#GetchaHeadOutTheGame:

The Struggle of Being A Believing Sports Fanatic and Staying Disciplined


Two facts to know about me: I love Jesus and I love sports.

I love sports so much, that I’m a freelance sports writer; so much, that if I could do one thing every hour of the day, and get paid for it, I’d sit down in an isolated room, with several TVs up, just to pour my life away watching, analyzing, and assessing sports (basketball and football preferably) and playing sport video games (Nba 2k, NCAA Football, FIFA, Madden--in that order). Yeah, pretty intense, right?

At this time, you’re probably wondering why for the last 45 seconds, did you just read about my love for sports, and how in anyway, does that benefit you? I’ll tell you this: it doesn’t—unless, of course—you want it to. But I’ll share a story that may benefit you—hopefully:

The ending of this last Super Bowl crushed me:

   For the record, I am and will forever be an Philadelphia Eagles fan, but the Seahawks currently serve as my second favorite team in the NFL, and I've hated—strongly despised—the Patriots, since their 2004 Super Bowl win over my Eagles—so naturally, I was rooting for the Seahawks.

For the record, I am and will forever be an Philadelphia Eagles fan, but the Seahawks currently serve as my second favorite team in the NFL, and I've hated—strongly despised—the Patriots, since their 2004 Super Bowl win over my Eagles—so naturally, I was rooting for the Seahawks.

All of America likely knows what should’ve happened on that last Seahawks play, but I won’t delve too deep into that—but just know, when there was no flag thrown on that Patriots’ interception, it was as if my heart shattered.

I was disheartened for a few reasons: obviously the big one above, and secondly, there was a prayer call I needed to be on at 10 pm--the exact time Malcolm Butler made the interception. So I’m just:

As I walloped in disappointment and minor heartbreak, I distraughtly wondered ‘how the heck did he intercept the ball, at the exact beginning of this prayer line?’ I became so disheartened that joining the prayer call, almost seemed farfetched.That’s just what sports does to me, man.  What made it worse, is that on a GroupMe, with prayer leaders of Bethel Campus Fellowship (BCF), up until the ending of the game, we joked about the game (these were also the leaders for that call). But as soon as that ball was intercepted (I’m still enduring the pain of my mind replaying that moment), one of the leaders posts: “OKAY step away from your TV and call into the prayer line.” That broke me, since y’know I joined in on the joking. But in my hurt, I was all like…

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I really just didn’t want to get on that line; a brother was just too in his feelings. I had allowed, something very trivial to my existence, derail my entire night and I still had homework and laundry to do, talkless of this call.

Eventually, out of near anger, I turned off the TV and engaged with a few other obligations I had; but as I’m tending to the laundry, it hits me: “REPENT. YOU HAVE A NEED TO BE ON THIS LINE! REPENT!” Bleh, I didn’t want to...but I did.

The whole concept of repentance, for me, is summarized with these few verses: 2 Chronicles 7:14, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Colossians 3:1-2. I’ll delve into repentance in another post, but just know: I had to “humble, pray, seek His face, and turn from [my foolish emotions towards the game]” (2C7:14); I also had to renew my mind (R12:2) as to where I was positioned spiritually: “in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus….[where He is] seated at the right hand of God” (E2:6; E1:20); finally leaving my thoughts “on those things above and not below” (E3:1-2)

Once I had done this, my mind and heart were finally free--I could get on the call, and really just move on from the sting of the Super Bowl; I had been set free! Hallelujah! I’m still salty, though (-_-.); but, nevertheless, Hallelujah! I was set free, and ready to do as was required of me—jump on that call, and partake in what was needed (—by the way, I was really blessed on the call that night).

The moral of that tale, was to exemplify how easy it is to lose focus on the “One Thing that is needed” (Luke 10:41), and allow vain pursuits to overtake your soul. Yeah, it was for only a few minutes that I walloped over the game’s dramatic ending, but my soul felt as if it ached for days. This is football, we’re talking about people! Ye, this is what I’ve sought as a career; what I desire to be involved with for a hefty chunk of my life.

Since entering into this year, I’ve desired and even written on my makeshift vision board (really a few sheets in a notebook), that I’d not give sports and video games as much priority as the previous year, but I’ve quickly fallen short in that declaration.

Well, because...my heart hasn’t been fully surrendered. Jesus tells us, in Mark 12:30,  to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your might, and all your strength;” that essentially screams, ‘LOVE THE LORD WITH EVERY OUNCE WITHIN YOU!”

That’s where God wants our hearts; He wants our full turned attention and are close intimate conversation solely fixated on Him (I see you Misty Edwards). But, it’s so easy, I know for me, and many of you, to get carried away, with these trifles. These things, that by themselves, they’re mainly harmless and soothingly entertaining; these things like social media, fashion, cars, sports, even school, just to name a few; once our hearts get invested in them, we start getting aloof.

That’s what happened to me that night, and it’s what happens to me ever so often, almost daily. I’m constantly in a battle of choosing what to surrender to, and I don’t always choose the “good part,” as Mary chose in Luke 10:42. Often times, I find myself crawling, after indulging in these pleasures, back to the cross, back to the throne of grace--asking for grace and mercy in such a desperate time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

But here’s where it gets better: I don’t think God dislikes the things we like, except if they completely and totally defy His Word or His Spirit--and that can occur, when we exalt those things over God, as idols. But God, in His richness in mercy, grace and forgiveness, loves a “a broken and a contrite heart,” for this is a heart and sacrifice “[God] will never despise” (Psalms 51:17). There’s a constant need for believers to examine themselves (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12); but it’s even more a necessitate that believers allow God to search their hearts, because ONLY then, will the wickedness of their heart be expelled and only then will He be able to lead them on the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139: 23-24), with eyes solely focused on Him (Matthew 6:22; Hebrews 12:2).

As brief as it was, my Super Bowl aftermath gave me a little insight into the married life: where as a wife may desire the attention of her husband, but because he’s too caught up in his interests (work, sports, etc.), he completely, unintentionally, ignores her, leaving her upset, and feeling unwanted and unimportant; however, it’s the husband that suffers the most, as he had possibly just missed an opportunity to receive something beneficial from his wife, or if anything, perhaps, just grow in their relationship—this, almost literally, is what happens when we set our attention and affection on something or someone other than God. Neglecting God, is never the move--because we’re the ones, who’ll suffer for it (READ THE Old Testament). While it may not be sports nor video games, do strive not to  allow your pleasures or subtle passions to take any preeminence in your life. And #GetchaHeadOutTheGame


Peace.


[1] Check out Misty Edwards’ latest album, for the song Companion, which lyrics say, You are as close as conversation....You are as near as turned attention,