Monday, April 23, 2012

love & football

a couple years ago, i competed in a spring football tournament playing on the d-line for the very first time. all throughout the prior seasons of training and conditioning, my position had always been the offensive line right tackle. considering the lack of experience, i thought i adjusted to the new role fairly quickly. i remember the thrill of being on defense, aggressively pushing past the o-line to make the tackles, and the high from the adrenaline rush. in my limited knowledge of the defensive line, my primary goal was solely to bulldoze through whoever stood in my way to get to the qb at any cost. i thought that the only thing that mattered was my beast-mode strength and agility to jump off the line as soon as the ball was snapped. by the end of the tournament, my arms and legs were black and blue with massive bruises and my body was all banged up for days. i guess i just gathered that painful collisions and forceful contact were part of the package. not to brag or anything (seriously), but i know i'm pretty strong & muscular. it's just a fact that i've grown to accept. so to be quite honest, i didn't think i even needed much coaching because i was already powerful and aggressive enough. not even a couple weeks into our regular season, i got a mild concussion during practice and received a stern warning from my neurologist to stop all contact sports indefinitely. it's a bad sign when your doctor actually requires you to wear a helmet for flag football. in retrospect, i realized i was playing extremely recklessly to the point where i became a liability instead of an asset to my team because i was injuring myself and my teammates. a couple nights ago while chatting with one of the defensive coordinators about the skills and techniques needed in defense, i had a convicting revelation of how love and relationships relate to the game of football. i've been told by my family & closest friends that my best characteristic is that i love really well- but sometimes to a fault. instinctively from the very start, if i chose to love you, i was all in, full speed ahead, giving away my heart and affections with limited questions or reservations. act first, think later. if i got hurt, which inevitably happened due to my brash and hasty actions, i simply brushed off the dirt and got right back into the game. i relied on pure passion and zealous love to sufficiently cover over any deficiency of wisdom and discernment. i had no idea the gravity of the damage i was inflicting on my own heart through all the years of carelessness. regardless of how much i claimed to believe in true love, soon enough the thought of getting into another relationship or letting someone new into my life freaked me out. and likewise, the fear of getting injured again threatened to trump my love of football. i learned the hard way that there is much needed knowledge in how to utilize my strengths and just as much wisdom to know when to hold back. my coach explained that i need to learn how to read the plays and react accordingly, to use my strength and skills at the appropriate times and be trained to avoid collisions by knowing how to properly maneuver and channel my energy. after months of deliberation, i ultimately gathered up enough faith and courage to try again, all for the love of the game. of course even if i do everything accordingly, there's still a possibility for injuries and there are no guarantees we'll win. that's life. without risk, there is no reward. thank God for grace...& insurance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

you're not mine anymore.

i hate breakups. even when i come across news of celebrities splitting up, complete strangers that i will never know in real life, i can't help but feel a sliver of sorrow and sadness for the once happy couple. so you can only imagine what my heart goes through when i'm actually part of the split. what bothers me is that one day you can promise your love to another individual, hold their hand and never dream of letting go, and somewhere in the daunting unforeseeable future you run the potential of morphing into mere acquaintances who barely have 2 words to say. where once you gazed into each others eyes and the rest of the world disappeared, now you find yourselves stealing forbidden glances in either direction for a second at a time. our hearts are so fickle and deceptive. they can be far too easily convinced to eat up anything sweet and alluring even just for a risky moment, all the while knowing in the back of our minds that we might regret this later. and when later finally comes, interactions turn cold and awkward, you no longer find absolutely everything the other does and says incredibly endearing and wonderful, and you forget what drew you together in the first place. why can't you say what you mean and mean what you say? how did you so abruptly change your mind already? when did promises and vows stop mattering and losing its value? i realize i sound like a little kiddie who didn't get to go to disneyland after mom and dad pinky swore. yeah, i guess to a certain extent i'm just dewy-eyed and naive and although my past hasn't accurately exemplified this, i do believe in true radical love above all things. when i tell you i love you, i mean it with my whole heart and forever. i love deeply because i don't know any other way. in the past, i used to reason that when a relationship didn't pan out the way i expected or hoped that meant i wasn't worth fighting for. so in my credulous state, i would convince myself that i have to try harder and be better next time. love more. strive more. give more. lies lies lies. i couldn't have been more wrong. it's true that the heart wants what it wants and we can't control who we choose to love. but there is an element of wisdom and discernment that we need to heed to instead of being led entirely out of passion and a need to fill a void. oy vey. if only we trusted and believed all that He has in store for us, we would be willing to wait and never settle or compromise. after lots of mistakes and tough lessons learned, i discovered that it's impossible to give your heart away so recklessly and haphazardly when you've already given it all to Jesus. it's not mine to give away anymore and this is the only way it's kept safe until that one comes along who will be sincere and honoring enough to go to God for permission to take my hand and have my heart. when it's all said and done, we were made for extravagant love and endless pleasure so it's no wonder that artificial substitutes and temporary fixes fail us and make us sick. oh, the things i desperately wish my daughter will know at an early age and not be stubborn like her mom.

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

“I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10