Friday, 4 January 2013

From the Sidelines

Daisy and my little brother play soccer at the park down the road :)
I woke up, glanced at the time on my clock and sat up. Time to get ready, I thought with a sigh. But then, as so often happens, the Lord prodded my conscience - what about your Bible reading? This has been a real struggle of mine recently. With the summer holidays upon me, it is so tempting to think that I have all day in which to spend time in the Lord's word, but in reality I find myself delaying it all day and coming to it late at night when my mind is tired and I am thinking of little else other than sleeping! I am so grateful to the Lord that that morning He made me aware of my failure in this area, and that He turned my mind to Psalm 147. There was one verse that really stood out to me:

    His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
        nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
    but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
        in those who hope in his steadfast love.
(Psalm 147:10-11 ESV)

I locked that one away in my mind for future reference and carried on with my day, little realizing how soon I would need it! Hyacinth, Lily and Daisy are avid soccer fans, but I must confess that this is one area where I really do differ from them: I am not at all sporty, never have been and it looks like I never will be! :( Anyway, my 7 year old brother wants to play it and so they invited him along to their games. I tagged along with him.

So there I sat all by myself, with only my umbrella for company, a lone spectator while everyone else played soccer. I was, momentarily, tempted to join in but I was not adequately attired nor was my pride willing to suffer the humiliation of admiting that at 18 years old, I hardly knew the rules of the game. As I sat there, memories of past wounded pride came flooding back: the feeling that I was not "good enough" at sports, the constant frustration and anger I felt towards myself for trying hard and yet never being able to do what seemed to come so naturally to everyone else. The game of soccer continued and I looked on enviously, tears of jealousy, hurt pride and humiliation beginning to engulf me. I tugged frustratedly at the grass growing around me, crying complaints of bitterness towards the Lord. "God, why have You made me like this? Can't You change things, make me better at sports? Why must I be the one always looking so stupid and hopeless?"

 Suddenly, the words of the psalm I had read earlier in the day came rushing back to me: "His delight is not in ... the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love."  I realized the mistake I was making - I had my priorities completely the wrong way around. The Lord knows my strengths and my weaknesses more intimately than I do myself and yet by His grace I have seen Him working through both, making use of the areas which He has gifted me in and the areas where I struggle. There on that field through this verse He graciously reminded me that to Him, it is the heart attitude that matters more to Him than physical prowess. Thank you so much Father!!!

So right there and then He helped me to use that time constructively. As a spectator from the sidelines I could be as proactive as anyone on the field! So I began to pray for those on the field: beginning with my friends and the specific needs I knew they had and progressing on to those who were total strangers to me. And it is amazing how much that helped!

When the call came for half time, and I was surrounded again by my friends I felt so encouraged at the way the Lord had taught me such a valuable lesson - one I pray I will not be quick to forget.
I will be going to soccer again this weekend with my brother. Maybe I will have the courage to try it out - maybe I won't. But at least now I know that though I may never be good at sports, to the Lord that is okay! So long as I am serving Him in every element of my life (including the physical exercise aspect!), and relying on His grace rather than my own abilities to shine through, I need not worry or compare myself to others.I will probably need to re-read that daily to remind myself as it is something I am so quick to forget! Lord, may You give me the grace to serve You first and foremost and to have You at the centre of my life rather than to be focussed on what others have that I lack!

This is something I need to remember daily, and I'm sure you do to. In fact, I will probably need to re-read this post several times this week to remind myself what comes first to my heavenly Father. 

Wow, I never intended this post to be so long!!! Sorry for babbling! :) I just felt I had to share!

Oh, and as a PS to this blog post, the Gothard Sisters have released a new Christmassy music video - Greensleeves!!! :D

God bless and hope you are all having an enjoyable New Year's break!


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