Hey, hi, hello my fellow Jesus lovers! I thought I would share with you a story of the first time I discerned something in my life and followed what God asked of me.
When I was younger, soccer was my life. I started playing in 2002 as a second grader and fell in love! I learned how to play pretty quickly and after two seasons of playing, a club team had been scouting me and asked my parents if I would play for them. My parents said no but a year later they allowed me. I loved playing on the club team and my coaches would tell me that they saw potential that I could go far in this sport. From that I knew that I wanted to become a professional when I got older.
In the summer of 2009, I attended my first Steubenville Conference. Long story short, I opened my heart to the Lord on the infamous Saturday night Eucharistic Adoration and Christ told me that He loved me. I was sold and at that moment I began my relationship with Him. Going into August and preseason for club soccer, something felt different. I was not enjoying going to practices or games. I was losing the passion that I had ever since I started playing. I did not know why that was happening so I just kept going. School season was about to start and they had an informational meeting. When I was there, something inside of me was saying I shouldn’t do it. It was strange but I ignored it. After that meeting, each and ever soccer practice I had with my club team, I felt like I should quit, that I shouldn’t be there. So I decided to pray about it.
I prayed about it for weeks and the overwhelming sense that I should quit never left my heart and mind. I told my parents and they were understanding and encouraged me to follow what God was saying. So that school season I did not try out. Every single day I had someone ask me whether or not I was trying out. When I would tell them no, they would look shocked and ask why. I didn’t know what to tell them. I knew that if I said that God told me they would not believe me. So I would lie. My lies would range from “I just don’t want to play anymore” to “my parents want me to take a season off so I can focus on my grades.” The more I lied, the sadder and angrier I got about the situation. I suddenly realized that soccer was my identity and without it, I didn’t know who I was. I felt empty.
That year I was getting Confirmed and at my parish we have to go on a retreat before it. So I went all excited because I LOVE retreats. All was well until we got to Eucharistic Adoration. I started yelling (in my head of course) at God about what He asked me to do. I questioned His love for me and said that I should never had listen to Him because I wasn’t happy. I was sobbing with anger and would not look at the monstrance. I was so upset at Him because He took away something that I loved and I wanted to know why. When Eucharistic Adoration ended, I was sitting in a chair still crying but now because I realized what I just did. I yelled at God. I felt terrible and immediately said asked for forgiveness. My Confirmation sponsor was on the retreat as well and she saw me crying and came over to me. She prayed over me and at one point said, “God forgives you and you did not fail Him”. I cried even harder considering she had no idea what just happened internally. It was a cool moment looking back.
Months later, I was at a Bible study and we were talking about our priorities. We had to write them down and I decided that I was going to be completely honest with myself and so I put: Soccer, God, Friends/family, School. When I got home, I took a shower. Let me explain to that when I take showers, I pray. So I was thinking about what I put and it hit me. God wanted me to quit soccer because He was not first in my life. At that moment, I was filled with so much joy and from that day forward, I have had so much peace and joy with not playing soccer. It actually gave me more time to be able to volunteer at church which I am forever grateful for.
God’s plan is the best plan you can ever follow. He knows you better than you know yourself and only wants the best for you. He may ask you to do something or go somewhere that you don’t necessarily want to do or go but that’s okay. Trust in Him and He will not lead you astray. It may be difficult but in the end, it will all be worth it. I promise! 🙂