I find it interesting how something can be super painful, and right at the forefront of my thoughts before a soccer game, right up to the point of taking my place on the field and wondering if I should sit out the first few minutes, but as soon as the whistle blows, I don’t even notice it at all.
The blisters on my ankles the day after indicated that the messed up shinguards did, in fact, continue to rub all through that game, but I swear, after the first minute I didn’t feel it at all.
There’s a strange state of mind that takes over during a game, similar to how I feel during an orchestra or puppet performance. It makes me feel both very aware of myself, and yet also very aware of God. I suppose I feel very aware of who I am in relation to God. I am His creation, He is my Creator. And little piddly stuff, like blisters or sore muscles, or audiences, or even my own mistakes can’t get in the way.
It seems stupid to find a spiritual experience in sport or performance. But it seems that in my striving to do something to the best of my ability, I find some kind of connection to the Creator who gave me the ability. I imagine that’s what prompted Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner, to say “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
I’m a far cry from the best at soccer, or violin, or puppets. But God has given me the ability to do those things, the opportunity to learn, and the motivation to try. He’s made me in such a way that those things are enjoyable to me, and I think watching me do them is enjoyable to Him.