Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let's Face It: Sticks and Stones

My husband is a head baseball coach and has been for 10 years. Sometimes it amazes me how many people hurl their opinions, coaching tips, and curse words (among other things) at him year after year. In the early years of our marriage, negativity was often spouted all around me as people commonly mistook me for a high school student. Now, most people recognize me as the mother with the "triplets" and therefore keep their opinions semi-private if they sit near me. Yet, each baseball season I view how petty, ugly, and just down-right hateful we can be to those around us. Don't get me wrong, I have been on both sides of that equation (head down and ashamed). Each year it seems that sticks and stones might actually be the preferred weapon of choice, because words are hard to take back. This is where we find ourselves this baseball season. Taking each criticism to heart even though we would like to be tough and say that "words will never hurt us." I wonder how friends turn to enemies so quickly and why in the world he subjects himself to this year after year? For love of the game, right? At this point, that would be the only reason to press on. Or maybe, just maybe, there is one more reason to persevere: to show others that we belong to God.

Negativity stings. I find it to be a vicious cycle. Someone accuses me. I get hurt. I pick up the phone and call a friend and talk about how hurt I was by ______ . Then I find myself, in turn, accusing my accuser and doing the exact same thing I just said I hated. Vicious cycle. My mom often warns me to "never react in anger because critical words are not easily forgotten." I know this. I have a hard time forgetting words said to Robb and I in anger long ago. Again, vicious cycle. When others are critical of us, we have to plant ourselves in the Lord and fight to keep standing. We wouldn't learn much if things were always perfect. Those rocky patches are where we learn to stay planted in the Lord, where we learn to be fighters, overcomers, and ultimately learn how to survive when everyone around us wants to uproot us and cast us aside. So, despite how deep some words have stung us, we will choose to forgive, forget, and move on. Hoping that we can react to negativity in a manner that makes people take notice and wonder why we look different. I have failed in this area ALOT, probably the only reason I feel the need to stamp it down just one more time on my blog. Because I know how hard it is to press on even when you don't get the apology you hoped for, even if no one ever pats you on the back and says "great job," and certainly when the offenses keep rolling in like the morning tide.

"They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Psalm 34: 5

This verse helps me to remember that when I look to Jesus, in all situations, my appearance, reactions, and attitudes can truly radiate the fact that Christ is Lord of my life. And no matter what, I will never be ashamed.