. And that was very challenging for me, because my whole life, I’d been a gymnast, all my friends knew it. Everybody that known me growing up knew it. That’s kind of what they labeled me as was you are a gymnast, and you’re really good at it. And so when I told people I was done, and I was gonna walk away from the sport, they, they couldn’t believe it, and they couldn’t comprehend it. But I knew that’s what God was, was calling for me to do. It was time for me to let it go a time for me to move forward and, and experience something new. So I had these friends that lived down the street from me, we used to shoot hoops on the outside goal or walk over to to the park and play some games. And they convinced me to try out for the basketball team. They said have you try out and make it we’ll come to every game. Well, they never showed up to one game, but I did make the team ever since then I fall in love with the sport. And so I had this crazy idea. Well, I’m not gonna be a college in this I might as well be a college basketball player. And so I just let somebody in my corner know that that was my goal and my dream and he necessarily didn’t believe was going to happen, but he was willing to help me get there. And at least open the gym, provide the opportunity open the weight room, helped train me and helped me actually have not accomplished but work towards that goal and the Lord blessing with two opportunities to college programs and I ended up choosing to go to Pensacola Christian College.

Kimberly Hobbs   Yay. Which brings us into our our next little bit about learning about you. Because this is just this young woman of God has truly captured my heart and talking to her outside of this podcast. And so just getting to know her I want you all to know her too, as as I was getting to know her and she went to college at a Christian College, which was Pensacola Christian College. So Caitlin, can you talk to us a little bit about that it was a strict college, you were saying? And you were not used to strict nor were you used to being surrounded by people of faith, such as that. So can you talk about what that meant being around strong believers?

Caitlyn Benedik   Yeah, so PCC is a they call it independent fundamental Baptists. That’s the conference that they’re a part of. And so they’re very conservative, extremely conservative, like I had to wear a skirt to class every day. And that was tough for me, because I’m a tomboy. So I never, you know, wear skirts or dress up and be super girly. And though my parents had had standards and rules that we were required to follow. This environment was extremely different from what I was used to growing up in. Like I grew up with three brothers and a sister. So I was used to being in the crowd of all men and at PCC there is very strict rules on when and where and how you can hang out with guys. So I was surrounded by a bunch of girls and I didn’t really know how to, to navigate that as that wasn’t really something that I had always been a part of. But through my time there it was the first time I’d been, you know, I grew up in church and I that was a big part of my life. And I always made sure that I was a youth on Wednesdays and church on Sundays and being mentored by some of the older women in my church. If I ever needed anything. I went to counseling there and stuff like that, but I never been surrounded by all Christian environment academically. So to go to a university where like, I have to take Bible class we have chapel attend every day. We have church on Sunday, Sunday school on Sunday evening church on Wednesday and Sunday night so like I’m constantly surrounded by the word. And not only that, I’m a part of a basketball program where all my teammates are Christian. All my teammates study that word. All my teammates profess to live my life on track change. Seeing God and so that was pretty cool because even though I felt very uncomfortable in that environment, the Lord used it to teach me discipline teach me how to respect authority that I didn’t necessarily agree with, teach me how to the importance of having a good female community around me, like now that I moved to Maryland, My Dang, I really need some strong Christian women in my life, whether they’re my age, whether they’re a little bit older than me, because it’s important to be able to have those you can relate to that are going through the same circumstances as you to be able to draw wisdom from there and be able to be turned back to the Lord. So that is, that is why I ended up going there. I didn’t know the Lord’s purpose. At first I just said, Okay, I’m, I’m gonna go there. That’s where I feel weird because I went on to campus visits. I said, I feel peace and PGC. I don’t know why. But that’s how I know God is telling me that’s where he needs me to be. So I just followed the peace and follow where he was leading me. And I can see now why he might.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. Amen. And, boy, you know, some of the Navy, the moms listening in, that are at that have children that age, you know, trying to guide them into what colleges to look at. That was really, that was really inspiring to you, and a lot of fundamentals taught at that college for your faith life. So Christian colleges are very, very important. And we’re just glad that that was a memorable time in your life. Caitlin, so you were on your way to focusing on playing basketball, but you had another struggle in your life. And this is where God had showed up in your life huge, because you had to have knee surgery. And unfortunately, for a whole year, you were kind of taken out. But while you were dealing with that, God called you to the inner city. And so if you can take this moment and describe to us that time, and how it actually, God had a plan and a purpose already set out and how that led you into what you are doing now as your profession, which is unbelievable. It’s uncommon.

