America’s favorite past time produces the kind of fervor in fans and communities that few other activities can inspire. Displaying your commitment to your team and belief in the organization’s decisions and strategy is almost like an organized religion that is still okay to talk about publicly. To be a fan is to have faith- and some teams require a little bit more than others. As a Phils fan, hopefully you can appreciate what I mean by that!
Today its popular to think that faith is something only the zealous and far- right possess; but if you’ve ever held onto the belief that your team would overcome insurmountable odds, you may be more of a person of faith than you realize.
Consider how many routine things you place your faith (trust) in throughout a normal day. You trust not only that your alarm will go off, but also that you’ll physically wake up again. You trust that the water will come on and heat up when you turn the faucet. You trust that the sun will rise and set according to the times listed in your weather app. And you trust that other cars will stay on the correct side of those solid yellow lines.
Some of these examples are controlled by other people, but others are ascribed to chance, fate, or maybe a creator depending on your comfort level with faith.
There is a general belief that faith in a higher power limits your perspective and choice. I won’t disagree with that, but will argue that freedom can still be experienced within those limits. Consider that you are already placing limits on your open mindedness by NOT considering the possibility of God. We all end up putting our trust in someone or something eventually , and in so doing allow our will, behavior, and desires to be shaped by that choice.
A study that illustrates this point involved school children on a play ground. Educators at the time felt that the students’ creative play was inhibited by the practice of fencing in play grounds. The school’s fence was removed to see what new creative games the children on recess might come up with. What they saw was surprising. Rather than feeling greater freedom in the absence of structure, the children exhibited fear and huddled close together at what was once considered the center of the school yard. The researchers concluded that identifiable limits and boundaries are necessary to the development of creativity and the experience of freedom.
The first step to true freedom is first identifying what- or who- you are already placing your faith in and ultimately serving. You may proudly choose to think that you only trust and serve yourself- but consider the power that your emotional whims now hold over your decisions. Maybe that sounds selfish and you’d prefer to think that you live above such influences. But what about the last time you donned your jersey, got in a heated argument over who was the greatest manager of all time, and then spent money you didn’t have on that limited edition hat. Sometimes we can’t even trust ourselves to make the right call.
The next time you catch yourself in a display of passionate faith in your team, just ask yourself who or what else holds your ultimate loyalty, and whether you are satisfied with that. If you are willing to branch out your faith from baseball, there is an all trust worthy, all knowing, and unchanging God who loves you and can give you true freedom- even from self.