I’m getting ready to re-vision my blog. By that I mean I’m going to take a short break to brainstorm some great ideas for future posts. I want to make this a place you can stop by to pick up handy tips and inspirational messages to help you in your day-to-day life, as well as catch a weekly laugh.
That being said, I don’t want to just leave you high and dry while I work up a new plan, so I’ll be re-posting some of the best from the last year. Enjoy!
Us vs Them: Finding Peace When Everyone Else Is Talking Trash
I am not a sports fan. I know very little about March Madness save what I learned from overheard conversations and wikipedia. I can honestly say that, while I wish all the players a great game, I couldn’t care less about who wins or who loses. However, all the hubub over the NCAA Championships, the stats, the brackets, the whatevers, has reminded me of why I don’t like sports — at least not the way most people do.
It’s all about winning and losing.
Rarely have I ever heard anyone say it’s about wanting to see or play a great game and the points don’t matter. Here’s a perfect example:
As an associate minister, I often allowed the kids in youth group to decide what activity they would like to do after Bible study. One afternoon they decided to play a “friendly” game of basketball. Our senior minister decided to join us that day. A couple of the young men began jeering at the other team and talking trash to each other about how many more points they were scoring.
When I reminded everyone it wasn’t about winning, only about having fun, the senior minister said, “I thought it was about winning.”
I wish I could say he was joking.
Being competitive is not the problem. Allowing our competitive nature to rule how we treat others, and ourselves, is.
Talking trash to someone, even in the heat of a game, lowers both the trash talker and the other person to the level of animals. It becomes nothing more than a test of dominance.
Humans are more than mere creatures of instinct. We have risen above the need to grunt and growl and beat our chests to get what we need and yet here we are, still beating the war drums. I have to ask, what kind of peace can be found when we choose to let our competitive nature demean someone else?
In Michael Hyatt’s post WHERE TO FIND PEACE IN TURBULENT TIMES, he tells of his spiritual pilgrimage to Mt. Athos where he meets Fr. Nikon, a monk with an insightful idea of how each of us can find peace even when the world around us is talking trash.
Near the end of our visit, I walked out with him on the veranda of his house. It directly overlooked the Aegean Sea, which that afternoon was smooth as glass. It was absolutely gorgeous. After several minutes of drinking in the view and knowing my trip was coming to an end, I said, “I hate to leave, Father. It is so peaceful here.”
Fr. Nikon nodded, but did not respond. Finally, after a few minutes, he said, “You know, Michael, anywhere can be this peaceful, if”—and he paused for emphasis—“you have God in your heart. But if you don’t, then even a place as beautiful as this can be hell.”
Where have you found peace in your life, if even for a moment? How do you keep your competitive nature from cutting others down?