November 2

girls volleyballAs I am sitting here trying to think of something to write, my thoughts are like rocks skipping across the top of the smooth surface of a clear, cold pond; hopping from one thought to the next. Nothing seems related at the forefront of my mind.

Once I start to become aware of all the thoughts jumping around, one thought keeps skipping back to me: a volleyball game I attended Monday afternoon. Why am I thinking about that? If I am truthful with myself, I can’t deny I have very good reason to think of that now.  I enjoyed the match immensely. It reminded me of the many times I was on the court myself. It was amazing to me that I remembered so much of how to play and what to do. I wanted to be on the court playing instead of observing all the action. But, old bones do not play as well as they once did. “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”(Matthew 26:41b NIV)

After the game, I kept thinking about working with those girls. I even told their coach I’d be willing to help her in the mornings before school. She seemed genuinely glad to have the offer of help.

Then the worst happened…I started to doubt whether or not it would be good for me to help out. My inner thoughts ran along what seemed like a constant path of negativity.

‘You realize that it is from 7:00 am to 8:00 am….Every day.’
‘You’d have to be there ready to help before 7:00.’
‘Can you do that? Do you want to do that?’
‘What were you thinking?’
‘You’d have to bring a change of clothes and change before school.
‘How would that work?’
‘What is your motive for doing this?
‘Is it for the girls or for you and your own ego?’
‘What ego? It’s been 30 years since I actually played the game.’
‘That’s just it. Now you’re wondering if your skills aren’t good enough.
‘What if you look bad in front of the coach? What if you look stupid
in front of the girls? Don’t kid yourself, your ego is involved!’

The questions ‘Why? Why did you do that?’ keep coming back. I am trying to answer the questions about my own ulterior motives honestly. Is my offer to help for the team or for me? I love volleyball I was immersed in the action, the players and everything about it.

I must have gotten carried away…That’s about the summary of what I decide is my motive.

Then, finally, new thoughts start bouncing around like rubber balls all at once. I latch on to one,
‘You did it to make yourself look good in front of your boss.’
‘You want to be seen as someone who is ready to help out in any way.’
‘You want to be really appreciated.’
‘But you know you are appreciated, you’ve been told by all the top people  that you are appreciated.’
‘But that is not enough. It is never enough.’

I hate these awkward conversations with myself. Invariably, something comes up that I do not want to deal with. Why do I never feel that I get enough praise or appreciation? No matter how much I do get it never seems to be enough.

At these times, when the hard reality of how I think hits me in the face, I have to stop and repent immediately. “Oh Father, forgive me. Forgive me for not believing you. You have told me in your word, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. (Jeremiah 31:3 NASB) “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31 NASB).

I get myself into a place I probably have no business stepping in all because I crave praise and appreciation. As a believer, I know, that is wrong. But, as a human, that is where I am. I need the words of the Lord to be my truth. I need to believe Him when He tells me I was drawn with lovingkindness, and that I am more valuable than many sparrows. I used to tell my daughters all the time that they should not let their feelings drive their trains.  I told them they needed to let the facts of God’s word drive their trains. So, here I am today having to tell myself the same exact thing. “Oh my Father, I choose the facts of Your Word to live by and to drive my thoughts and actions. I repent from living by feelings that can never satisfy me. I ask you to forgive my unbelief and restore me into your presence free from the things that can never replace you or fulfill me.” Amen.