Whispered Confessions on the Winds of Change

Fall has always been my favorite season and for many reasons. First, humidity dies out and the mosquito population with it. Second, I have legitimate reason to wear my hoodies again. Third, it signals the transition to winter with the beautiful browns, radiant reds, and ornamental oranges falling from the abundance of trees. And finally, fall is the season for soccer!

Soccer has been a passion, nay an obsession, ever since I began playing at a young age. Having played all through grade school, into high school, sporadically in college (one of my biggest regrets in life was never playing inter-collegiate soccer), and even now in adult recreational leagues, I have made it a point to participate in soccer in some form. I have also taken a coaching role at my old high school for the Jr High squad and thoroughly enjoy it. One of the next steps in my pursuit in my love of the game is to obtain my referee’s license over the winter months. Despite the fall soccer season nearing it’s end, I have plenty of soccer related ventures planned. Not only do I religiously (literally, I have intentionally skipped church to watch matches, yeah I know, probably not the best habit to form) follow the EPL (English Premier League) and MLS (Major League Soccer) but I also keep tabs on international matches and inter-league tournaments such as the CONCAF Champions (Google it) and EUFA Champions Leagues. I’m even going to see a Semi-Professional match in the next couple weeks. So where am I going with this? Good question and here’s what I got…

The busier I get, the less melancholy I find myself to be. Yet as my responsibilities for the present will soon become less as soccer seasons draw to a close, both as a coach and a player, I will now have extra free time. “Free Time” for me often becomes periods of unproductive-ness, leaving me feel as though I am accomplishing nothing. However this time is never “wasted” as I can easily fill it with various forms of entertainment, what really bothers me is the solitude it often leads to. As I slowly approach the turning of a new page in my life, that being the re-education necessary to obtain my teacher’s license, I feel the need to come clean.

Over the summer, I have developed a couple destructive tendencies. First, the excessive busy-ness brought about by multiple work and personal responsibilities; and second, the elevation of my love for soccer above the spiritual well-being of my person. Let me address my tendency to take on more responsibilities than are likely healthy. I am, by default, a challenge-seeker. I am more motivated to succeed the higher the stakes and often draw from my competitive nature to push myself to overcome obstacles. I have a mindset to pursue responsibility in order to avoid mediocrity and in doing so only bring about a swelling tension between my will to achieve and my contentment with my life. If you were to ask me what my primary goal(s) in life is I would answer as such: to live simply and contentedly, owing no debts, and loving all who cross my path. Yet I find myself lapsing into stages of melancholy if I am not constantly engaged, and it leads me to wonder if this is the result of having little purpose behind my actions beyond just following through on the responsibilities I have procured.

I am a little ashamed to say I have recently been putting my love of soccer above my need for spiritual enrichment. Examples include skipping church to watch EPL matches, skipping my men’s group to play matches for the recreational league I’m in, and studying team tactics for soccer over reading my Bible. It is fairly easy to admit at this point that much of my self-worth coming from the enjoyment I pull from my soccer-related activities and less from my relationship with my Creator. Yet here I am addressing it, intentionally drawing it into the light were I face ridicule and criticism. Do I fear the result? Perhaps a little, but what I fear more is the depression that partners with keeping it all contained inside. So I readily accept my fate as a “bad” Christian, but all the more do I commit myself to another challenge: to find a way to reconcile my passion for the game with my relationship to my Savior and the place in the community around me. I guess what I truly need is less responsibility and more in-my-face encounters with my faith, for it is a challenge I will rise to the occasion to complete…

 

S.D.G.

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