I am part of a family that thoroughly enjoys football. Especially Arkansas Razorback foothball. We love to call the Hogs and wear our red whether they’re playing or not. It’s fun to be a part of the overall “family” of Razorback fans because there’s just something a little nutsy about all of us.
Last night we went to join some friends for the Sugar Bowl, the last Razorback football game until the long-awaited fall season rolls around again. And it was so much fun! Not just watching the game, but interacting and being together while we did it. Having fun enjoying one another’s company even while our Hogs were playing poorly. Laughing at the antics of my son with one breath and fussing at the receivers for not catching the ball with the next.
But then half-time rolled around. It was 9:00. Our children are usually in bed with their books by 7:00, with lights out at 8:00. Steven was running his hardest as if he knew that stopping even once would cause him to crash. Angela – the child who can stay focused on a game the longest – was winding down. And my very vocal Olivia had hardly spoken in the past hour. As much as we would have loved to stay and continue the delightful fellowship, we knew it was time to go home.
As we shuffled our kids out the door, Doug and I realized just how tired we were as well. The temptation existed to stay up and watch the rest of the game, but we knew we just wouldn’t be able to function well the next morning if we did. So, we went to bed. Even looking back now, knowing the Razorbacks’ poor performance in the first half ending up costing them the game, I know I would have loved to have seen the rest of that game. But that desire was overcome by a need – a need for proper rest.
Inherently, there would have been nothing wrong with staying up and enjoying the second half of that ball game. And, if I had been feeling well-rested over the past couple of weeks and hadn’t been dragging through my days this week, I most likely would have given up some of my sleep to watch the rest of the game. In fact, there have been times that we have stayed up to finish a late game, and the late night was well worth it. But, that just wasn’t the case last night. I’ve been dragging through my days. I’ve been struggling to stay caught up on my rest and have my energy renewed. So, last night I knew that as much as I desired to watch that game, the obligations of my Wednesday were my responsibility.
How many desires and responsibilities do we really stop to evaluate? How many times do we shirk our responsibilities to fulfill the things it seems our hearts desire most? On the other hand, how many times do we squish desires thinking that we are being responsible, when in reality we can best fulfill our responsibilities by indulging in our desires?
Just throwing those questions out there seems a little abstract without specific examples, I know. What is the standard? How do we know when to indulge our desires and when to set them aside? How do we know when they’ll help us and when they’ll hurt us? It seems to be random. But, it’s not. It comes down, as many things do, to seeking the Lord.
That ever familiar verse comes to mind – you know, the one found in Psalm 37:4 that reminds us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. Delighting ourselves in Him doesn’t turn us into fuddy-duddies who never have any fun. It instead increases our wisdom, giving us the chance to know when to indulge and when to not. It helps us understand when those desires will fulfill where we’re supposed to be and when they’ll distract from it.
Last night I got a blending. Delightful fellowship with precious friends. The fun of watching part of a game. And the refreshing of an almost normal night’s sleep. All while trying to let the Lord guide my choices.
And it was good.
May we learn more and more to balance those desires and responsibilities, having delightful fun in this fleeting life, doing it all with an eye on what matters for eternity.