because life’s about more than friday night lights

People are looking forward to Friday night lights all across this great nation. Young men and women who have worked hard all summer will put into play all they have learned and practiced.

Yes, for most of these young athletes, summer means sacrificing much time, sleep and energy to forgo what is necessary to withstand all that a Friday night may bring. This summer was my oldest son’s first as a part of our Varsity team and our family learned much about juggling rides, aching muscles and early morning workouts.

For many families this type schedule and training goes on all year. With the change of every season, a new sport or activity seems to begin. The devotion and dedication to be the very best they can be motivates many to swing for the fences in light of missing out on some other things. Sports often require great sacrifice.

Yes, there are great life lessons in playing for a team, one of which is sacrifice. Other lessons are learned through accomplishments like touchdowns, tackles or victories while sometimes lessons come in the mundane and the hard. In the weight room as they push to beat their personal best. On the practice field as they strive to hustle an extra thirty minutes in the heat. Or, yes, even on the bench as they watch their teammates play. Life lessons can come in all shapes and sizes, in victory and defeat, and most of all in the mundane.

I am praying every day for these life lessons for my boys. I also realize that I need a game plan if I intend to reinforce all they need to know about their life in Christ before they leave me. I need to be more intentional in prayer for all the great attributes I desire for them to gain. As intentional as I am about having them at practice on time and attending their games. 

Yes, I want my boys to leave me knowing Jesus and living like Jesus.

That would be better than any championship or trophy. And, yes, I must be intentional if I intend to keep this in perspective regardless of the late nights and long days.

When the final whistle blows in this life, I think we all know what will really matter.

“…rather train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” {I Timothy 4:7b, 8}

I have a list of a few qualities I want for my boys. On the field and off. I am hoping this crazy, cheering, praying-for-no-injuries mama can find some time-out moments to teach just these things. In the car. At dinner. Or, even at bedtime. Whatever time, I am sure God will bless it.

I really believe that my main offensive strategy needs to start with prayer. Asking God to lead me closer to Him so I might in turn lead my players (yes, my kids!).

Allowing Him to speak to my heart and prepare my words so that His truth prevails and my children hear His voice through mine.

And, yes, most of all, thanking Him for the great opportunity I have as their life coach. The one entrusted to ‘train them up as they should go’ kind of coach.

I am grateful God is a much better trainer and coach than I will ever be and I definitely need Him as the Head Coach on my team!

So here it goes. A big piece of my game plan. My prayers over my boys. And, my deepest hopes and dreams for all the great character traits I want for them.

Not just trophies here, rather eternal trophies in heaven.

Attentiveness – to God’s wisdom {Proverbs 5:1,2}

Boldness – in sharing the word of God with others {Acts 4:29}

Compassion – towards the circumstances of others {Ephesians 4:32}

Devotion –  to prayer {Colossians 4:2}

Endurance – hardship as discipline {Hebrews 12:7}

Faithfulness –  to family, friends and their Heavenly Father {Matthew 25:21}

Generosity – sharing all that they have, knowing it is not really theirs, but God’s {Psalms 112:5}

Hard-working – as if working for God, not man {Colossians 3:23}

Humility – in victory and defeat {I Peter 5:5}

Integrity – so they can walk securely with Jesus {Proverbs 10:9}

Joyfulness – finding happiness in the little gifts and blessings of everyday {I Thessalonians 5:16}

Kindness – to everyone, even those who may not deserve it {2 Timothy 2:24}

Loving – God first and their neighbor as themselves {Deuteronomy 6:5}

Maturity – in faith, not lacking any good thing {James 1:4}

Merciful – just as their Father is merciful {Luke 6:36}

Obedience –  to God’s truth and His call for their lives {I Peter 1:14}

Patience – in affliction {Romans 12:12}

Purity –  in heart {Psalms 51:10}

Perseverance – as they run the race marked before them {Hebrews 12:1}

Peacemakers – so they will be called sons of God {Matthew 5:9}

Resolved – not to sin {Psalms 17:3} {Daniel 1:8}

Selfless – considering others above themselves {Philippians 2:3}

Steadfastness – in Spirit {I Peter 5:10} {Psalms 51:10}

Sincerity – near to God {Hebrews 10:22}

Self-controlled – worthy of respect {Titus 2:2}

Trustworthy – known for always speaking truth and keeping secrets {Proverbs 11:13}

Thankfulness – giving thanks in all things for this is God’s will {I Thessalonians 5:18}

Victorious – through our Lord Jesus Christ {I Corinthians 15:57}

Wisdom –  as they grow in favor with God and men {Luke 2:52}

Zeal – for serving the Lord {Romans 12:11}

Yes, I want my boys to possess these great traits. I know it won’t necessarily be easy, but I trust it will all be worth it.

Just this week, our community lost a great man. He was a coach to some, a teacher to others, and from all counts I have read and heard, a friend to all. Every post, every conversation, and every article focused on the one thing that made him who he was which was ‘whose‘ he was.

His life centered around Jesus first, victories second.

He was more concerned about the people than the win.

Many of these attributes I believe were part of his daily life. That’s what made him special. Yes, he would never agree, but those who knew him speak of his great legacy. Not of just winning on the field, but rather winning the hearts of those whose lives he touched.

The verse many continue to use this week when remembering Coach is a great one.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” {Matthew 25:21}

Yes, I want my children to do as this great man did.

To finish well.

To leave a legacy of love through the people they have encountered along life’s way.

I want them to enjoy sports, but to focus more on the eternal victory than a Friday night win.

I want them to possess all of these great godly attributes in such a way that when people see them, they see Jesus. 

Because His light far outshines those we will soon see on Friday nights.


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