I recently played in a flag football tournament here in Dallas. The teams were co-ed, and mine happened to consist of several very athletic guys, plus six of us girls who were mostly just there to meet the criteria of “co-ed.”
I found that with quick footwork, I was able to guard our quarterback against most of the girls and could even slow down a couple of the guys (if I fell down and used my body as a speed bump). I’d already informed the guys on my team that my master plan was to run around waving my arms, but under no circumstances should they throw the ball to me. Not even if I was wide open in the end zone.
Now, I’m actually a pretty good sprinter, so after running a while and flailing my arms like crazy, I started feeling a little bolder. I began to rush the other team’s quarterback and found I could quickly sneak up on him before he’d had a chance to throw the ball. I had visions of single-handedly taking down the quarterback. I was working on my victory dance. I’d already planned how I’d be hoisted onto shoulders and carried off the field.
The problem was that once I reached the quarterback, I was too afraid to pull the flag. That’s right, afraid.
You see, three scenarios played out in my head each time I got within reach of the quarterback:
- If I reach for that flag, and the guy flinches or moves at the last second, I might end up grabbing… well… something else.
- There’s a chance I’ll just flat-out pants the guy, and then we’d both be mortified. Probably him more than me, though.
- Although unlikely, it’s not impossible that some awkward combination of situations 1 and 2 could happen, in which case I’m quite sure I’d be the more embarrassed of the two.
- **A less glaring 4th option was that he’d rocket the ball in my general direction, I wouldn’t think fast enough, and then we’d have this whole Marcia Brady situation on our hands.**
I started thinking how this resembles my life. I hardly ever have huge, life-altering decisions to face. The decisions I do face, however, are fairly common to all Christians.
Am I going to have my quiet time this morning? Am I going to tithe even though money is tight? Am I going to sign up for that mission trip? Am I going to invite my neighbor to church with me this weekend? Am I going to stop worrying and let God be in control of ____ today?
These are the everyday challenges set before me, which I approach with the greatest of intentions. But standing in front of them, dancing around and waving my arms, is not good enough. Until I take that last step, I’m not exhibiting faith in God to work out the final details.
There’s a book I’ve been studying recently, and in it there’s a chapter dealing with the dangers of being passive. Passivity is the opposite of activity, and passive sins (sins of omission) are simply when we fail to do something that’s right. That means the time I didn’t follow through when God prompted me to invite my neighbor to church wasn’t simply a “missed opportunity,” it was me sinning by omission. God put me in place and initiated the conversation, but when I didn’t take that last step and act in faith on the groundwork He’d laid, I passively disobeyed. So not only did I sin, but I chose the laziest form of sinning: doing nothing.
I realize that as a single adult, I should actually hold myself to a higher standard. My thoughts aren’t distracted towards a husband or kids just yet. What I should be, because of my status, is even more in tune with the Lord and how He wants to use me. It’s only a passive, worldly mind that allows my emotions to dictate what can be accomplished for the Kingdom. So I’m challenging myself to make a conscious decision to resist that passive frame of mind, but to take the last step and become an active Christian.
As to how this affects my sports skills: Flag footballers, beware. Next time I’m going to close my eyes, grit my teeth, grab the flag, and hope (for his sake) the quarterback is wearing clean underwear…