So last night I was watching stuff about the US Women’s National Soccer team, things from the NIKE soccer campaign ‘pressure makes us’ to the story about Hope Solo’s father dying, to Abby Wambach’s 100th goal celebration at a match against Germany in her hometown.
On my DTS this spring during reflection time one Friday we learned about engaging styles. I learned that I engage and connect with the Lord most from my five senses. During that reflection time I talked about being moved into the Lord’s presence most when I am in worship engaging my ears to soak in the music, tuning into Jesus for the station where my heart is at. I also talked about cooking and the smells, painting and the sight, and soccer. I couldn’t really figure out what the soccer was but I but decided the heart must be the sixth sense. Our heart and our soul because I also engage during prayer so deeply that my heart wells up with joy to the point where laughter or tears spill out of me.
Last night this proved true as I was reading tweet updates from the Women’s National team players on twitter. I had already worked out once but after seeing the motivation, dedication and joy spewed across the faces of those players I went to run outside again. All I could think about the entire run was what Alex Morgan said in the video about training last fall, something about If I’m not working as hard as I can, somebody next to me is working harder. There can always be cuts on that team so you have to be giving your best. What if I showed up to every training session with the mentality that if I didn’t give everything I have in me, somebody else will?
As a team we didn’t get to nationals last fall because we sat around at practice, but we also didn’t get to nationals because we all worked 110% at every practice. We got to nationals because we push each other everyday to be the best, because we care more about the name on the front than on the back, we work hard to win no matter who is on that field, we’re a family and we believe in each other.
Growing up I wanted to be a professional soccer player but I knew I wasn’t good enough. I knew that I had to be playing for BANGU’s soccer club or on the Apple Valley premier team if I wanted to be the best. In high school I started being motivated to work out outside of practice, running on my own and shooting on my own, working on ball skills on my own. It seemed to be too late still. After sophomore year I had a rough finish in a game that canned our season and pushed me to tryout for the premier team and a C1 team in another city . Out of the 20 who tried out for the 3 spots left on the premier team, 5 got called back to tryout sixth months later for a girl who dropped out. I ran around the house screaming because I was so excited when I got the call that I was one of the five.. Only 3 of us showed up and I didn’t get the spot but I had made one of the two spots out of 8 girls who tried out for a C1 team. On my old team I was one of the best, but on the new team I was closer to the bottom. It was a hard transition to keep up but really good for my development. I learned so much and grew a ton in my passing, accuracy and precision playing with girls better than I was. Sadly in USA cup that summer (after Junior year, 2007) I tore my ACL right before the state tournament which we were expected to make an appearance.
I had wanted two things growing up, knowing I’d never be a professional… to play in the state tourney and to be the cap’t of my high school team.
That summer we made it to state by beating a team 7-0 in the district championship, and that fall I was not captain of my high school team, in fact I tried to manage but wasn’t welcomed by the cap’ts and ended up leaving the position. Two very devastating things occurred to me that summer and were some of the hardest things I had ever dealt with.
I hadn’t thought much about college soccer until senior year when it occurred to me I could keep playing. With the Winona State (Winona, MN) women’s team full, I decided to tryout for Northwestern College’s soccer team (Roseville, MN). Over the last few years I’ve started in a number of games, scored game-winning goals and made appearances with the team in the UMAC championships and this last year in the NCAA Division III National tournament. Somehow even in midst of the exciting winning steaks, incredible girls who make up part of my family, including 6 of them whom I live with at the Locker, (Soccer house) I still end up not satisfied. I love coaching my little 11 year old sister’s team and thought about Collegiate coaching after my last season this fall but somehow the desire to play and be the best is still growing. I’m not captain for the team this fall, which has also been a rough journey but I know God is calling me to serve humbly without a title. I don’t need to be the captain of the Women’s national team, I don’t even need to start but what an incredible position it would be to tryout and sit on the bench in the 2015 World cup in Canada.
Obviously this is more of a fantasy than a dream that is achievable but last night I couldn’t stop thinking about how badly I want to be on a team that matters to people, that little girls look up to and hang posters on their wall of, a girl like Abby Wambach who is the computer background of little soccer stars all over the country. Or like Alex Morgan who is only 22 and comes in for the last 20 min or less of a game and is still a nation wide hero for the goals she has finished with in the World Cup these last two weeks. What an honor and journey it would be. I have Jesus, I’m not empty and not just searching for a world cup title, or super bowl ring, or Olympic gold medal like many young athletes say that is all they want in life. I HAVE Jesus Christ in my heart, HE alone has graced me with true life, with living water and yet I still want more. I want the earthly pleasures of happiness instead of true Joy in what only He can provide.
Why are our hearts so easily persuaded by the flesh to seek and seek and seek after things of this world? Would making the national team make me more joyful? Would I be MORE satisfied than the rest of the team because I have Jesus TOO? I don’t know.. I wish I could find out. I wish I could have all of it, the free soccer stuff and the game time and playing with the best players in the world. What do you want? Is Jesus enough? Can we really be satisfied with just Him? Is the glory in heaven from being a good and faithful servant of dying to yourself on this earth going to be worth the earthly sacrifice? I hope so…
I wish I could tell you that I don’t want any of it, that I would rather spend the rest of this life providing food for the children dying in Somalia of famine, or teaching soccer to children stuck in Palestinian refugee camps, or nursing the sick back to health in India; and that somehow my own desires didn’t matter, because Jesus didn’t have an agenda, He only did what His father would do, He only spoke what He heard His father say. He DIED to himself to serve, not be served.
It’s a peace like war mentality.. I want to be at peace, and I CAN be when I am soaking in the Lords presence, but I’m also at war. ALL THE TIME, Satan is always working to either keep you ineffective or lead others astray. You know why we don’t think it’s fair that people who don’t even know Jesus in third world countries die and go to Hell? Because it doesn’t seem fair, but you know what the psalms say? They say that our actions effect others, that our sin has consequences outside of ourselves (psalm 78)… Did you ever thing about the stubbornness and selfishness of the people back when Moses was leading the Israelis? Their sinfulness has effected generations.. They turn away from Jesus and to things of this world teaching and being an example to love the flesh. They became ineffective leaders and ineffective parents and ineffective role models, that has carried through generations so that now, people don’t even know God, they CAN’T care, because they didn’t even know they had to fight their flesh. All these people know is the pains and temporary satisfactions of the flesh. So now what are we caring about? Ourselves? Or the need for the gospel to be shared? Lets be at peace together in the middle of the war against our flesh, lets fight their flesh by bring peace to a war struck land. Satan has people so lost into battle that they don’t even know there is peace available.