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Too Old to Play Football

Too Old to Play Football

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves . . .” Genesis 11:4

When I was 35 years old, I grasped at my one last chance to play football, signing up for a local amateur team. At 35, I was a fossil, but they were desperate enough for players that I was at least second string. Still, I wasn’t there to ride the bench. I wanted to play – every down of every game. When that didn’t happen, I was frustrated. I remember talking to a 20-year-old teammate about my playing time. He said he wasn’t concerned about playing time. He just wanted to do whatever gave the team the best chance of winning. What? Sure, I wanted to win, but my greatest concern wasn’t about the team. In fact, I’d have rather lost every game, as long as I got to play. I wasn’t in this for the team. I was in it for myself.

Unfortunately, this self-centered perspective has permeated the rest of my life as well. My greatest life problem hasn’t been drugs. Drugs have just been the symptom of my greatest problem – I do what I want. My life has been a monument to me. My first instinctual thought in everything has been – How does this affect me? That me-centered life is what led me to the disaster of my drug use.

This egocentric flaw is illustrated in today’s passage. In it, the people of Shinar got together and decided to build a tower to the heavens. What was their motivation? They built this tower as a monument to themselves. When completed, it would stand as a beacon that pointed to them and their accomplishments. God saw this and was not pleased. Man was created to live in a relationship with him, following his plan. This tower though, was a giant fist to the sky, proclaiming to God – This is what we have done. We follow our way, not yours. So, God confused their language, scattering them over the face of the Earth.

The lesson for me in recovery now, is that my life is not meant to be pointed at myself. I was created to live in a loving relationship with God, following his plan, not mine. Every day though, I still want to do things my way. So, the daily challenge, is to wake up and point my life at God. Why do I do everything I do? Does this specific thought, word, or action represent my will or God’s? This may sound like personal sacrifice, but I’ve learned that my life is full of peace, joy, and meaning only when I abandon my way for God’s.

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