We are all are subject to the pull of gravity, even if we’re not all that familiar with how it works. I know I don’t often think about it; I just live with it. So describes my life prior to being given new eyes, ears and heart.
I played college basketball at a small NAIA school in Oklahoma. I was just good enough to make the team, and I was determined to work hard in order to be somebody. I loved the game. Ever since junior high, the pull of the game became more than a healthy force that kept my feet on the ground and gave me exercise, a group of friends and some fun things to do on Friday or Saturday nights. The harder I worked, the more the feeling crept in that this game owes me. The more I practiced, the more I found I had to prove my abilities and needed, even demanded, opportunities to show I had what it took.
At one point in my junior year of college, I broke into the starting line-up. All my hard work had paid off. It was then that I found I couldn’t shut off the constant pressing, striving and proving I had made my default over the past several years. I was great at chasing the dream, but not very good at possessing it. The pressure became too much and after a few games I was replaced in the starting lineup and went back to coming off the bench. And so I returned to the only method I knew to deal with the pain and to remedy the heartache I felt—more work, more practice, more devotion. I have to confess, this had become my plan for much more than just basketball at that point.
Late one night in the midst of this wreckage, I went back to the gym alone to shoot. Several minutes into the workout, hitting jump shot after jump shot, I began to get angrier and angrier. I finally collapsed to the floor in angry tears. All the whispers of the enemy bombarded me in this climactic moment. All I had come to believe was being put on the table. This game owes me. I’ve sacrificed. I’ve done all the work. I love this game. My next thought came as more of a rebuttal—as if God was invading the gym and protecting me from the enemy who, like a shark, had smelled blood and was circling me. I believe God was whispering straight to my heart, “The game doesn’t love you back.” The Jealous Lover of my heart had made His heart known. More tears came, but this time they were not of anger but relief. The great break-up began, and the relationship I had been in with this game for the previous 12 years came to a glorious train-wreck ending.
I went into the gym under the heavy weight of a gravitational pull toward anything that might give me Life (applause, recognition, validation, acceptance, worth, belonging) and went out of the gym having lost a hundred pounds of spiritual weight. One relationship severed, and another one now free to advance.
A game isn’t the only thing that can pull us down with fierce force. Any hobby or interest has the ability to become an obsession. Most often, it is another person that will have the binding, pulling effect. Doing whatever it takes to make Mom and Dad proud, giving anything to show a special someone that we aren’t lacking and don’t fall short—these are all symptoms of a sickness. A condition that if left untreated will leave us barely alive. A girlfriend, teacher, coach or parent, all with their own heart’s gravitational dilemmas to work out, can be so destructive when the forces in their lives collide with ours.
There is only one answer.
Turn to the One who isn’t subject to the gravitational pull
but who wants to set us free...
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Turn to the One who isn’t subject to the gravitational pull but who instead wants to set us free from its power and devastation. God has freedom on His heart all the time because that is what love does. Pure, unconditional, unadulterated love frees us!
(An excerpt from Search and Rescue: The Life and Love Looking For You)