If you had to describe yourself as a person in a sports stadium, who would you say you’d be today?
As this is my busiest time of year, I felt like each of those at some point last week. I was out of sorts, not myself, distracted; I’d neglected my peaceful, hopeful, faith-filled mantras. “Game” strategies invaded my being as if the Olympics were on the line. Yikes! Suddenly I realized there’s a time, place, and purpose for each role I fulfill, in every game, at each stadium. Each is important in my relation to others and for my own well-being. As I pondered several fretful moments, I wondered how it had become so… intense.
An insight bubbled-up I believe is worth sharing.
I noticed that in the harshest events of that week I was preoccupied, operating on autopilot. Committed to playing offense and defense, I forgot the purpose of the game and why I love the sport. Have you ever been so focused on a goal you lost your way? Suddenly you look back and wonder what happened to the real me? We believe we must succeed; we desire recognition, compensation, security. Am I driven to accomplish to the point of neglecting exercise, family dinner, even kissing the kids goodnight? Do I simply say, I’ll get back to all that after I sign the client or complete the project? Perhaps I defend against a competitor to the point that it consumes my energy. If I don’t score, do I dwell in resentment, hurt, shame, or fear? What’s the harm in a few fumbles, interceptions, whiffs, or gutter balls? In fact, a strike in baseball is very different from a strike in bowling. Maybe I’m just in the wrong game! What about teamwork?
We can all forget the essence of the game (life) when driven to win or preoccupied with defending our position. At times our defense is more aggressive than our offensive. Back to my point - I forgot at least one important role in that stadium. Ready?
Sometimes it’s fitting to relinquish an instinct to play offense, defense, aid, or vendor. Sometimes I can sit back and enjoy the game! It is vital to rest, visit with friends and family, enjoy a movie, recharge, and appreciate my surroundings. Those precious moments are forfeited when I become obsessed with performing. I don’t need to worry about some of those plays. There will be many games in my life. I will win some; I will watch some; I will lose some (whether deserved or seemingly due to “a bad call”). But they are all okay...
I recognize I can be overwhelmed by duties, compelled by responsibilities, or driven by compulsion. Considering the many tasks for which I must allot time, it's up to me to distinguish between what I must do and what I truly want to do. The latter is also known as my passion. Sure, I have to stop at the grocery store, wash the laundry, pay the bills, do the dishes, and go to work. Yet I am zealous about a new writing project, playing with my dogs, calling an old friend, and going for a bike ride with my husband. I am healthier when I remember to devote the appropriate time and attention to each.
I am going to challenge myself to be mindful of what fuels my enthusiasm - what’s vital to living in my joy and my peace. Did you know the etymology of enthusiasm is “possessed by God,” or “God within?” Doesn’t that make sense? When I’m doing what my heart loves, I’m enthused. God is certainly within my spirit! I know because I feel good, happy, content, and serene. I believe God desires us to take time for what we love to do amid our hectic schedules and obligations. That’s more than taking a break now and then; I believe it’s a “rest” within our passion and enthusiasm which brings us closer to Him and each other. After all, He gave us those passionate desires and the talents to fulfill them.
Only you know what that is for you. Only you know when to play in the game, when to support the game, and when to watch and enjoy the game.
Paying attention to all elements on that field brings me into a deeper sense of joy and awe. This is where I find God. So, I’ll be sure to consider appropriate time for each position, play, role, and seat in my stadium. I will include heart-filled activities between training and practices. I’ll remember to savor God’s Spirit within and the precious essence of being me during the many games in which I participate each and every day.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire.
And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.