Love means EVERYTHING in Tennis
I beg God often for clarity, for wisdom, for insight. I know He will provide it. It doesn’t always come instantly but it does come. Little by little He is helping me piece my life together. Several weeks ago (ok, so maybe it was months – time is irrelevant in God’s world) I started asking Him why on Earth He ever had me spend so much time playing tennis. (Note: The majority of this blog entry is literally God speaking (quietly) to me. It’s not so much an exchange as it is Him honestly answering my silent prayers for understanding…hence the use of quotations throughout)
I came from a tennis playing family. All 4 of us kids played. I first stepped onto the court when I was 3 years old. That was the day I picked up my Dad’s racquet and started swinging it. (At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I was 3. How am I really gonna remember that?) Back to the story:
By the time I was 6, my Dad entered me in my first tournament. I was competing with the 10 and under age group. I guess I did ok because somehow or other my competition days kept right on going. The competitions started when I was 6 and didn’t stop until I was 14. By that time, the last year I was competitive I had progressed and was testing the waters of National Competitions. It was a necessary stepping stone. I wanted to get to the Pro’s. My ultimate destination was Wimbledon and the Grand Slam. I also craved receiving a college scholarship. It was the ultimate “prize” in a sport that demands a lot.
My “Olympic” sized dreams came to a crushing end far too soon…BUT that is another entry for another day – I hope it will be worth the wait. Here is the rhetorical question/prayer I asked God
Me: “Why on earth would you have me spend so much of my time…so much of Mom and Dad’s time, money and effort…only to have me not reach that goal and success? What was your point?”
The answer, or at least part of it arrived last week.
God: “What makes you think you weren’t successful, child? You committed yourself to a thankless, self-serving sport? The lessons you learned in training and competing were far greater than the fame or wealth the WORLD would have measured you by to be successful. I wanted MORE for you”
Me: to myself (Ok..that wasn’t the answer I was expecting…)
God: “The world” was represented by the “audience” watching those matches and while you would have liked the world to appreciate your skills; I’d always intended to have you shine elsewhere later. Yes, you trained diligently. But I didn’t want to provide you with ALL the keys you needed to achieve THAT goal because the goal you had set your eyes on weren’t part of MY WILL. I needed to develop you and that is what I was doing during those 7 or 8 years. That time wasn’t thrown away. Traveling the narrow path is harrowing. The skills you picked up from that experience will be invaluable in your WALK with me. You needed to see that you could train and do well, even IF your focus was off. Your focus was off because I did not intend for you to gain fame and success. NOT YET. Remember in The Word, how I told my own mother and disciples that my time had not come? (I know you do – John 2:4 and John 7:8)). Your time, as a tennis player, had also not arrived yet. I needed you to know what success looked like and be able to accept not reaching that goal. You were learning patience. Learning to Be Still (Psalm 46:10) I know it was HARD. I know you were disappointed. I know that disappointment has lingered. But it’s not all for nothing.
The enemy is all too pleased your dreams weren’t realized, but he has no idea what I have in store and at the moment you can’t see it clearly yourself.
Just remember and reflect on what you learned about the “Game:”
Competition Sportsmanship Humility
You’ve seen what can happen to sports figures in “The World” today and how they handle themselves in the limelight. You can recognize that “pride comes before the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)”
Me: (silently reflecting this)..Sadly there are too many athletes of late this applies to.
God: “Also, One very important goal of yours was fulfilled. And you know what I am referring to. You didn’t see that coming either! I wanted you to taste what my goodness is like and know that in your faith and trust; I AM always GOOD. And I love you…my arms are open wide and ready to hold you and protect.”
Me: It was in that moment I realized how foolish I had been in my discontent over what I had deemed to be my failure. I was allowing myself to see what the world sees as success and not looking through God’s eyes; the greatest gift of all. I have finally found some peace and rest. I can start to let go of my disappointment. I’ve been able to let go of my “Wimbledon“ and “Grand Slam” disappointments. But, He’s right. He did bless me with one of my youthful dreams and that will be a blog entry for another day. For the moment, I’ve already won the greatest prize…eternity with God.
The only question that remains is for you my friend: What about you? Where do you need clarity in your life? Pray for wisdom and discernment….
May you be surrounded by His blessings and until next week:
Keep watching and stay awake!
I know the things I ask for aren’t always the things that are GOOD for me. I thank you, that you know what’s BEST. Thank you for loving me enough to give me what I NEED and not what I WANT.
Thank you for knowing better.
My eyes only see a fraction of the picture you see…You see everything. You’ve known me; from the moment you created me to the last breath I will breathe.
Thank you for giving me EVERY Good Gift. Everything I NEED is found in YOU.