Caitlyn Benedik   Yeah, so I had a feeling when I went to college that I was going to want to stay around athletics, and I thought I was going to be in a strength and conditioning standpoint, but then I fell in love with basketball. And so by my sophomore year in college, I had seen this AAU team play. And it was a traveling basketball team. And it was based out of Pensacola. And I’m like, Well, I’m going to school in Pensacola. So let me reach out and see if I can sit in some practices or, or learn from some people. And so I got connected with the community center in Pensacola, which is an inner city, and I volunteered my time for a year. And then by the time I had knee surgery, they offered me a job. So I was full time staff there. And because of my knee surgery, I was able to devote a lot of my time to the community center because I wasn’t traveling for games. And then there are days like I wouldn’t be able to practice so I could go to work instead. And so I really focus my time on that. And the inner city guy just cold call me there. Because like that’s my heart is to help love people where they’re broken. Because that’s what God has done for me. Like no matter how broken I’ve always felt the Lord has always been right there to love me, right in my brokenness. And so that’s kind of why I love the inner cities, I have ability to shine light in a dark place. And to the point of now I get to be transformational in lives of young men and women. And so I wanted to coach and because I grew up with three brothers, I was always around. I have one biological brother, and he’s almost exactly your report. So I was grew up being in class with him. And I always watched him play football, he was a wrestler, he played baseball ran track. So I was always heavily involved in all of his sports. And because of that, you know, I was a part of the boys club. And that’s kind of how I grew my passion for men’s athletics, and then even more so working in the inner city. Those are very hard young men to reach. And a lot of people say there’s not a good young man in the world anymore. Well, okay, if that’s the problem, how can we present a solution and I want to be a solution. And he kind of gave me that heart for those that are tough to reach and even more so an ability to reach them. It’s one thing like a passion but for God’s we equip you with the tools you need. It was it’s just been cool to see how it unfolded. And right in front of my eyes.

Kimberly Hobbs   Absolutely honey, and here is where you’re at uncommon part of why I’ve started I, it just seems like, you know what, what happened through that year of transition and your knee surgery and God giving you this heart and passion to do something out of the box that isn’t the ordinary of what a young woman would be doing. And so he led you to your career right now, which is so beautiful. And the scripture says right here, but now Oh, Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, and you are our Potter. We are all the work of your hands. That’s Isaiah 64, eight. And that’s exactly what he was doing. He was molding you. And he was making you the way he had purposed and planned for your life. And it was something along the desires of your heart already, which is so beautiful, Caitlin, so you belong, you started becoming molded in an uncommon way as a woman at a young age. So can you talk about the boundaries, because now all of a sudden, you’re working in a man’s world? You are coaching men’s basketball at a college? So how did God set you up in that place? Each day, you had four uncommon points, you said that you want to share with the listeners today that were special to you. So can you talk about those uncommon points.

Caitlyn Benedik   So for me, the reason why I chose the word uncommon is, you know, the scripture of like, we’re supposed to be salt for the world, we’re supposed to be set apart from the world and different. And so for me, like that, is summed up in the word uncommon. And, like, that means to me, I want to be uncommon in four areas in my life, and especially in my job in coaching. And the first one is leading people to accountability and coaching all the time, we have to tell kids, hey, you’re not doing this right, need to get better at this. How are we working to grow here, and it’s hard for them a lot of times to accept it, like they’re always in a defensive standpoint. But if I build a relationship, and get them to paint for me a picture what they want it to look like, now I can lead them to accountability lead them to what they said they want it to be. And so it goes from a conflict driven state to now like an ownership driven state. And they’re able to accept Oh, coach is telling me this because I said I wanted to be, let’s say, an All American, but I’m not working hard enough to get there. And now she’s just leading me to that to what I said I want it to be. So that’s one way for me to be uncommon. The other one is loving others Well, for me, like loving my guys know that when I say I love you, it’s not this romantic, crazy, awkward thing. It’s like when I say I love you, they know I’m committed to your well being. So I love you, and I’ll see you be successful, no matter what that looks like. And when I say love you, they know that, like I’m committed to their well being. And being able to walk that out through my actions, allows my words to hold a lot of weight in their life. And then I want to serve them like a waiter. We see a restaurant and and we have a waiter, but they don’t expect anything in return. They’re just here to get us the drink, get us our food, take our order, whatever else we might need for that meal to go well, and for us to have a great experience there. And so that’s what I want my life to be like, That’s what Jesus was he got down, he washed our feet, you never expect anything in return. And so I just want to serve like a waiter without expecting anything in return. And the last thing is gonna be an elite question asker in coaching, especially in sports, like our guys have to be able to make decisions, and then even raising kids like we want our children to be able to make decisions when they leave our care. But if we’re always giving them the right answers, how are they going to ever be able to make their own decision? So I want to ask the questions, I want them the questions I asked to foster a learning environment, and an autonomy of learning. So now they can figure it out. I’m just sparking, thought I’m just sparking the wheels turning so they can come to the conclusion that they need to be successful. And when they do that, it gives them ownership of their learning. Instead of giving them the right directions, I’m asking them the right questions. So that’s what I’m common means to me, it’s leading them to accountability, serving like a waiter, loving them, well, then asking them only questions.

