Saturday, September 28, 2013

Johnny Football got me thinking.

I feel like I've slammed my head into a wall.  It's fun.  I did get a little work done.  So yay?  Still not enough, though.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

So let's talk about football. State pretty much slaughtered Central Michigan today, 45-14.  And they got their two TDs in the 4th quarter.  We were up 38 points before they even got on the board.  Then again, their main quarterback is out with a broken collarbone so their QB today was a red-shirt freshman (meaning this is his first season playing, but he's actually a sophomore), so I don't think we can feel too cocky about the win.  I also watched the Texas A&M/Arkansas game since I have several blog friends who love both teams.  Now, I understand why a lot of non-A&M people hate A&M's quarterback, Johnny Manziel aka "Johnny Football."  He is incredibly full of himself and his talent, and you can see it through a TV screen, but the kid is GOOD.  Call him cocky all you want, but he is good.  He's a red-shirt sophomore and the talent he has at 20 years old is just ridiculous.  With a ranked team surrounding him and up against a young team and a new coach at Arkansas, it's no surprise that they won.

But it makes me wonder what is going on in Johnny's mind off the field.  Is he that full of himself in the rest of his life, or is this a persona people see when he puts on that uniform and takes control of the Aggies?  Does he think that this is what he was made for, to play football?  Is this what life is about for him?  I can't believe I'm thinking this deeply about a football player I've never seen play before tonight, but seeing his attitude just got me thinking.  If he puts his whole worth on how many games he wins, how many touchdowns he throws, then, honestly, that just makes me want to pray for him, not hate him.  Because he is missing so much.

And he's not the only one.  We were all made to worship.  The problem is that the only thing worthy of being worshiped is God, The Creator, and all too often, we end up worshiping things He created.

We worship teams and players that we love, just because they're talented, forgetting that there's Someone who gave them that talent.  We worship celebrities, thinking that's who we can model ourselves after, and then get disappointed when we find out they're just as fallible as we are.

We worship our passions and hobbies, music, sports, politics, thinking that if we succeed, we'll find the validation that our broken hearts long for, forgetting that this world is just as broken as we are and thus can't give the validation we need.  We forget that our worth doesn't lie in what we can do.  I sent a text to Ryann after every soccer game she lost when she was here at Campbell, just to remind her that she's worth more than what pops up on the scoreboard.  I wish every athlete had that reminder in their lives, because as her best friend, and knowing several other collegiate athletes, I've seen how blurry your vision can get when you pour your heart and soul into a sport.

We worship relationships, craving a hole inside of us to be filled by people we love and who love us, forgetting that only God can fill that hole and give us the kind of relationship that we seek.  We get scared when they fail us, wondering if they really care about us like they said they did.  We put expectations on ourselves and each other that none of us were ever created to be able to keep.

We worship ourselves.  We fool ourselves into thinking that we were meant to be served by this life and in this world, and get mad when God doesn't act like our fast-food server and give us exactly what we want how we want as quickly as we want.

And the thing is, Christians are just as guilty of this as non-believers.  That's a huge message that I would love to get across to the people I know who aren't Christians.  I know I'm not better than you.  I know that I've worshiped every single one of the things that I just listed up there, I've made every single one of those mistakes.  Any Christian who is going to be real and vulnerable with you will tell you the same.  Christians just don't have to get weighed down by the guilt of our mistakes because we have Jesus, who paid the price for all of it for us, because the God that we serve is a God of boundless forgiveness and countless second chances.

I don't know if Johnny Manziel knows Jesus.  My gut tells me he doesn't, but what do I know?  Watching that game tonight made me wish I could have a conversation with him, find out what he really believes, and tell him that there's something so much bigger out there, something that won't be ripped away if his body starts failing him tomorrow.

For me, it took having everything I thought I knew about my life ripped away, almost losing my chance to go to college, to realize that my world wasn't meant to be centered on my education and my value was not based on my GPA.  I hope somehow, Johnny realizes that this world isn't about football, either, before he has to walk down the same path that I did.

And I pray the same for each of you, too.  Because we all struggle with this, whether we admit to it or not.

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