The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~ Romans 8:15
You’ve heard it said that God works in mysterious ways and that is true. Recently, God worked mysteriously in my life in a most unexpected place…a game of kickball. The Gateway Staff got together a week or two ago to play a friendly game of kickball as a way to encourage team work, relational connection, and to have some fun. Many people would love the opportunity to spend some time out doors on a work day having a little competitive fun. I however was not so excited.
I love fun but I’m not very competitive and I’m also not super athletic. So when the staff kickball day was first announced my instinct was to try to find a way to get out of it. You see I, like many of you, don’t enjoy being put in situations that make me uncomfortable, so, often my gut response to to avoid them. Sure, I camouflage it with the excuse “that’s not my thing” or “I just don’t want to” but really, if I’m honest, I’m scared of being put in a uncomfortable position or worse yet, making a fool out of myself. When it came to the kickball game I was definately scared of making a fool out of myself but even more I was afraid of letting my team down.
My husband Corey is the opposite of me in many ways. He is very competitive and is good at pretty much every sport he’s ever tried. He has fast reflexes and can anticipate really well. He may be older and a little slower than he used to be but he’s still the guy you want to have on your team. As I thought about the game coming up I began to think that maybe Corey could just take my place and play for me. He would do so much better than me and I was sure with him on the team my team might have a good chance at winning.
It became very clear as the game approached that playing kickball wasn’t going to be a good excuse for Corey to tell his boss as to why he needed to take off work so Corey taking my place wasn’t going to happen. I also couldn’t find any valid reason for me to get out of playing either so missing the game was out. It looked like my only option was to play.
The week before the game I would find myself grumbling under my breath to God about how stupid it was that I had to do this. I even complained about how come we didn’t do things as a staff that I liked to do like sit around having coffee and deep philosophical conversation (I have a feeling that wouldn’t have been as popular or as fun;) My heart and mind were not in a good place in regards to this kickball game. However, the day before the game that shifted.
I spent sometime with God that day and as he always does he helped me get to the root of what I was feeling and brought clarity to the situation. What I realized is that fear was trying to lead me and only I could make the choice and decide if I was going to let God lead me or let fear. The question I felt God asking me is do you trust me? Are you willing to go out there and give it all you have for me even if other people to think you’re a fool? I love the Lord so much. He’s my best friend and a good Father and so I knew my answer to him had to be a YES! That night I ask Corey to pray with me, I ask God to help me face down my fear and overcome it. I told him that I know in the grand scheme of things this game wasn’t very important but I could tell that he was doing something here and that it was important for me. So I ask him to help me do my very best for my team and for him. I ask him to help me go out there, try my hardest, and to help me play fully abandoned to him. I prayed that I would glorify him in how I played. Then I went to bed because I knew I needed all the rest I could get.
That next morning I woke up and I was excited! As I headed north to the field I had sometime with God in the car and I just felt anticipation to go out onto that field and play my little heart out. I was a little late getting there so the game had already started. I walked up and right away my team tells me it’s my turn to kick. A few days ago this would have been my nightmare, getting there late, having the spotlight put on me, and having to kick right away, but today I knew God’s in control and this is an opportunity. So with courage I stepped up to the plate and strategically kicked the ball down the third base line, and it actually worked. The ball went where it was supposed to and I made it to first base!
Then my teammate kicked the ball and it went out past second base. The other team got to it and of coarse threw it to the closest base they could which just so happened to be exactly where I was running. I headed to second base as fast as I could but I could see they were trying to get the ball to my base so dug deep and gave it all I had. However, in the process of this my upper body some how got ahead of my lower body and I ended up diving head first for 2nd base. I lived it so I obviously didn’t see it but I can tell you with certainty that it wasn’t pretty. I think I scared a few people and shocked the rest.
As I pulled myself up off the ground the coolest thing happened. I didn’t feel embarrassed or humiliated, I felt proud! Inside me I knew that I may have made a fool out of myself there but I wasn’t holding anything back, I was giving it all I had because my Heavenly Father was watching and cheering me on. I knew he didn’t see my clumsy body laying on second base with scratched up knees and elbows and think, “man I wish Jamie was better” and he wasn’t sitting there feeling ashamed to be my Father. He was looking straight at my heart and he was so proud of how much I trusted him and that I was letting him lead me into overcoming my fear.
Our team went on to win the first game we played but then we lost the second. We had a lot of fun and some good laughs. I would absolutely play kickball again! My knee had some nice scratches that turned into bruises. I liked having them because they reminded me of the spirit of play and adventure I had when I was a kid. I use to play with such courage and abandon that I scratched my legs and arms up all the time. Every time I looked at them I couldn’t help but smile.
After the game and having some time to process it all here’s what God’s revealed to me. I am his child and when I truly believe he is a good and loving Father then I don’t have to be afraid. I was always afraid of trying things I wasn’t good at because I didn’t want to embarrass my parents, especially my dad, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I thought to make my parents proud I had to be good at what I did. What God is teaching me and helping be absorb is that he’s different. He loves me just as I am. He’s not proud of me just because I do something good, he’s proud of me because I trust him enough to try. Regardless if I fumble my attempts or I do really really well, God is looking right at my heart and what blesses his heart is to see me, his child, trust him enough to let him lead me to confront and overcome my fears.
This has now become a part of my daily time with God. I pray that He will lead me and I will follow him where ever he leads. I refuse to live my life letting fear be my leader. So I ask God to help me have the courage to face my fears with him and to overcome them.
Is there an area in your life where you might be letting fear lead you? Will you make some time today to get alone with God and ask him to help you trust him? Will you ask him to help you follow him with courage and abandon? Will you ask him to help you confront your fears and overcome them? He is a good Father who longs to answer those prayers:)