Futility of Being a Fan
An author once described a fan as "the guy who goes to the football game with no shirt and a painted chest…He's got a signed jersey hanging on his wall at home and multiple bumper stickers on the back of his car. But he's never in the game…. He knows all about the players and can rattle off their latest statistics, but he doesn't know the players… He is an enthusiastic admirer." That quote describes many years of my life. Even though I grew up in a Christian family and learned a lot about God, I was just an admirer. I was exposed to the beliefs and lifestyles of Christians from a very young age. For me, Christianity was a just a lifestyle because I didn't know life any other way. I knew about the Bible, went to church on the weekends, prayed before meals, but as I was growing up I didn't know an alternative to living like a Christian. I remember having a conversation with my little sister when I was a child. She was probably about five and we were playing in my backyard. I asked her if she was a Christian and she said "I think so." So I proceeded to tell her to go over in the corner and pray. I had no idea what she was supposed to talk to God about but that's what I had observed my whole life. She came back after a couple minutes and I yelled at her to go back over and pray some more. I told her she hadn't been praying long enough, it didn’t count.
In school, I was always one of those people that figured out what I needed to do to get the recognition or grade I wanted. As I got into high school, I had built up a good reputation for myself by making sure that I appeared successful in this Christian lifestyle that surrounded me. I was in the top of my class, captain of the softball team, and my teachers, friends, their families, my parents all respected me. But in January of my Junior year of high school, I encountered God in a way that I had never experienced before. It's a pretty funny story actually, but one that has some significant meaning in my life. I love to make people laugh, so one day I played a joke on my friend by hanging her car keys out of reach on a pipe in a classroom at school. This joke quickly turned into a terrible accident that flooded my school and caused thousands of dollars in damage. From that situation, God taught me that the reputation I had built up for myself through all my "Christian" performance wasn’t what mattered. The respect I had earned and image I had created would not make the water go back into those pipes and it could not comfort me in that moment of shame. I'm not saying that this experience got me kicked out of school or hated by everyone, but it did bring me to a realization that the way I acted wasn't the important thing. I realized that my personal and secure relationship with God is the only thing that can last. Through this experience, I realized that my picture of God was wrong. I learned that He doesn't want my athletic trophies or my scholastic award, He wants me. He wants a personal and loving relationship with me that can continue to grow throughout my life. A relationship that will never fail.