July 17, 2014
For several years, we went on a family vacation with my brother and sister and their families, and my parents to Myrtle Beach. Gigi and I would get really excited at the opportunity to participate in one of the coolest traditions and most exciting and hilarious sights ever. Our Myrtle Beach high-rise has a “lazy river” where you can leisurely ride around on an inner tube. Well, about 4 years ago, my then 9 year old, Gigi, decorated a little turtle and entered “Kevin” in the turtle race they have every day in their lazy river. Twelve noon was post time. The excitement builds as veterans know the amazing fun to come and rookies are curious and nervous about this specatacle. Kids, parents and even grandparents are jockeying around the ‘racetrack.’ The whistle blew and the activities director dumped about 75 decorated plastic turtles into the river … and the race was on!
The kids’ excitement was so infectious that many of us parents were caught up in the “for all the marbles” turtle race on this muggy, 93° day at high noon. Even innocent bystanders, people with no turtles in the race, were keyed up and interested in the outcome. People were hootin’ and cheerin’, running around the river to see where their turtle was … it was hilarious. I actually shouted to another excited father, “O, baby. Competition, you gotta love it!”
I’ve loved sports, ever since I can remember. Sports have clear goals, structure, expectations, excitement, winners, second and third chances, attention, escape from reality, rewards, measurable advancement, teamwork, camaraderie … and so much more if you really excel at sports. I was blessed to have many successful and exciting experiences in athletics.
But you see, even though sports was a positive activity in many ways, unfortunately, I developed a dependency, an actual addiction, to them. I turned to them when I felt low, insecure, lonely, and inadequate, or when I was confused or overwhelmed, especially socially. Sports brought me relief from my discomfort. Unbeknownst to me, this was really stunting my spiritual growth. I should have been turning to God and His Holy Bible for comfort and answers.
God wants you to be His. Once you Believe in Christ as your Savior, and then Receive the invitation from God to have an eternal relationship with Him, He works constantly to wean you off all other dependencies. A big part of Becoming a real disciple of Christ is letting your security rest in Him alone … not in other things, people, or circumstances.
Today, reflect on some positive or stress-relieving activities in your life. Have you started to rely on work, fitness, sports, or hobbies too much? What about your spouse, kids, intellect, or problem-solving skills? Obviously, substances like alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine are toxins. How about food? We need it, but too much, too little, or using it as a coping skill to soothe yourself is very problematic and indicative of a deeper spiritual issue. Yes, the list is endless. So, to what do you turn before you turn to God? Turn to Him first today. He forms the foundation of your happiness first and then uses other activities to provide satisfaction and fulfillment to help you grow. Whether you rely on Him during stressful times, or you rely on your own self-made fixes is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I thank You for all that I have. I thank You for the security You provide for my life. Day by day, this physical world becomes a more frightening and insecure place. I accept You as my God and my Savior. But I humbly admit to You that I am not yet weaned from other dependencies. Help me let go of them as I grasp more firmly to You. I pray this in the name the one who depended solely on You, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:9-11