My Mom Scoreboard
We are a sports loving household – okay, maybe not the entire household but half – okay, fine, it’s me, just me! In a house full of males, I am the most avid sports fan. I like pretty much any sport in season but my favorite sport of all sports is hockey, which is weird, because I grew up in east Texas in the 60’s and 70’s and the closest I ever got to a hockey game was watching the winter Olympics. Then I met and married my hockey-playing, Minnesota raised husband and he took me to a game in 1993. From that first puck drop, I was hooked and ice replaced turf, sweaters replaced jerseys, periods replaced quarters and now 82 games lead to the best months of the year, April – June and the Stanley Cup playoffs. But what does hockey have to do with living a life wholeheartedly for Christ?
Glad you stayed with me to find out. Like all sports, hockey has a scoreboard and on that scoreboard information is displayed about the game. I look to see who is winning, to see what period we’re in and to see how much time is left to either bite my nails or hold my breath. And in hockey, the scoreboard also displays for all to see, the one who was caught in a wrong and who must now sit out their penalty time in the penalty box, otherwise known as the “sin bin”. That’s the connection. The scoreboard, the “sin bin” and God’s grace.
Sometimes I feel like I am a player in this really fast game called “life”. People are flying in and out, schedules and timelines are sailing by, worldly temptations and problems are coming at me from all sides and when I mess up – there it is, up on the scoreboard. Player Mom to the penalty box – 2 minutes for grumbling and complaining about clothes left on the floor or a 5 minute major for an angry outburst with tongue lashing and eye daggers because a grade fell below a B. After the flurry of the interaction, sitting there alone, it begins to feel like all eyes are on me, with no shortage of unsolicited “helpful coaching” from the crowd in the stands, the entire situation magnifies to me that once again, I got it wrong.
Some days I feel like Paul in his letter to the Romans, not understanding what I am doing, trying to do right, then doing what I hate, back into that “sin bin” and I just can’t seem to stay out of it. But my Mom penalties aren’t all that are on display. No, I can quickly attach my identity (my Proverbs 31 Christian Wife/Mom points if you will) to my husband, and my kids and when they don’t do, act, react, walk, talk, end up, get done, run the play, etc.. like I had it all planned out in my head, I look up at that imaginary scoreboard and I see myself sitting on a big fat “O” while all my friends seem to be scoring in triple digits. I’m losing because obviously I am not playing good enough to be in the Wife/Mom position! Crazy right? But don’t we all keep some kind of scoreboard in our head? No? Well I do, and I had let it become my focus.
The more I thought about this analogy and the more I prayed about my life and scoreboards and comparing myself to others, the more evident it became, I was too busy worrying about the crowd and what they were thinking about me. I had to make a change. I needed to take myself out of the game and sit on the bench so that I could hear the guidance of my One True Coach – to be reminded of His truth and encouragement. I needed His constant reassurance that I am not in this game alone. I had to return to His Word for it is in His Word that He tells me that I am part of a body, a team playing this life game for His kingdom, not me out here alone, playing for my own recognition or crowd admiration. That this body, us, the believers, must work together, encouraging and lifting each other up in order to follow the plan that He has drawn up for us to be effective in winning souls for Him. And best of all, His Word promises me that, when I ask, He forgets those penalties and, if I am willing, He will put me right back in the game. Only He’s sending me in better equipped and with experiences to share that glorify Him.
Oh He’s tough and His discipline after those penalties can be unpleasant but it is only because He wants more than good from me, He wants what He knows is my best. He guides me to be the Wife/Mom that is best for my family and the me that gives my best for Him. He trains me to do my best for my fellow believers and even if I don’t understand why, to do my best for the crowd. To give each day my all, not because I need to earn points to win, but because I am playing for Him. Oh and by the way, He doesn’t keep score. HE DOESN’T KEEP SCORE!! THERE IS NO SCOREBOARD IN HEAVEN!!
Slowly but surely he is helping me to truly believe that His grace is sufficient and He alone helps me to keep my eyes off that imaginary board in my head.