First off, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals. I became a fan back in the 1988 season, in the middle of that exciting year featuring Boomer Esiason, Ickey Woods & the Ickey Shuffle and a host of great players. They lit up the Houston Oilers late in the season for 40+ points in the Jungle. I was 10 years old in Canada, the game was the one game broadcast on Global TV at that time and I was hooked. I've been a fan through the 2 win seasons, Ki-Jana Carter and Akili Smith debacles and watched in horror 2 years ago as the Steelers clawed their way to the Super Bowl, through the Bengals first Division Championship in 15 years and through Carson Palmer's left knee on an excruciating double-whammy play. And I'm still a fan today.
But after yesterday's game, and the frustration and anger I felt at a team that just two years ago was compared to the Indy Colts, and is presently 2-6 and on its way to a top draft pick in next year's draft, I came to a startling and very freeing realization: "I don't have to fix this!"
Now, part of being a sports fan is that whole "I would've done X on that play" or "If it were my team I'd sign Y" And to an extend, that's ok. But at some point you have to wake up and say, "That's not my job and I can't expend wasted energy on that." And I also realized how much that carries over into other places in my life. As an Associate Pastor, I have some very specific areas of ministry focus. Those are areas that I need to expend my energy. But I'm not there to "fix" the church or to somehow pine about what I would do if I were in the position to enact whatever. Just like in politics or in other arenas, I have a limited scope and limited ability to enact change and I need to exercise it and leave the rest up to God. If I try to take over as God in those areas, I'm only going to become more and more frustrated when things don't go right - even if the decisions I thought were right are made - because since I didn't actually make them, they're not up to me and I remain free to criticize.
So I was reminded that I need to "change the things I can, accept the things I don't, and understand which is which." Hey, that's kinda catchy...