Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Keep Your Eye On The Ball
I played tennis with my daughter this weekend and said more than once: "Keep your eye on the ball." Ever notice how hard it is to keep your eye on the ball? And, you don't even know you didn't until you miss and almost dislocate your shoulder.
Yesterday I opened my cable bill and it was significantly higher than usual. So, I called the cable company to find out why. Turns out that the plan I originally signed up for had expired and I was no longer receiving a particular discount that I had been receiving. I asked what my options were and whether there were any new discounts or deals. The woman I was speaking to told me there weren't any new deals (sure . . .) and the best option to lower my bill would be to downgrade from the "Digital Premium" service I was currently getting to the "Digital Basic" package. When she said this, I felt something in me that said, "You can't do that! You need Digital Premium!" Disregarding this thought, I asked her what the difference was between the two. Came down to a few additional channels with the premium than with the basic. I told her I needed to think about it and see whether I could find a satellite company from whom I could get a better deal. Here, she was supposed to say, "Oh, no, don't do that, I'm sure I can get this number down a bit more." But, she didn't. She simply said: "Okay. Do you need anything else?" I was stunned and hung up, thinking, huh, I thought that was supposed to work.
I then got up to walk around, thinking about whether I really would call another company and how much time that would take. And then I said out loud (thankfully no one was near me at that moment): "Why do I need digital cable again?"
So, of course, this got me thinking about what I say I believe and who I say I follow. And then I compared this with what my actions and deep reactionary thoughts reveal. Is my eye on the ball?
On December 20, 2008, I wrote out my commitment to follow Jesus Christ and put Him at the center of my life. And so often things like Digital Premium cable squeeze Him out. I lose focus, I lose sight, I take my eye off the ball. I start to believe the commercials I see that tell me that my life will be better if I have digital cable (or certain jeans, or coffee, or books, or whatever). The thing about it though, is that I don't even know it's happening until I have a conversation with the person at the cable company and start to feel slight heartache at the thought of downgrading from premium to basic digital cable. Just like you don't realize you've taken your eye off the ball until you miss it.
None of this is to beat myself up, that would not be productive. It is just a way of reminding myself, as I did with my daughter as we played tennis, to keep my eye on the ball. Paul said: "[S]et your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:1-2) Or, as it says in the Message version: "So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ -- that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." I suspect, though don't know, that Christ does not care about digital cable. So, neither will I.