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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

**WARNING!!** Painfully honest post alert...

There's been a shocking abundance of people taking their eyes off the ball in this year's RBS 6 Nations Rugby Tournament. Most notably this past weekend - Wales just lost their focus against Italy and, shock horror!, so did England against France! (Sorry, couldn't resist the dig!)
What's perhaps more unbelievable, or frustrating even, about these events is that these are world class players (yes, even the English). They are experienced. They KNOW that taking your eye off the ball is a rookie mistake, a mistake which can - and often does - have drastic consequences.
When you have the ball in your possession and you're focused on the tryline you're strong. When you glance away for even a second you leave youself wide open to an attack by the opposition from which you may never recover. The shock of one attack leaves you reeling and before you know it another one hits. Your only chance is to learn from what's just happened and keep your focus - and not on the recent attack, but on the finish, on your gameplan. When you lose focus, or your focus changes, you lose the game.

Ok, so there's an analogy here. (Trust me, being Welsh, to find an analogy between rugby and the gospel...!)

I've been through a bit of a spiritual struggle of late. It all started around the beginning of Hope week, actually. I found myself with a lot on my mind - work, people, circumstances, future - and not enough time to deal with it. I found myself almost completely without motivation for Hope week - which certainly took me by surprise! Strike 1.
I found myself, for most of the week, just wanting to be alone (again, NOT like me!), but I didn't have (or create) this option, and that weighed down on me too. Strike 2.
I told one friend that as silly, or dramatic, as it sounded, I felt like I was under attack.
Somewhat paradoxically in that week I also had moments of feeling real, pure joy at seeing people come to know the Lord Jesus and I praised God for it - but I knew my heart wasn't fully right with Him. A strange state to be in.
But bottom line - I'd lost focus. I'd taken my eyes off the cross and instead of laying my burdens down at Jesus' beautiful feet and letting Him kick them into touch I struggled alone in the scrum. And I was trampled!
And here's the thing - when you're looking down at the ground trying to drive the enemy back in your own brute strength you can't see what's going on around you.
Bottom line - I wallowed! The less time I spent with God just me and Him, the more I struggled to keep my focus on the cross and on the hope of the party that is to come...and the less I could see the wonderful things going on around me, all the things He was doing.

By the end of the week things were better but not right. I feel like I'm still shaken, I still have the bruises, but my focus has changed now. It isn't on my situation, on the fact that the opposition seems to outnumber me, but it's on Jesus. It's on His cross.
It's on heaven - that's the tryline I'm running towards, with grace powering my every step.
No doubt I'm gonna get tackled again, but I pray the lessons from this recent challenge will stay with me forever. That I'll put on the armour of God, submit myself to Him, and praise Him all the way.

Judging by my performance these past few weeks I should be on the bench. But praise God that He selects us for His team not on our merits, but by His grace. "Amazing grace, which saved a wretch like me...twas grace which brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, now I've got a lot to think about.
Miri x

1:46 AM  

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