My freshman year of college I had the biggest crush on this super cute soccer player. For anonymity (and mainly my pride) sake we’ll call him Jim. One day I finally got the nerve to chat with Jim, so during his soccer practice I stood on the soccer field and flirted with him. I flipped my hair, batted my eyelashes…the whole 9 yards really. Then out of NOWHERE a soccer ball comes flying through the air at a rapid speed and nails me directly in the face.
It must have nearly broken my nose and made my face redder than a tomato. I died inside at that very moment but how did I respond? I did and said nothing. That’s right, I stood there, breathed one shocked breath and picked up right where I left off, mid-sentence. Didn’t acknowledge what had happened, laugh it off or even play it cool. I just completely ignored it and carried on. Jim kindly asked, “Are you OKAY?” With a sympathetic inflection on the OKAY part that let me know I was correct in my assumption that I had been nailed pretty hard.
Years have passed by since this moment with Jim and I know you are all surprised but my flirting didn’t work and Jim is now happily married to another girl who I’m sure didn’t get nailed in the face with a soccer ball and they have about 3.5 kids.
I think of that story quite often now, but not for any reasons that you might assume. Sometimes (hopefully metaphorical) things just hit you square in the face and we all have a few different responses and options of how we can respond when we get hit. You can run away, address it, play it cool, be apathetic, choose to be super dramatic about it or ignore it all together.
I feel like there have been a lot of times in my life that is scarily similar to my moment with Jim. I’m sitting there with God, talking to him, trying to convince him that I am something and BAM out of nowhere he smacks me in the face with a profound revelation, a gut-wrenching reality of who I am, who he is, or something that I need to do. This is a thing that I love about God, always keeping us on our toes.
I had one of those nailed in the face with a soccer ball kind of moments when I was 16 years old. My parents shipped me off to Honduras to hang out with my missionary cousin one summer and help them with some summer programs the church they were working for was running. When I got there I didn’t know what was happening and was totally clueless to what God was about to do in my life.
During a portion of my stay, we were running this youth conference and every night people would walk for miles to come and worship God. I watched students my age walk from their homes (that were made from cardboard boxes) and worship as I had never seen anyone worship before in my life.
I’ll never forget standing there in worship one night and God smacking me in the face. Up until that point I had taken the root of ignorance when it came to my faith, on autopilot might be the best way to describe it really. All too similar to the soccer ball incident I would talk to God but I would just politely ignore it when he spoke to me or when I would feel him beginning to move deeper in my heart and I would just move right on along without acknowledging it. Until this time, this time it was too impactful to ignore. I had to face and embrace what he was trying to do in my heart.
I felt in my heart that if these people were this sold out for God and they had nothing, how could I not worship him? I made a decision at that moment that I was going to be totally FOR God and live for him 100% or I was out.
Two years ago, I started working with a youth group and they asked me to lead a trip to Honduras that took place on the 10 years (to the exact date) anniversary of my trip to Honduras. I ended up taking a group of teenagers, who were the exact same age that I was when I had that encounter with the Lord and watched them each experience moments as I had in the same beautiful country.
I truly believe that my life was seriously marked by that trip and my willingness to embrace the impact of what God was doing and not simply ignore it or playing it off well. I have no doubt that a lot of things in my life have come to pass because of that moment that I had with God in worship and my simple “yes”. It makes me wonder how many other little and big moments like this that I’ve had that have impacted my life on a larger scale then I would’ve imagined.
I think the best part of all of this is that you don’t have to play it cool in front of God. You don’t have to play it off poorly as I did with Jim, you don’t have to have the right answer, you actually don’t have to have an answer at all, you just have to be willing to go with Gods leadings. When you have a life-altering encounter like this one with the Lord, your response can have snotty tears and be as uncool as you need it to be and he will still take your “yes”.
All of this to say, I’ve learned not to be scared of those life-altering, face slamming moments of Gods glory. You never know when it’s going to happen but you can rest assured it’s always something fruitful because everything God does is fruitful. It might be scary, terrifying and unexpected but it will change your life in the best kind of way.