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Faith Imagined: Soccer Humility

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 29, 2009

Soccer Humility

My sister-in-law has been inviting me to play city-league soccer with her for several years. This season I finally felt ready, so I went out and bought my cleats, shin guards, and soccer ball. I am thirty-two years old, and I have never played a lick of soccer (save elementary gym class) in my entire life.

When I met the other team members, it became painfully obvious that I was soccer ignorant. I needed help putting on my shin guards, my sister-in-law had to give me a quick lesson on how to kick the ball (on the side of your shoe laces), I had to be told over and over again the name of each position, and my team mates had to continually tell me where to stand on the field.

My ignorance became evident to the other team, as well. During the game, the ball went over the goal, and I asked a player that I was guarding if it was good or not. She looked at me with surprise and said, “It has to go into the goal to be good.” As the girl laughed and walked off, I struggled with my utter stupidity. I finally decided to swallow my pride (it kept catching in my throat), and I worked harder to do better.

I turned my focus to the ball. I might not have all the fancy footwork that every woman around me seemed born with, but I had determination and a learning spirit. I blocked the ball, kicked it (maybe not quite in the direction of my teammate), hit the ball with my head (well, it was actually the side of my face), and pestered any woman on the opposite team that had the ball. Even though I was clueless, I became a crazy force to be reckoned with.

I played the entire game. I could feel my heart thumping against my chest, and I could have taken my pulse just by feeling the pulsating in my gums. My entire body was throbbing. I never realized how enormous the soccer field was and how few players there are on the field. The other team was so good at passing the ball that it felt like I was always chasing it. The other team won, but I knew that I didn’t make it easy for them.

I motivated myself by saying, “Glory to God! Glory to God!”

I knew that many of the women were not Christians, so I wanted to be a good example of persistence and dedication. I wasn’t going to let the fact that I knew nothing of soccer stop me from playing it. I know that God loves me and thinks I’m special, so if the entire world of soccer laughs at me, I would be okay. My desire is to base my self-worth on being a daughter of God, not on what the world thinks of me. And if I do that, I can do anything.

If we as God’s daughters base our entire self-worth on the awesome fact that we are His, we can do anything! So many Christian women fear doing something new. We don’t want to join a Bible study, volunteer at our church, go to a new play-date, or share our faith with others because we are scared what people will think of us. But we can’t let fear stop us from stepping out because God is always doing something new: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43.19 NIV).

In our Christian walk, God will always have us reach outside of our comfort zone. Whenever we start to feel comfortable, we must prepare ourselves -- God is going to do something new. The best way for us to perceive what He is doing and to be ready for it is by swallowing our pride and humbling ourselves. We can’t always be know-it-alls. We can’t always be the best. We can’t always have it all together.

Many times we will be ignorant and on the bottom of life's totem poles. But, that’s okay! Our self-worth is based on the fact that we are children of God: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8.17 NIV). This promise should be enough to encourage our complete obedience and dependence to God.

Jesus came to this earth as a lowly carpenter. He served people every day by healing the sick, feeding the hungry and teaching the ignorant. He washed His disciples’ feet and sacrificed His body for the world. He could have come to this earth as a prince, demanding angels and humans to do His bidding and expecting us to pay for our own sins. But He didn’t! He humbled Himself for us and did something new, and we are called to follow His example!

What are you doing that is new? Are you basing your self-worth on the world or on being a daughter of God? Are you able to swallow your pride and try something that you know nothing about? What can you do today that would enable God to show His power through your weakness (2 Corinthians 12).

Will you join me on a journey of knowing Christ more intimately? I want my life to burn for Christ and brokenness is the first step. Made a choice to humble yourself before God and others, and you will find your God-designed "life."

Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life (Proverbs 22.4

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Blogger Crissy said...

What a great reminder for every Christian. How we handle difficulty is very important.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

I agree. God does put us in situations to humble us. He puts us in situations where we have to rely on Him. And not ourselves.

Right now I'm telling myself my identity is in Christ and not beating the worship team guitar player in Farkle on Facebook.

And that I don't need to talk to the pastor about how to respond a lady who responded to my offer to share my belief. God had her respond to me. Therefore, I needed to trust Him for the words, not ask someone else for the words.

Thanks for you post today.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Paige said...

What a great post! Thanks for the reminder of our own humility in situations where we may feel uncomfortable.

And kudos to you for trying something new!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Cassandra Frear said...

I admire the humility you showed in this situation.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm lovingly laughing with you, not at you. As someone who played soccer for eight years, I love that you wondered if maybe the ball over the goal was "good". Fun post to read and of course one with life application.
~ Wendy

7:25 AM  
Blogger Sassy Chica said...

Very nicely written...I love your inspiration!

Sassy Chica

1:03 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

It is so important to keep on going even though something gets difficult, God can handle it! Thanks always for your sweet comments, xoxo!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...


7:10 PM  
Blogger Matt Grudzielanek said...

Oh--like Wendy said, I'm laughing with you-not at you. I admire your persistence with the game though--it's not an easy game--but it is a game, something to be enjoyed. I can relate in that when I started running, to help control my ever-aging body--it surely wasn't fun--but those first few times, I could feel my heart outside my chest, and all the other gorey things too (i'll omit)--but running for God to help keep His temple healthy allowed me to finish. Consequently I haven't had time to run run run--plus it's getting cold out and treadmills don't equate to running for me. Blessings!

8:33 PM  
Blogger thatdesigngal said...

YAY for soccer love!!! WOOHOO! Congrats!

I have played soccer my entire life. Love, love, love the sport.

I hope that you enjoyed it a tiny bit?!? :-)

11:06 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

You go Alisa! I love your adventurous spirit. I was bragging on you to an ER doctor's wife whose husband knows your husband. I was telling her that you are an amazing writer and she was impressed. I am impressed that you follow God at all costs! Even on the soccer field-that's impressive!

9:59 PM  
Blogger strokeofliving said...

Alisa, I just noticed that you are following my mom's blog. On her behalf thank you for your support. As I'm encouraging her to write more frequently.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Experiencing humility is good for us, whatever the source. Good luck with soccer!

12:18 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I love the fact that you went out and tried something new. That isn't always easy. Loved the entry.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I love the fact that you went out and tried something new. That isn't always easy. Loved the entry.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Family, Money and Stuff said...

Oooooh, Alisa!! How I struggle with this! After years alone - without friends, without quality relationships, I finally am surrounded by people who I love and who love me - people who desire to grow in Christ and who dare to be honest with me and push me to grow too.

... and now that I am accepted, I believe God is revealing that their acceptance may be too important to me, and I need to please God above all others - even if I risk losing approval, or even the friendships that I hold so dear.

Ironically, the more I follow God single-mindedly regardless of approval, the more approval that seems to garner. And the more I care what others think, the less confident I am and ... well, who flocks to that? You know what I'm saying...

Anyway, thanks for letting me blab in your comment box again :)

12:54 AM  

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