The start of any sports event is filled with excitement and anticipation. Whether you’re an athlete, a coach, or a die-hard fan, you often find that your pulse has quickened, and those unmistakable butterflies are fluttering away in your stomach in those moments just before the event commences.
Think about the beginning action of each of these sports:
- Football – Kickoff
- Baseball – First Pitch
- Basketball – Opening Tip
- Hockey – Puck Drop
- NASCAR Racing – The first lap followed by the Green Flag
- Soccer – Kickoff, or “taking the kickoff”
- Field Lacrosse – Face-off
Many coaches and athletes believe the butterflies that materialize on the mound, batter’s box, mid-court, the backfield, center ice, or behind the wheel are a sign of weakness. I disagree.
I once heard someone say that butterflies are a great thing! They signify that it means something to you. Not having a little anxiety and a few butterflies is likely a sign that you may be indifferent to your performance or the outcome of the game.
As I write this, I must admit that I am not sure how it will be received, and exactly what God has planned for this devotional. For a while, I’ve been talking with the Lord about a passion I have to help guys develop a more consistent walk with Him by leveraging a collective love of sports and competition.
And, this is the beginning. This is the first pitch. The kick-off. The face-off. The green flag.
I found a verse that really has spoken to me about this sense of anticipation when we begin move forward with something God has placed on our hearts:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)
God gives each of us desires, and He doesn’t want us to rest on our laurels and delay in receiving the fruits and rewards of our willingness to step out on faith.
Whether it’s reaching higher, working harder, or living more generously, I encourage you to take a small step forward in faith, and see what happens with God in the equation.
That’s what I’m doing here. And, it must mean something. I have butterflies.
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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