As time passed, my routine changed. Many years later, I found myself creating a Saturday morning routine for my daughter. I needed to guard her time. I needed to control her environment. I needed to protect her developing a spirit of laziness. She needed a routine.
Having relocated from Philadelphia to Tallahassee and transitioning from a two-income household to a single-income household, the options for routines were limited. Dance classes were quickly replaced by soccer games.
We attended every scheduled practice and every Saturday morning game, no matter how cold it was. Oh, the sacrifices that parent make.
In the beginning, I didn't always understand the master plan behind the practices but I quickly figured it out. The coach used practice time to not only equip the kids with the skills to be successful in a game but also to assess their skills in preparation of the game. The coach needed to identify the players with their best suited position.
One of the most challenging positions to fill was the goal keeper, also known as the goalie. This wasn't a position for everyone. Here's what I learned about this position:
- The ultimate goal of the goal keeper was to do anything possible to keep the opposing team's ball from going into their team's net. This required several concurring characteristics. Attentiveness. Steadfastness. Determination. Commitment. Initiative.
- To guard the net, the goalie had to watch the entire game. They had to know when the ball was coming in their direction. They needed to plan a way to counter-attack the ball to get it out of their area. They needed to be ready to act quickly and strategically.
- Unlike other players, the goal keeper had full authority to use any body part to accomplish their goal. Similarly, he goal keeper also had the unique advantage of accessing areas that were off-limits to everyone else. The goalie had space to work. On soccer fields, the net that requires guarding is set inside of a special goalie box. With the exception of the goalie, no one is allowed to access the box. The goalie has complete control over the box in order to protect the net.
A goal keeper/goalie is to soccer net what we are to our hearts. Our hearts are the gateway to life. Our hearts are the very thing that allows blood (life) to flow through our veins. When our hearts are contaminated, our entire system shuts down. Proverbs 4:23 commands us to "above all else, guard our hearts, for everything you do flows from it." Like the goal keeper, we are to do the following:
- We (yes, you and me) are each responsible for doing anything possible to keep the lies of the devil from entering into our hearts. We have already been created in God's perfect image. It's time to hone in on everything that we are. When we hone in on our predetermined God traits, we minimize space for haphazard negative traits to seep in.
- We are to stand guard against the attacks of the enemy. The attacks are sure to come. When we develop a true relationship with God and get grounded in the word, we are better equipped to see the enemy before he attacks. We are also, then, in a better position to prepare for his arrival. When you stand guard, you are able to get your plan of action identified and in place. Don't get caught off guard. Be ready to protect yourself, your family, your purpose, and your destiny.
- We have unfettered access to God. He is sitting high, yet looking low. He is just waiting on us to access Him. God will open doors that we can't see. God will shut doors that we erroneously opened. God hears everything we say to Him and responds to us individually. He will enlarge our territory as we demonstrate our readiness. There may be times when we have to step outside of our comfort zone. But just remember, in those cases, we are never alone. God is with us. We are in control of how we allow God to work through us.
What steps will you take to guard your heart?