Let’s face it – cheerleaders get a bad rap! I mean, they get very little recognition for their contribution to the game. Most (except maybe the 13 year old boys) barely even notice their presence on the sidelines. When they are acknowledged, it usually isn’t for the hard work they’ve put in that week – the grueling workouts, the memorized routines, the hours of practice, or their love for the team. No matter the sport, it’s really all about the player – his background, his stats, his love of the game, his future. At first glance, it doesn’t seem fair.
But a true cheerleader doesn’t mind. She knows her place is on the sidelines, out of the limelight. She understands that her job is to encourage and support the one for whom she cheers. She delights in rallying others in that support, and she finds true happiness and fulfillment in seeing the beneficiary of her effort succeed. That’s her role and whether or not anyone else notices, she plays a vital part in the game.
I’ve been thinking on this topic more recently. The fact is, my days of cheering at basketball and football games are long since behind me. But am I not called to continue as someone’s cheerleader? Sure, it comes natural for me to encourage, support and vocalize the pride I have in my children. I’m their mother. I always want them to succeed. And I’d like to say that I’m the same with my husband, but truth be told, that doesn’t always come as easily to me. I haven’t always been his biggest fan, offering my support and encouragement in all he sets out to do. Even in a good marriage, it sometimes requires a conscious effort. But while I will always see room for improvement with my own family, my thoughts this week have been centered more on my need to invest in the lives of people outside the safety net of my little home.
When a friend is struggling in this joy we call parenting, does she know I’m cheering her on? When one tells me she wants to write a book, does she know I believe in her ability to do just that? When another is striving to reach a personal goal, do they know I’m pulling for them? All day, every day! When a stranger needs someone to talk to, am I readily available and happy to listen?
Are we intentional in seeking out those who need encouragement or are we content in our happy-go-lucky world to watch the game play out in front of us but never be a part of it? I believe we are called to more and the blessings are our’s for the taking if we set aside our own desires to be in the limelight and make ourselves available.
Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Who are you cheering on today? Are you purposefully seeking for someone in need of your support? Have you taken the time recently to thank your biggest fan?
The game is not over. Let us not delay any longer. We can have a vested interest in the outcome.