My church has been encouraging the congregation to become more involved and engaged within the community. Recently, the head pastor wore a t-shirt that read: "No Spectators." I thought to myself, “Wow... direct and to the point... I like it!" That t-shirt was a reminder that you can come to church two different ways each Sunday.
The first option is to come to church and hear the message and leave each Sunday like a spectator at a sporting event. You can support the cause during the timeframe given and then you leave and go home.
We are very used to doing this at football games, basketball games, or whatever sporting event we enjoy watching. The point my church was trying to make, and that I took away, was don't just be a spectator, but rather, choose to be a participant. Get involved, be engaged and choose to make a difference.
Obviously, when it comes to professional sports very few of us have the opportunity to be a participant. We all are, in fact, in the spectator category. This got me thinking about motherhood and if I categorize myself as a spectator or participant in my very own life. Do I sit back and watch other people pursue goals or do I pursue, engage and try to be involved and make a difference? Personally, I like to think of myself as a participant and not a spectator when it comes to friendships, motherhood, my marriage and life overall.
When I think of a spectator, I visualize someone who typically will cheer on the players or team depending on whether or not they agree with the "play" being made. Many people say that they could have done it better, but don’t ever really try. They prefer to sit on the bench, still having a say in what and how others "should be doing."
My family recently experienced sitting near this type of person at a sporting event. He yelled and literally almost had a heart attack screaming at the players and coach the entire game on how awful they were playing that day. He declared himself the official critic of each play and ranted about how he could of done each play better. It was exhausting and even stressful listening to his spectator tantrum the whole game. My daughter leaned over and asked my husband, "Does he think all his mean yelling is helping the team?"
The second option is to be a participant - engage in what you are doing, commit to the cause, and make a difference.
When I think of a participant, I think of someone who is actively pursuing a goal. They don't like sitting on the bench. Instead, they would rather be "in" the game trying to be a part of it. Win or lose, they enjoy pushing themselves to reach their personal best. They encourage their teammates because they know how hard they are working. They don't like excuses or criticism that is not helpful because that doesn't help the team reach their goals.
No matter how busy and hectic life becomes, I hope we all see the potential we each have to engage and make a difference each day. It is easy to sit on the bench and criticize, but the real joy comes from getting involved, being in the game and committing to it.
Remember – it’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts.