Fair Weather Fan

I am a fan of a certain football team.  I love it when they’re winning.  I cheer for them when they beat their opponents.  I sit and watch the game when they are playing well.  I’m proud to call them my team when they have a winning season.

But there are times when I look the other way.  When the team just can’t seem to do anything right in a game.  When the score is lopsided and not in their favor.  When they’re not playing well.  Well.  I tend to walk out of the room.  I find something.  Anything else to do but watch my team humiliate themselves.  It’s too painful.

I’ve never attended a game in person.  I can say it’s because I don’t like big crowds.  Or that tickets would be impossible to get.  Or that I don’t want to sit outside in uncertain weather.  But really.  What would I do if I went to a game and my team didn’t really show up to play?  I couldn’t sit through it.  I would need a way out.  I would need to escape.  My heart wouldn’t be in the game.

My team is often in the news.  When they’ve won an impossible game.  When they have a winning record.  When their star player makes an incredible play.  When there’s talk of the national championship.  But there are times when they’ve been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  It’s disheartening to hear talk of a great team or coach or player who has played poorly or acted foolishly.  Rumors fly.  Speculation is rampant.  The full story is never told publicly.

I admit it.  I am a fair weather fan.  If things aren’t going well with my team, I look away.  Oh.  I walk away from the game.  Oh.  I love that team.  But my support is only skin deep.  Does that mean I’m not a fan?  Or.  Does it mean I speak with my lips and not from the heart?  I haven’t sold out completely to the team I call my own.  Is that a double standard?


Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.  Matthew 12:30


I am a Christian.  I have asked God to forgive my sins.  I have vowed to follow Christ for all my days.  I love it when he blesses me.  I am thankful when he answers my prayers.  I am humbled when he shows his love to me in ways I never imagined.

There are times when God doesn’t answer the prayers I want him to answer.  Or he doesn’t answer in the way I wish he would.  There are times he allows me to walk a rocky road.  There are days when it seems he’s not fighting for me.  But the thing is.  I have to know and accept the truth about God.  I know he is always fighting for me.  He is working hard for me.  Always.

God is always with me.  He fights my every battle.  He walks every step with me.  When the going gets tough in my life, he’s right there with me.  He doesn’t give up on me when I give up on the situation.  He equips me to do the work he has set out for me.

God loves me.  Always.  It doesn’t matter if I return his love.  His love never changes.  Even when I act unlovely.  Even when I fail.  Even when I turn my eyes to smaller gods.  He still loves me.  When I come running back to him, he’s waiting with outstretched arms.

So how can I be disappointed in my God.  How can I walk away when I know he never gives up on me.  I can count on God.  I can trust him.  And I do.  This is one team I choose to stay with no matter what happens.  God is my God and I am his.  We are in this fight together.

Feedback

She asked to meet with me.  She wanted to hear my thoughts on how the job was going.  We chatted.  She offered feedback.  When is feedback ever positive?  Oh.  Her feedback was supplied by someone else.  She named the informant.  I was surprised with the feedback.  But not offended.  After all, I’m new.  I’m still learning.  I’m in training.

Another new person also had a meeting.  She also received feedback.  Feedback that offended her greatly.  She couldn’t let it go.  So she talked to another.  Little did she know that her information would be passed on further.

It seems that these coworkers share more than they should.  They discuss salaries.  Raises.   Performance reviews.  Beefs with coworkers.  Oh.  They’re nice.  But do I trust them?

So I’ve learned.  I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.  Oh.  I already knew to do that. But now I’m careful what I say and who I say it to.

One, in particular, likes to gossip.  She learned of my meeting.  She knew I had received feedback.  She was desperate to know what had been said.  So she pretended to be friendly.  Asked about my weekend.  She was fishing.  Fishing for information about my feedback.  I didn’t take the bait.  I knew that if I shared it, everyone would know by the end of the day.  That’s not what I want.


Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Ephesians 4:29


I once worked with another group of women.  They had a meeting to discuss what they didn’t like about each other.  Oh.  Imagine how the tensions flew.  Needless to say, that group fell apart.  Quickly.  By the time I joined the team, all trust was gone.

Why would they do that?  How can people be so cruel?  Why didn’t they instead share what they liked about each other?  Why not build up instead of tear down one another?

I wonder.  What would happen if we would focus on the positive and beautiful instead of finding the juicy gossip or negative tidbits about others?  Why do we instead go for the information that will get us the most laughs or gasps of horror?  When the story is about another?  Why do we do that?

Oh.  You’re guilty.  I’m guilty.  We all have done it.  Most likely.  We all will do it again.  But what if we stopped first and asked ourselves a question.  If this information I’m about to share was about me, would I share it?  Is there a positive story about the other person I can share so others will see them in a better light?  Or.  Why say anything at all?

If someone is talking about others to you, then they’re most likely talking about you to others. 

I learned that lesson years ago in another work situation.  Someone I worked with would tell me unflattering stories about others in the company.  Then it dawned on me one day.  She must also be talking about me to those people.  Because I could see the way they looked at me.

If you can’t say anything nice or positive, don’t say anything at all.  If Jesus Christ was standing beside you, what words would you say?

 

We Really Do Need Each Other

We get home from the dog park and pile out of the car.  As soon as her feet touch the cool concrete of the garage, she lies down for a breather.  Panting hard and enjoying the cool floor, she lies still for what seems like forever.  Not wanting to move.   She’s worn out from the hour spent with other breeds of her own kind.

A liver spotted Dalmatian.  3 Huskies, 2 of them pups.  A friendly Pit Bull.  A Golden Retriever.  Some half breeds.  Some pure bred.  Others are a bundle of mix and all mutt.  But all dogs.  Playful.  Fun loving.  Energetic.  Dogs that love to run and chase balls.  Rough house with each other.  Establishing dominance and order.  Finding a friend for the moment.  It’s a dog’s life, after all.

Once their owners get out of the way, the dogs will navigate amongst themselves and discover the leader of the pack.  The leader is always sure to stand out.  Some dogs hit it off immediately.  Others warm up to each other slowly.    Some dogs are aggressive.  Others so passive, they roll over and submit without a fight.  And then there are the loners.

These dogs need to be with their own kind so they’ll know how to be dogs.  They learn from each other.  Social behaviors.  Pack rules.  Being a lone wolf isn’t all it’s cut out to be.  Dogs need their pack and each dog plays a role.


As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.  Proverbs 27:17


I saw the text immediately.  Pray for me.  She said.  I don’t know who else to turn to.

I stopped everything and prayed for her right then and there.  My friend was in need and I could help by praying.  You see.  I’ve been in similar situations.  I’ve had moments when I needed to reach out to others.  Asking for them to pray for me when I couldn’t.  When I was hurting and confused.  When my world had fallen apart.

We need Christian friends who can hold us up in our time of need.  The Christian walk isn’t for the faint.  And it isn’t to be done alone. We need each other.

I have friends.  Christian friends.  They’re all different.  Some are my age.  Others are  younger.  Some are moms.  Some are grandmothers.  Some work.  Others don’t.  Some are single.  Others are married.  I call them friend.  Friends I count on to encourage me in my Christian walk.

I have a friend who will unexpectedly text me a thoughtful note or an encouraging Scripture right when I need it.  Others have sent texts saying they were praying for me.  Still others ask how I’m doing.  Some ask specifically how they can pray.  I need them.  I need each of these friends. Each one of them has a role in my Christian walk.  They hold me accountable.  They listen to me.  They give godly advice.  They quote Scripture to me.  They pray for me.  I need that.  I need them.  I can’t do this Christian walk alone.

We need fellowship and friendship with each other.  We need fellow Christians to walk alongside us during our heartaches and trials.  When we can’t walk alone.  We need friends who will be Jesus to us right then and there.  That’s how God made us.  That’s what he wants for us.  Oh. We can deny it.  At times, we choose to ignore it and try to be a lone wolf.  Have you heard a lone wolf’s cry?

Reuben Welch said that in the midst of all our likenesses and similarities, there can be fragmentation, division, insecurity and loneliness.  Mostly loneliness.   Oh.  He said that in the late 70’s.  He even wrote a book about it.  But it still holds true today.  Reuben Welch was right.  We really do need each other.