Are you ready for some football?!!!! For many, myself included, we can't wait to hear those words, marking the beginning of football season! We break out the jerseys of our favorite players; plan the tailgate menu for our couches or trunks; schedule activities around game time and we power up the apps on our phones to tweet or facebook our comments on each play or bad call. Just another "normal" season, or is it? The fact is there is nothing "normal" about this season at all. You don't have to be a football fan to know that, you just need to turn on the news and here all the complaining about the replacement referees and what call they missed or messed up or how their mistake cost one team a win and assured another a victory. Fans are raging about the injustices that are occurring and they are taking to the airways and social networking forums to make their grievances heard. Because hey, this is football season and there is a Super Bowl on the line! That's important! Believe me, I get it. I do my fair share of moaning and groaning as I root my Ravens on and watch the ridiculously obvious missed calls. But the more I hear and the more I think about it, the more I have to wonder how misguided all our "righteous indignation" is.
These replacement refs won't be here forever, in fact, the "real" refs will probably be back by the time I finish and post this blog. The decisions they made or didn't make won't effect our lives in any other way than our bragging rights. As I read some of the social media posts and listened to the various announcers complaining about the incompetence of the refs, their anger was almost palatable. I had to wonder what if that anger was directed toward the things that affect our lives, others lives, and the world in general. I couldn't help but think that if I, we, took just a fraction of the energy we put into bashing the NFL and the refs, and put it towards fighting a social injustice or simply doing something worthwhile to better someone else's life, what kind of difference could be made.
Our church is currently doing a sermon series that is entitled "Canonball Weird". It is a series that calls us to step out of the "norm" and become weird. We are encouraged not to conform to what the world considers normal and instead conform to weird ways of Jesus. Jesus did everything that was against the norm. He calls us to love our enemies; turn the other cheek; sell everything and follow him. Jesus didn't surround himself with the pure of heart and the noblest of men. He hung out with tax collectors, thieves, prostitutes, fishermen and widows. He looked beyond social status and didn't care what others thought about his choices in friends. He chose to love everyone, regardless of what was normal. Pretty weird huh?
Well, I thought I would challenge all my readers to get weird or in some cases, weirder! Today's society has dictated a pace that far too many of us find hard to keep up with. Family dinners are reduced to drive-thru meals on the way to sports functions; our hurried schedules have us walking with our eyes straight ahead ignoring those we pass; hectic work schedules have us spending less quality time with our children and loved ones and our desire to have more of everything has us forgetting to appreciate what we already have.
So...here are some ideas to inspire you to be weird:
1. Set aside some time this week to have a sit down at the kitchen table dinner with your family. Talk about anything; laugh about everything and remind each other how much you love them.
2. Make a point to smile and speak to everyone you pass. Offer words of encouragement to the girl at the checkout counter or say hello to the person standing behind in you line.
3. Say thank you to a police officer, fireman, or service man or woman for their dedication and service. Maybe buy them a coffee or bottle of water.
4. Carve out some time to volunteer at a Boys and Girls club helping children with homework or visit a senior center to chat with a someone who may be lonely.
5. Encourage your children to befriend someone who is sitting alone on the playground or in the cafeteria.
6. Think of something that you feel passionate about: homelessness, child abuse, bullying, or senseless violence, and discover how you can help and maybe even do it as a family. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or organize a food drive for a food pantry.
7. Take time for you. Get up a little early and enjoy the sunrise as you sip your coffee; take a walk in a park and breathe in the beauty that surrounds you; study a flower and wonder at its beauty.
8. Read a book to your child, play a game or watch a family movie together. Popcorn and all!
9. Do something nice to surprise someone and be completely anonymous.
10. Be patient when patience is thin; slow to anger; quick to love and kind with your words.
If we can expend such energy on negative things, we can afford to expend some energy on the positive. The old saying goes, What's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Change won't happen overnight but if we take one bite at a time, a difference can and will be made. It is a know fact that it takes less energy to be happy than angry and less muscles to smile than frown. Give it a try! Get Weird!!!
I would love for you to share with me what you did to be weird and what kind of difference it made, either in the way you felt or someone else felt. Oh and by the way, I was right the real refs are back and football is back to "normal". Now let's get weirded out for a good reason!
Until next time, I working on becoming weirder!!