Monday, August 2, 2010

Please stop the bus here...I want off now.

Okay...I'm going to vent a little today.

Just a few post ago, I wrote about my teenager and her love of soccer. She started high school today but has been practicing with the varsity soccer team all summer. According to all indications, she stands a pretty good chance of making not just the team...but the starting 11 on varsity.

So why would I be upset about that? I'm actually quite proud of her because I know she has worked very hard. Last week, however, she left a two-a-day practice about an hour early to attend youth worship services at church. Word has it...that wasn't very well received by coaches.

Now here comes a public confession. During discussions about leaving the practice, I actually tried to talk her into staying and missing a single night of church. She wouldn't hear of it, so I picked her up, and she changed clothes on our way to church. I know the pressures and commitment required to play and excel in high school sports, but I momentarily lost my focus on the bigger picture. I'm very ashamed of that fact and will back her decision to put God first in all matters from this point forward.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to not be conformed to this world. Ironically, that was the exact message from my pastor last night at services as he stomped all over my toes. Like me, he's a big sports fan and former athlete too. However, sports were not the priority in his home growing up, and he has conveyed that in a number of messages. Despite my mother's greatest efforts and example, I can't say the same about my home while I was growing up. Now, I'm not going off on some tangent and blame that fact on the path my life would later take because that would be complete hogwash. I personally know a number of people where God was no where to be found in their household growing up, and each has lead a very spirited walk with God since coming to salvation. My choices in life have been just choices.

I told my Sunday School class just yesterday that we don't understand persecution as Christians in this country. Sure, there are subtle forms of persecution, and I pray my daughter is not about to go through one of those. Let me get back to not conforming to the world though. Sports are king in our country. We idolize and try to mimic our favorite professional athletes and teams by clearing our calendars to watch them on television, paying outrageous prices to attend sporting events, and by buying the products they endorse. I've admitted I'm as big a sports fan as you'll find, and unfortunately, I've become a conformist.

Do we have to forgo sports to properly serve God? I don't think so. But when sports at any level from Pee Wee baseball to Super Bowl Sunday supersedes or interferes with drawing closer to God or being obedient to His will, we find ourselves on a slippery slope that may start with just a warped sense of priority but lead to growing ever farther away from Him. Count me out!

Tonight, Mrs. Tony C and I are going to have a talk with the teenager about letting go and letting God take over her situation. I have a few good examples of famous athletes that philosophy seemed to work out for in the short and long run. Pretty sure this guy will be in the conversation...

Please pray for my daughter and that whatever happens brings glory and honor to God.


Tracy said...

How way cool that here your daughter is inspiring you by her commitment to God! For some reason it's always especially wonderful to see God working in the life of teenagers; know that I'll be praying for her in this situation.

Derek said...

Many may not see that as persecution. We have fallen prey to the idea that it's okay to let our desires trump our convictions. Good catch Tony!

Michelle said...

I hope she everything went well with the coaches.

I 100% get what you are saying. We have discussed and realized that in most "Christian" homes...sports are more important than God. i.e., traveling baseball teams. No one thinks twice about their sons missing service after service to play on a team that will do nothing for the kingdom of God. As sports fans ourselves, we must draw back the line and say...we can do this...but what does it have to do with furthering the kingdom and glorifying God?

David said...

Tony losing sight of the big picture. That should be an oxymoron.

I'd be delighted to have a kid that wanted to be church over everything else.

I also let my little one eat dinner in front of the TV once in a great while. And I even skip church a few Sundays a year - how religious do we need to be?

I pray that her church attendance will bear fruit for eternity, and well, I hope she makes the team too.

Let us know how it goes.