When you realize you're not acting like yourself...
Convicted...that's how I felt. It was the first home hockey game of the season. Each year I look forward to it with joyful anticipation. I had never even BEEN to a hockey game before I met Jeff. But when we started dating I was thrilled to find out that he would watch the Badgers play hockey on Saturday nights at the Kohl Center in Madison.
And so it's always been! Hockey season rolls around and we know we will have a handful of Saturday nights which include dinner, drinks and dynamic ice-action. Should be fun, right?
Well, last night...it felt...not so fun?
I'll admit, I've gone through many changes in the past year/year and a half. One of them has been to eliminate things that bring me down. I've found that when I'm staying positive, when I'm looking for the best, when I'm bringing God glory and walking the road He wants me to walk, I am soooo at peace; and there's no where that I'd rather be.
With all those changes that I've made; surrounding myself with joy, enveloping myself with hope~last night surprisingly became an exception. I came home feeling sad, downtrodden, and deflated.
Last season, I DID catch a foreshadowing of my startling realization from last night. Last season, you see, I ran into a teacher with whom I'd subbed a couple of times. She said, "Oh my gosh...I saw you at a hockey game a couple of weeks ago."
I said, "Wow, really?"
She said, "Yeah~and I was like, 'Hey! That's a side of her I didn't know she had.'" Ouch...
Maybe because that's a side of me that I shouldn't have...
Maybe because that's the side of me that DOESN'T bring God glory...
Maybe because that's the side of me that would make people look at me and say, "You're a Christian? Never would have guessed that!"
Now~some people would say, "But, you didn't swear, you didn't give the refs the finger, you didn't ....." But here's what I have realized; that doesn't matter. It's the voice...it's the yelling...it's the booing...it's the "Come on! What are you thinking? Let 'em play!!!!!" Oh my...that's not me...not anymore.
I realized about half way through the second period that I was mad. I was no longer having the same fun that we had leading up to the game: laughing until my stomach hurt, taking pictures, catching up on what we'd been up to over the summer. No~I was seething with anger because of bad calls, waved off goals, and...hmmmm...the game?
It felt like every part of my body was out of balance with The Spirit. The Holy Spirit. He's still there, inside me...but I couldn't hear him. The crowd around me, the turbulence of the game; it was swallowing me up and I couldn't feel right in my own skin. It was Anger...and that's not a fruit of the Spirit...that's a fruit of Sin.
So, this morning, I stood in the shower wondering how I could still wake up and feel so negative. Then, while doing my hair, I continued to ponder that negative feeling. I walked into church to start rehearsing for worship team and a friend of mine said, "I really appreciate your joyful spirit." HUH???? I was just starting to doubt that joyful spirit still existed!
What was the difference? How can I still go back to hockey and not let that loud-mouthed, sassy-pants-ed, ego-centric maniacal woman emerge? PREPARE WITH PRAYER. I prepare for my day at the high school with prayer~I pray on the days we have doctors appointments for Evie~I pray when our planes take off on our way to vacation, and I pray when they land us back at home. I guess I never have considered praying before I go out for a night of fun and friendship. But why wouldn't I?
As our pastor said today in his sermon, we are Christian Ambassadors. Everywhere I go, I am representing my Savior. If HE never lashed out at others as HE himself were being lashed, then what would He think of me screaming as loud as I can, "Are you SERIOUS???? DID YOU SEE THE PLAY????"
So, who DID bring that Crazy Lady to the game last night? I did. But, I really hope I never do again. Sports are sports. Games are games. My friends, God bless them, because they haven't brought duck tape to put over my mouth yet~and they deserve better than I have been delivering. And my God? Oh my...He certainly deserves a servant with a quiet heart...and mouth. :)