Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Follow Your Dreams

This morning my son read his morning devotion while gulping down his breakfast as quickly as boys do everything. After he we finished reading the devotion he had asked if I had read todays devotion of his book yet. He knows I always read his devotion along with my own. I do this so I know what he is reading, being taught and also, so that if he has any comments or questions regarding his devotion; I know exactly what he is talking about.

Although he doesn't always say much about his morning devotions, Ill occasionally hear from him "that was a good one!" and before I have the chance to respond he is off to his room to do whatever it is he is anxious to get back to..... (coughing under breath) his Mine Craft computer game addiction. He knows he isn't allowed on the computer in the morning before chores, breakfast and devotion. Which often leads me to wonder if he says "that was a good one!" only to let me know he read or should I say glanced over his devotion? At least that is what I think sometimes. I don't make a big fuss over it only because I want to keep the experience of his daily devotions positive. I don't want to jump on his case about it, then get him upset at my nagging about it, only to then resent the fact I am having him read them anyways. So, even if there are days he glances over his devotion, I do not doubt that when its necessary that GOD speaks to him no matter how quickly or not he reads.

Today for an example. I do not doubt that Hunters devotion struck a cord with him and instead of reading as fast as possible, it grabbed his attention and he read it and took it to heart. This morning I didn't get the quietly walk off after the read or the quick "it was a good one!" Instead, he asked me if I had read todays devotion just yet. To my disappointment, I hadn't gotten to it. But being the quick thinking mom I am, I replied back and said "no honey, whats it about? Will you read it to me?" In which he began to explain to me the devotions topic and point in his own words, which then gave me the opportunity to talk to him and explain to him what certain things that he had read were trying to imply and say to him and all of us about FOLLOWING OUR DREAMS!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:11-12

Hunters devotional book that I found for him over Christmas is "Heart of an Athlete." Its a FCA (Fellow Christian Athletes) Devotional book. What I like most about it, is that its written by different real athletes and coaches. The main writer of the book is NFL Kicker, Matt Stover; Super Bowl XXXV Champion Baltimore Ravens.

It's not a book just for boys. Its for ANY athlete out there. Its for coaches, parents of athletes or anyone with a completive desire or dream.

As an athlete with a passion for sports, you have a unique view of life through a competitive lens. And yet, your drive for success and commitment to your sport may lead to being set apart from other, distancing your from friends, family, church and school.

God doesn't intend for you to go at it alone. He wants to be included in your athletics and in every other area of your life. Heart of an Athlete makes it easy to receive regular spiritual training that won't take over your workout schedule. - Heart of an Athlete Book

They say "it won't take over your workout schedule" because they know and understand a devoted athlete is busy and probably have short attention spans because their minds are always focused on how to improve for the next game the next win.

Its a short read, easy read for all ages and its set up in a friendly manner for athletes. They break it down is READY, SET, GO and OVERTIME reads in each devotion. Less than five minutes to read each morning.

Todays story was about a guy who remembers calling to his parents and telling them he was coming home yet again. He had tears in his eyes, as the Clevland Cavaliers had become his third straight NBA team that he had failed to make.

He didn't understand why this was happening to him. He thought for sure his high hopes of realizing his dream to play in the NBA had arrived when he was drafted out of the University of Iowa. But it was becoming more clear that dreams don't always come true. He felt lost. His identity was basketball. It was his life. He thought "what could the future possibly hold for him now?"

Shortly thereafter that he received an invitation to play full-time with a sports ministry team. For the next nine years he was able to travel the country (and the world) playing basketball and sharing his faith with thousands of people. The tears were long forgotten as God began using him in ways that he had never imagined.

Doesn't that seem to be God's favorite thing.... doing things in away we never imagine?

Today Dan Frost still ministers to leaders in our nation's capital and he still says that daily he is reminded just as much as he did back when he was shedding those tears and thought his dreams were lost, that GOD still holds his future then, today and tomorrow... and the futures of those around him.

What Dan is simply saying is this; "Dream BIG, follow your dreams..... but hold those plans loosely, resting securely in the knowledge that our Father may have a far different plan from our own." -Dan Frost

Having a son that is an amazing naturally talented athlete of my own. Being a girl growing up with sports and with my own competitive juices; a husband that was a professional football player and Hunters dad who is one sports driven dad himself; Hunter almost didn't stand a chance to be anything but an athlete. I always joke and say he was born with a puck in his mouth and bat and stick in his hands.

Hunter is 11-years old and his dreams are big already. He talks about wanting to play hockey at Havard. He aims to be a professional hockey player when he graduates Harvard, as many young boys and girls probably dream. When I say these things, I mean them. My son (with the help of his dad) talks about it all the time. His dad is training him that sports come before everything else (not a believer in God). While I try to train him that GOD is first and then everything else after. Its very real to him and he believes this is what his future plan will be. But I know its got to be confusing for him with two homes completely opposite of one another. One is sports driven, self driven...and the other is God driven, family driven and selfishness driven. Both so similar and yet so different by one missing factor..... GOD!

My hope for getting him this book was to train my son to be a man or athlete of character. Because without character you have nothing. Be an athlete, thats fine! But be one that glorifies God. My prayer being this, that while I support my sons BIG DREAMS and I am his biggest fan, I wanted him to have GOD on his heart first so that if these big dreams are not in GODS plan for him, my son doesn't feel he looses out in life, or is a failure or looses his identity (as so many do).

And this devotion not only touched something deep and personal for Hunter.... it touched something very personal to me as his mom. I too have big dreams for my children. I too want them to be successful, happy and all their dreams to come true. But I also want to be the one to show them and guide them that there is someone who has already written the plans for their lives, and if they only trust in those plans while following their dreams.... they can't lose! EVER! Because one way or another either their dreams will be God's plan for them - they win! Or they won't be and if they know and trust God and allow Gods plans be unfolded - THEY WIN!

So I printed out todays devotion for Hunter, I wrote a note on it and I intend to frame it for him. On my note I said that this devotion was not only a good one for him as he dreams about his future, but that this devotion is still a great one for myself, Mark and his dad to also read. Being all athletes ourselves having big dreams in sports or acting careers, we all have been there where we felt high hopes of the reality of our dreams right in front of us...... and yet something happened and it didn't turn out exactly how we planned. And although we have felt disappointed, shed our own tears. We are living proof and examples of Dan Frost in todays devotions that DREAMING BIG and FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS is beautiful. Achieving them is the cherry on top. But more importantly its a ROCKSTAR feeling if it all comes about with GOD first in your life and HIM blessing those dreams (or not). And if yours becomes an "or not." You still can get that exciting feeling of mystery knowing that whatever GODS plans are (if not your own plans) its going to be an even more exciting, satisfying and full life you live because it will turn out ......

Like you never imagined!!!!

Trust me.... I KNOW!

Follow your dreams..... hold them loosely and pray for Gods will to be done in your life! Thank him for your gifts. For your dreams. Whatever you do.... do it to GLORIFY GOD and watch out, you may wake up and find yourself living your dream!!!

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