Kimberly Hobbs   Wow, that is so beautiful, Coach Caitlin, that God has called you to be so unique in an environment that he set up just for you to serve in and it goes along with your personality. Its goes along with how God created you growing up all the experiences that you had experience. And again, all of us are uncommon in different ways, right? We’re each created unique like the scripture I opened up, you know, we are fearfully and wonderfully made each and our own purpose. So the women that are listening in are thinking oh my goodness, you know, my daughter needs to listen to this and as we go into our are closing in this is where I kind of wanted to rest a little bit and you to take some time is that listener right now that is just kind of gleaning from what you’ve learned at a young age and how you’ve processed this. You value scripture, Caitlin and I asked you what is some of the scripture that God gave to you your favorite scriptures, and one you shared with me was proverbs three, five, and six, which a lot of us love and have claimed, which is trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. And then there was another scripture that is special to you. And that’s in Jeremiah, where Jeremiah and the potter, there’s a, there’s a whole story there. So I just want you to take off and inspire these listeners about why this passage is an is so important and how it can help them in their life, too.

Caitlyn Benedik   So one of the biggest struggles for me is just the value piece, like knowing my worth, and being confident in that I’m not looking for outside affirmation, finding it in the Lord. And so this summer, I really been kind of working on healing through that. And God gave me Jeremiah 18, which is, he has Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house, he said, I’ll speak to you there. And so when Jeremiah got there, the Potter was working on a vessel. And when he was finished making it, the potter realized it was marred in his hand. So it wasn’t made correctly. If he fired it, it probably would have broken so instead of throwing the clay away and getting new clay to make something different, he then crushed it down, remoulded it, reshaped it to where it was as good as him. And then God told Jeremiah like, this is what I can do for Israel, you know, and it really spoke to me because instead of tossing what he thought was broken, the what the potter thought was broken away, he then remoulded it, took it down, tore it down, built it back up, to make it something beautiful for him, and God does the same thing for us. He’s really shown me through this scripture that our brokenness is not something to hide. The world wants us to put on this perfect mentality and like, we’re fine. There’s nothing wrong with us. Not to share our stories, because if we do and show where our imperfections lie, then we’re not good enough. But that’s not what this scripture is telling us. It’s saying that even though we’re broken, God will build us back up to where it is good in his eyes, you know, like were created beautifully and wonderfully in his eyes. And he also spoke to me and said, like, we’re so busy comparing ourselves to others, that we’re now going to be replicas of those people. Instead, why don’t we allow the Lord to build us up to shape us to mold us and now we’re going to be unique and marvelous, and a masterpiece for the Lord? Why would you want to be a replica when we can be a masterpiece, and we all need to be masterpieces. Because if I’m trying to be a rebel, I’m never going to be 100% When God needs me to be. And so this scripture is really been speaking to me and even more so to the fact that like, there’s this ancient Japanese art, and they take broken pottery, and they piece it back together with gold, and it becomes more valuable, broken than it ever was whole. And that’s kind of how we are, the more broken we are, the more the Lord can work in our lives, the more we can experience His grace and His strength. And it says in Scripture, where we are weak, then he is strong. So we have to find strength in our weakness, because even though we might be broken, even though we might feel down in the pit, like we have hope in the Lord, because he said that he’s going to lift us up and bring us out of it. And even though we can’t see the good right now, like eventually, we’re going to understand that we needed to weather that storm. So now we can reach other people through that we have a newfound endurance in God.

