I love watching my oldest daughter play and I get very, how should I say it, animated. I tend to whoop and holler a bit and later wonder if I looked like a goof. Last night’s game was a nail biter, and I may have been more animated than normal. My daughter was playing pretty rough (I do not condone, it’s just the way she plays), and I could see it was killing her not to play because of fouls. I gestured a thumbs up while she sat the bench and proceeded to carry on. That’s not the story. The story comes AFTER the game.
After my husband and I had discussed the game with our daughter, we all sort of enjoyed silence. No talking for the rest of our forty-five minute drive home, just thinking (I’m pretty sure I was fighting to stay awake ;) ). It was like the Holy Spirit was tying several events together for me, and I will do my best to share, because I believe there is value in it…
How many times do we feel we get “pulled from the game” and sidelined, because we have gone at life too hard, too fast, and end up “fouling” because of our fervor? How many times do we feel like there is SO much on the line, it can sometime be hard to refrain ourselves from going too far and we may actually harm another, albeit, unintentionally? How many times do we take the time to pause, reflect, learn, accept and then move forward with an enlightened understanding, in hopes of not continuing on?
Before the break, I had begun to feel a bit overwhelmed. There was work, school for the girls, home, dinners, preparing for Christmas – PLUS continuing devotions and feeling the need to post this and that, because of what had begun. My days were filled to the brim. It seemed there was no wiggle room and I was feeling it. This feeling led me to think about a book my husband once read, called, “Margin”. I thought to myself, I really need to read that book. I put it off. But the thoughts continued. When I get up, I check to see if there are messages. I read. I post. I reply if someone replies. Go to the restroom (don’t tell me I’m the only one who checks social media in the restroom!), check to see if anyone “NEEDS” anything from me. Have a moment in the car? Check to see if anyone has responded. Every. Second. Was. Becoming. Full.
I didn’t like it, but I felt like I had to keep up the pace, because it was God wanted me to do. Or so I had told myself. Later, when I began waking up in the middle of the night thinking it was time for a social media fast, I realized I had added part – lots of parts – God didn’t necessarily need me to add. The result? I was beginning to foul out. I was sidelined for a few days and I knew I needed to not be so active in the social media world. He confirmed this for me, too.
The first confirmation, He spoke to my heart through my girlfriend who asked if I was at church service for the first part of a series titled, you guessed it, “Margin”. What the what?!? I love when God does that. The second confirmation, part two of the series and my husband’s response. He expressed to me how true the service was for him, and that he was really glad we went. This is huge. He rarely ever desires to discuss the sermon. He always wants to move on with the day. I have accepted that, but was very thrilled to have him say he was looking forward to the messages. We discussed the book, he went and dug it out from his bookshelf, and I am going to read it! The third confirmation? The conversation with my youngest daughter.
The evening before I was to return to work, I felt a strong nudge to have a chat with my daughters. After some patience and a bit of probing, my youngest began crying. We had been talking about their message in Youth, on loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, and loving others as yourself. It seemed harmless, but when she began weeping, my heart sank and right away God laid it on my heart to be gentle and listen to her. I sensed she had been struggling to believe because of all her questions. I mean, who DOESN’T have questions? She expressed how she felt guilty and ashamed that she didn’t have total faith and didn’t buy into everything 100%. Then I began to cry.
Not because of her doubts and questions, but because I knew she had been wrestling with this for some time now, and I was just now noticing. I was just now taking the time to talk with her. I had just now freed up my schedule to allow this critical conversation to take place. Talk about a dagger to the heart… We spent the hour or two that followed, having a really good discussion and I simply showered her with all I knew God needed her to know. I know she went to sleep at peace, but I was wide awake. I ABSOLUTELY needed to take the time away from social media.
The days that followed, every time I felt like I was letting anyone who may be following along, down, I would think of my daughter and our chat. Or I would think of my husband and the new avenue God was providing for us to communicate. Today, I think of my oldest daughter, who felt bad for going at it too hard and not performing the same as she did just a few weeks ago. And I can relate. I am reminded that I could easily become like the leaders in Ezekiel who puffed themselves up, rather than looking after the fold. I could easily allow what I think is good, to fill the place where I am supposed to be walking out God’s will. I could easily be like Saul and add my own little twist to what He has instructed me to do, and justify why it’s ok. I could easily take what the Good Coach has instructed me to do, and go a little too far with it in my own zeal.
I’m grateful for the bench! I’m grateful He took me out of the game for a bit and helped me to see where I was making mistakes. I’m glad He has been coaching me, because He loves me, and He loves others. I’m glad He did all this amidst the Shepherdess Rise Up devotions, because I believe this may be at the heart for a lot of women (and men).
I pray you have a blessed day. Please let me know if this resonated with you at all. Blessings!
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