Where does God fit into your priorities?

September 25, 2017

We all have priority lists. They may not all be written down somewhere; but, they are there somewhere in the back of your mind. These are the things that we have decided are important enough to commit some of our limited time and energy to on a daily or weekly basis. For most there are high priority commitments to family and to jobs – those come first. Then there are the other things that we commit time to – maybe school or learning, maybe having fun or playing games. There’s always some time committed to hockey shotrest and sleep, as well as eating. For more and more families, a good deal of time maybe be committed to sports, either as a participant or to facilitate our children n sports. For parents with school-aged children those sports activities may become all-consuming. Between overlapping sports seasons and travel teams there is always a game or practice for every waking moment. Over the last few years, those activities more often than not involved starting early Sunday morning and consuming most of the day.

So, where does God fit into your busy schedule? Has time for God and worship been pushed off your calendar by Lacrosse or Hockey or Soccer or some other activity that you are committed to take your children to, even on Sunday mornings? When did you get to busy for God? When did having your child practice or play a sport become morefemale soccer player important that learning about God and Jesus? When did kicking a ball around a field become more important that forming a good moral base for life? Where does God and the church fit into your family schedule? No time for that now. What a pity. How often, “I’ll get to that later” becomes, “I wish I had done that than.”

It is really up to parents to help their children make the right decisions about the priorities in their lives. IF the children see parents who are willing to push God aside for other things, it will establish a defacto priority in their minds that God is not really that important.  When parents go along with Sunday morning practices and games, thinking that they are doing it for their kids wellbeing, they are, in fact, showing the children that God takes a back seat to fun and games, sports and other activities. I am at a loss to understand where those same parents think that their children will learn the churchlife lessons and moral codes that being in Sunday School and Church would teach them. Learning good sportsmanship is one thing; but learning what God wants them to understand about life is an entirely different thing.

So, parents, ask yourself – where is God in my priority list? Is God up there as a priority with, and maybe even above family (where He should be); or, is God somewhere down the list, near the bottom, after sports and activities and games and school and all of the other things that are competing for the time and attention of you and your children? How does realizing what your priorities have become make you feel? You can change that. Put time for God where it belongs on your list of priorities and the rest will take care of itself.

Just say no to Sunday practices or games. Someday, when age or injuries have limited theirwoman-praying ability to shoot or kick or hit the ball anymore, your children will thank you for setting their priorities right and helping them establish a relationship with God that will serve them well for their entire lives. In the end, how much was the fact that you were a decent young hockey player or soccer player going to mean, as opposed to having established a lifelong relationship with God as a child?

Where does God fit into your priorities?

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Work Hard – Play For Fun

October 18, 2014

Work Hard. Play Hard. – as seen at the gym

I joined our local Anytime Fitness of Milford Gym a couple of months ago and have been going practically every day to work out. It’s part of a programs that I’ve put myself on to lose weight and get off what meds I take. I enjoy going for my workouts each morning and the results are starting to show. The other morning I noticed today’s little saying in the signage that the gym has on the front of the building – Work Hard, Play Hard.

That seems too attuned to personality type “A” people. I’d rather Work Hard; But Play For Fun. Life is too short to turn everything into hard work. There certainly are professional athletes for whom
baseball playerplaying a game is their work. Our weekend TV is full of pro-sport programs of all sorts. Even things that one might not initially associate with professionalism and hard work, like skateboarding or ping pong have pro circuits and many have their own TV coverage as well. While the professional athletes may have to work hard at it, even they will occasionally say “It’s only a game”, during an overly serious interview. Most of the really great pro athletes will still tell you that they play the game for the love of the game and it is just icing on the cake that they are well paid to do so.

Back to my philosophy – Work Hard, But Play For Fun. I think it is really important that one have activities – sports, hobbies, whatever – that they do just for fun. These are things that they can relax and enjoy. They are also things in which the participants usually don’t get all hung up on winning or losing. Fishing might be a good example. You’re outdoors, enjoying nature and able to clear you mind from most other things as you mentally try to figure out where to cast your line and how to play it in to attract fish. If you get fish that doesn’t mean that you won and they lost, any more than if you comefishermen home empty handled. It’s more about your imagined skills as a good fisherman. Yes, I know that there are also professional fishermen and event they have TV shows; but, for most of us, fishing would be a relaxing and non-competitive sport.

The concept of Work Hard Play Hard, it seems to me, is counterproductive to the very reason that we turn to play to begin with – to relax from a hard day’s (week’s) work. If you cannot let go of that winner-loser, zero sum game mentality, then how can you relax? There are lots of sports that don’t necessarily involve direct competition, or at least they don’t require that. Many of them, such as golf, pit the player against the course. Of course, when you start playing those sports with others the fact that you do keep score makes the game immediately lady golfercompetitive, if you let it. When you play alone, the only person that you can get mad at is yourself, which could result in many broken clubs.

The alternative is to play at whatever you are doing for relaxation just for fun. That is difficult for most of us because we tend towards measuring ourselves against something; whether it be an established standard or the results that someone else achieved. We have this need to somehow measure and mark our progress in the game/sport/hobby. For many just keeping track of their personal best is enough. If the activity is too simple and we quickly master it we just and quickly lose interest in doing it. Imagine a game where getting to a score of 100 was the best that you could do and you got there after just a few rounds of playing at it. Would you continue to play that game?

Hobbies can provide the perfect outlet for our need to relax and have fun. One nice thing about most hobbies is that one can master the skills needed for the hobby, but the challenge always remains to use those skills to create something else, collect something else or observe something else. The wood workerchallenge is in the execution and not achieving some set goal. There is also always the challenge of developing new skills or perhaps taking the hobby in new and unexpected directions.

So there is worth in the activity continuing to pose a challenge for you to be better at it. Once you see that it has that challenge and figure out where you are in the scoring scale, I can almost guarantee that you’ll try to find someone else who engages in the same activity, so that you can compare yourself to them. It’s at that point where you have the choice to continue the activity because it is fun for you, or turn it into work because you “need” to be better at it than others. Choose wisely at that junction; otherwise your play will become hard work. I chose not to turn my fun into more hard work.

It’s a weekend and you’ve worked hard all week; so, play for fun and relax! I’ve got to run off to the gym now and see if I can top my personal best on some of the machines.