Kimberly Hobbs   Wow. Wow, I told you ladies like she is just what God has taught her at such a young age. And it’s just valuable information and, and we are just so thankful, you know, that you would just come and share from your heart. And it just gives so many hope, you know, just hope of what God can do with a life When you surrender to Him. And you, coach Caitlin are uncommon for Jesus, and it’s a beautiful thing. So the Bible tells us that as each of us have received a gift to us to serve one another, as stewards of God’s varied grace. And again, that’s first Peter 410 and a different version as I opened up with but ladies God has created you each unique and Different in Romans 12 Two says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. And as we learned, just hearing Katelyn share her story, she was tested. And she had to discern about what is the will of God for my life, she had it planned out, she had it mapped out of what she wanted to do. But God gently guided her to where he wanted and what he prepared, which was so unique to who she is and who he created her to be. It’s the beauty of God, ladies, when we surrender our hearts and open it up to him and his will for our life. He’s never gonna steer you wrong. And Caitlin, if I asked you right now, can I offer you $200,000 to come and dig dirt in my backyard? Because I really need somebody, would you leave what you’re doing? No, I don’t think so. Because God called you to this, because he knew that he created you with this amazing purpose to pour into these men that are at this college, you know, and that are learning from you. So we are grateful for what you do. And ladies, each of you can do anything that God is calling you to anything, you just need to trust Him and step out of the box and do those uncommon things. With his strength, not yours, just like Caitlin had to rely on God every step through this. And he was giving her all the signs and strengthening her to prepare her for what she’s doing. And Philippians 413 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, which is amazing, because all is all and that’s all like we we can do anything and everything. That’s powerful. So it was God who set you apart, Caitlin, before you were born to do this uncommon thing. And ladies, another scripture you can read on your own is Galatians 115. And again, nothing is impossible with God. So one more 32nd. Caitlin, what is that shot in the arm that you want to leave for the women listening in that will just empower her today to just walk out there and be uncommon for Jesus? What can you tell her?

Caitlyn Benedik   My life motto is don’t discount your value. So just like you buy a shirt, depending on what logo has on it depends its value, or your logo is the Lord and you your value is immense. He loves you so much. And never discount your value because you’re the one who gets to set it and everybody else has to follow. So whatever you set it as that is what it is. So find it in the Lord and trust that He will be with you every step of the way.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. And you didn’t even know I was gonna ask you that question. And that’s just huge, just huge. So thank you. Thank you so much Dream Big ladies, because you are extraordinary. And we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. So in closing, I just want to say thank you coach, Caitlin, for being with us today and just you are a breath of air as a young woman out of college coaching men’s basketball at another college like yay, go coach Caitlin, and go team Salisbury, Salisbury, what are they called? What are their What’s your seagulls, the seagulls, Salisbury seagulls? So go team and ladies, we are just glad you have made your way to women, world leaders to listen to these podcasts. And as we close out today, we want to invite you to be part of this amazing, amazing global ministry for women of all ages. And we believe with all our hearts, there is a place for you here if you want to serve Jesus. Come serve Him with us. There is so many opportunities for you to be part of this ministry. Just as when Caitlin and I were introduced. We didn’t know what God had planned for us to meet. But this whole podcast unfolded as we got to know each other and her willing yes to God to say, I’ll serve you however you want. Let us to be on this podcast together. So ladies, the same for you. Whatever God is stirring in your heart to serve Him. We have opportunity to do that. Here. You can write your story. We have voice of truth magazine, which is a quarter The publication it’s beautiful. There’s so many gifts and talents inside of that magazine that are used for Jesus Christ, you can be a part of that we have books that go out into the world with, oh my goodness, such amazing God stories. Maybe God gave you an incredible story that needs to be shared to give others hope, and inspiration, whatever it may be, ladies, we have a place for you. Please reach out to us. You can reach out to me personally at Kimberly at women world Send me an email about how I can get in touch with you to see what you can possibly be a part of here in this ministry. And like I said, so many things. So please pray about it. Please join us please just be part of this amazing, amazing mission for God. Thank you, Caitlin Benedick for being our guest today. Thank you ladies for being here and empowering lives with purpose and from his heart to yours. We are women world leaders. Remember every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we bring to you these podcasts for your learning and inspiration and in growth in Jesus. All content is copyrighted by women world leaders and cannot be used without expressed written consent. God bless you all and have a beautiful day.