Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tennis Tizzy

I absolutely LOVE tennis! I've only been playing for a year and a half but I'm completely hooked. It's the perfect sport which delicately balances great cardio, social connections, suntanning opportunities and fashion sense (those tennis outfits are so cute).

In January, I did the unthinkable. I signed up for a U.S.T.A. League. This meant I would actually play competition style tennis against women I didn't even know. No more playing the same girls in doubles week after week. This was the big leagues... or so I thought.

I joined a local team with 18 other women from my area. Several of them I already new so this league thing was getting off to a very good start. I purchased my team outfit, bought a new racquet (on clearance) and some new tennis shoes (clearance too). I was ready, armed and dangerous.

After weeks of anticipation, I received my very first league email that listed the line up for that week. I couldn't wait to open it up and see who I was partnered with. To my surprise, I wasn't even listed to play that week. "Bummer", I thought. I was told at sign ups that each player was guaranteed at least 4 games in the season. "I guess this is my off week", I reasoned in my head. Oh well, surely next week.

The following week's email came and once again I was not on the list. Wait one cotton picking minute! Something isn't right. Surely I should have played this week? Before I knew it, they all showed up at once... Doubt, Insecurity, Anger, Negativity, and Frustration. Where did ya'll come from? I refuse to listen to anything you have to tell me. I'm not interested. Hit the road and don't come back.

But to my surprise, they all came back, throughout the entire day and the entire week. Although I tried to fight it, questions swarmed through my head like bees in a beehive. "Did the team leader not like me?" "Was my tennis really bad and no one told me?" "Was joining this league a big mistake?" "Should I drop out now and avoid any further humiliation?"

Week three came. The email arrived. Once again, I'm not on the list. I'm so disappointed.

Up until that time, I had contained my feelings through a cherub like demeanor but not anymore. Now I was really ticked off. So I did what every female tennis player would obviously do. I emailed my team captain who had been sending out those horrible emails each week. I was polite and precise in my questioning and she responded with perfect answers that made complete sense.

So why then was I still feeling horrible inside? Why did I have this big lump of doubt and insecurity sitting on my shoulders? What would I do with all these feelings of frustration and anger? Well, I took them all to the Lord. I told him what happened (even though he already knew) and handed over all my hurts to him. This really wasn't about tennis and not getting to play. It was about my idea of being accepted by others. It was about my insecurities and past hurts. Although it seems foolish, even to me, God took my hurts and replaced them with His peace, perspective and love. When Friday rolled around (the day of our team's tennis match), I would certainly find out why he kept my name off the line up roster for that week.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling out of sorts. I had a bad headache and a slight sore throat but blamed it on the sudden weather change and went about my daily routine. By 3:00 pm, I was in bed with a heating pad and when Friday morning rolled around, I was as sick as a dog. The same Friday morning that I would have been scheduled to play my very first USTA league match.

As I lay in bed with a high fever and pounding headache, God whispered in my heart "This is why you weren't scheduled to play this week". At that moment, it all became clear to me. What I had perceived as an unfair decision was really God's way of protecting me. If my name would have been on the roster that week, I would have had to forfeit the game or tried to play while being sick. Neither choice would have been good. God, in his awesome love for me, kept me from having to make that tough decision by keeping my name off the roster all together.

Did I learn my lesson? You bet I did! Things do happen for a reason and if you are a child of God, I can guarantee it's with your best interest in mind. Nothing happens to us outside the Sovereign hand of God. He knows what he's doing and my job is to trust him even when it doesn't seem like things are going my way.

I'm not worried about next week's email and roster line up. Whether or not I play is irrelevant. What matters is that I put my complete trust in God's perfect plan for my life each day, regardless of the circumstances or outcome.

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