Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finding God In a Soccer Game

Sweet Kickers post-game huddle
The Sweet Kickers did it again!  They won...again!  They are undefeated in their U8 division soccer league this season with only two games remaining.  They've played every team twice now.  {There are only four teams in the fall league.}  They have improved tremendously from last season.  Pretty exciting, right?

Well, not exactly.

Why?

They almost didn't win today.  By half-time, the Hammer Heads were up 3-1 over our Sweet Kickers.  At 5 minutes remaining in the game, it was looking bleak for our girls until somehow...miraculously...they came from behind to win the game 5-3!

So why am I not excited??

Because I think the girls learned a valuable lesson in the process.  Sure they played pretty good at some points.  Some of our girls had some great plays!  I don't want to diminish all the good things that truly were done.  There was a lot.  But something was truly missing.  The fight, the spirit, the energy...something just wasn't there that we've seen in previous games.  Some of the girls, Moira included, would rather watch the butterflies than play at some points during the game.  Attention was lacking.  They were just "off".  And that's ok.  They've won all of their previous games, and since they are not even keeping track of score at this level, they're really just out to have a good time.  But still, something wasn't clicking today.  I think at the 4th quarter, the girls finally realized that if they didn't get their heads in the game, they would actually lose their first game of the season!  I think that realization is what got them through the game with a victory!

I was really proud of Moira and the girls for another victory, but it made me think a lot about our relationships with God.  Yes...soccer made me think about God.

How so?

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NLT)

5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.


God requires of us that we love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength!  In order to be true followers, we must do these things.  We must abide in Him.  We must be willing to sacrifice and die to ourselves for Him.  We must give our all for Him.  He gave us His Son.  He sacrificed His only Son for us that we might have eternal life with Him.  There shouldn't be anything that stands in between us and God.

There shouldn't be.  But there often is.  How many times each day are we distracted by the various things that are going on in our everyday lives that we find our minds being taken off of the promises God has for us.  We have victory in Jesus Christ, yet we forget that so often when we get bogged down with work, play, family life, stress, and so on.  We wind up thinking in terms of "self" and forget that our eye should be on Him who saved us!

Perhaps like this soccer game, we think that we are entitled to a victory because of our past actions.  We don't realize that we have to work every day to have that.  God loves us unconditionally.  If we are believers, we have won victory through His Son.  But that doesn't mean we don't have to work a bit for it while we're here!  I don't think there's anything that I could ever do that would make me worthy of what God promises. But I sure want to try to do something to earn that victory!

This whole analogy makes me want to take a step back and examine areas of my life where I could be working a lot harder to earn the promises that God has in store.  I don't want to ever take it for granted that something will one day be mine.  I want to know that I at least tried to give it my all.

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