Erin is sharing with us today! She’s a junior in high school and offers great perspective and encouragement, no matter our age! [Thanks for sharing your heart, Erin! You’re beautiful!]
As I sit here, taking the part of my day I would usually be preparing for a volleyball game, I ponder the question at hand: How do I balance between school, sports and Jesus? I ask myself this question so frequently that it becomes more of a prayer than a routine. Obviously Jesus always comes first, right? I would like to say that’s ALWAYS the case, but sadly, it’s not. Teens, including myself, get side tracked SO easily. We get caught up in the excitement of school with friends, homework, sports, parents and jobs–the whole nine yards. The trouble is finding the time! We only have 24 hours in a day: take 8 for sleep, 7 for school, 2 for sports practice or game, up to 3 hours at work, and 1 on homework (two in my case). That only leaves 3 hours left in the whole day for 2 meals and to spend time with God. That’s not including extra clubs and activities expected out of honor students. That’s crazy! How could anyone expect that much out of a sixteen year old?!
Well, in my case, every day is different. I never know what the day holds for me. I try to find practical ways to remind me of my priorities. I always start the day with a Bible verse, taking the time to reflect on what God is trying to tell me and how I can apply it to the day ahead. Smiling at people down the hallway, talking to someone new, a random act of kindness–school might be the best place to show God’s love. It also might be the hardest. I know from experience, trying to talk to someone who isn’t in your “clique” is not only intimidating, it’s just not something anyone wants to do. However, as followers of Christ, shouldn’t we strive to be more Christ-like? Isn’t that what Christ did, spending time with the hated and mistreated, showing them LOVE? That’s a part of our mission, MY mission.
It’s a daily struggle to treat everyone the same and to respond to them in love. Although it’s not my love, it’s Christ’s and we need not show it only in school, but in sports too. I can’t express how hard it is to love others in the heat of a driven game. With all eyes on you, how you react in a game reflects who you are. If you are a representative of Christ, then what you do and how you act reflects HIM. In my situation, my prayer lately has been to give 100 percent in everything, and leave the rest to God. To be honest, it works! To my amazement, the first game I played after I prayed that I had no regrets. I kept a positive attitude and I played great! The power of prayer is the thing that boggles my mind.
However, when everything is going in a positive direction, it can easily change. I never thought anything bad would happen this season, and the thought really never sank in until I was sitting in the emergency room getting told I fractured my foot. My thought process was so scattered, I didn’t know whether I was more upset that I was hurt or the fact I wouldn’t get to finish what I had worked so hard for all summer. Then on the ride home, I realized I might have something great in store while not being able to finish the second half of my volleyball season. With some free time on MY hands, God could use HIS to mold me into something I could never become while playing volleyball.
I answer the question, “How do you balance school, sports and Jesus?” with two words: I don’t. The definition of “balance” is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain up right and steady.” That is as far from my life as it gets! Nothing gets the same amount of time in my life. I fall apart. I get overwhelmed too easily. I have the attention span of about five seconds. I think about sports during class. I stay up way too late doing homework. I procrastinate everything. I try to do too many things at once.
With all this jumbled mess I call my life, I wouldn’t really say I balance anything. Yet, God gives me the grace to continue, and when my eyes are on Him, He makes my crazy schedule possible.