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Life is Meant to be Lived

As I looked down at my dislocated ankle, the thought did cross my mind that maybe it's time to quit playing soccer. As a 50-year-old player, I’ve heard it all before. You’re too old for this game! You could get hurt! But if I stopped doing things because I’m getting older or because activities are deemed too dangerous, I wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING. And who wants to live like that?


February 2015

I’m no medical doctor, but after I heard that unmistakable “snap!” originating from somewhere toward the bottom of my leg, I figured something pretty bad just happened. When I finally sat up, I looked down at my left leg and even though my leg and shin bone were straight, my foot was facing outward at a 45 degree angle.

“Well that doesn’t look right,” I remember thinking while grabbing my ankle in pain.

I have been a goalie for a soccer team on a men’s league for 6 years. As a 50-year-old guy, I’ve heard it all before. You’re too old to be playing soccer! You can’t throw your body around like that. You aren’t 25 anymore buster. You could get hurt!

While lying on the turf with my teeth clenched due of the pain, my teammates rushed over to help me. Naturally, I was a bit disturbed because of how my foot was facing in a very unnatural direction. I thought I had broken my ankle but instead one of my teammates said it was “only” dislocated. Only dislocated, huh? Gosh, what a relief….

He must have been through this before, since he firmly grasped my ankle on both sides and with his other hand he rotated my foot clockwise until he felt it pop back into joint. Mission accomplished. When I opened my eyes, my foot was straight again and in perfect alignment with my leg. I was relieved to know I could move my foot and toes…but everything still hurt.

Yes, I did get hurt, but if I stopped doing things because I’m getting older or because activities are deemed too dangerous, I wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING! And who wants to live like that? Besides, to be candid, any one of us could get hurt simply by getting out of bed tomorrow morning. There is some level of risk in everything we do, but that doesn’t mean we should be afraid and lock ourselves inside a padded room with a bicycle helmet on.

Since it was late on a Sunday night and no urgent care clinics were open, I made my way home, took some Tylenol and went to bed. I headed to the doctor the next morning and was relieved to find out that the x-rays showed no damage to my ankle or to the surrounding ligaments. But I was surprised to see I had broken my fibula bone halfway up my leg. I guess that explains the snap. Did I mention I’m not a doctor?

At my age, some may think I’m crazy to want to play again, but I love the game. Is it fun? You bet! Is it competitive? Definitely. Is it dangerous? Maybe a little… but that’s what makes it fun. Will I stop playing after I heal from my injury out of fear of getting hurt again? Absolutely not.

God doesn’t want us to shy away from challenges, activities, or other physical ventures…just because they may be somewhat risky or because others think we might get hurt. That is called living in fear… and that is not living.


"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
- John 10:10 (NKJV)

OUR KIDS NEED TO LIVE AND LEARN
What is more painful than a sports injury, in my humble opinion, is the growing trend we see in society to shy away from anything that is deemed unsafe or dangerous. I am not saying that we should throw caution to the wind or forgo wisdom in our daily activities, but this growing tendency of parents and lawmakers to attempt to shield and protect children—and adults—from every conceivable unsafe situation is folly. It is impossible.

Yet the news is filled with stories of city councils banning winter sledding, schools prohibiting classic games such as dodgeball and tag, playgrounds removing monkey bars, merry-go-rounds, and tall slides, and the media constantly publishing related stories that do nothing but instill more fear, worry, and hesitation into people.

Every time you walk out the front door, you are taking a risk. We can’t be protected from everything, so can we please stop exchanging our freedom, fun, and common sense for a false sense of security? I want my kids to experience both success—and failure. I want them to face the consequences of their choices—whether good or bad. I want them to know what it’s like to take a risk—and not have it turn out so well. That is how we learn. That is how we live.

So if you swing and miss, step up to the plate and try again. Don’t hesitate. If you fall down, get back up and give it another shot. Don’t be afraid. And if you break your leg while trying to act 20 years younger…well, at least you were trying. Take the time to heal and then get back out there and kick it again!

"Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it, for there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed."
- Ecclesiastes 9:10 MSG

Are you starting to get the message? Sure, the devil will try to sabotage your plans, but let’s not forget that he is a defeated foe. I believe God wants us to trust in Him, trust in ourselves, and then go for it! That’s what living by faith is all about. That’s how we can experience the abundant life God has for us. And to me, an abundant life means a life that is full of happiness, fulfilment, health…and adventure.

As I left the health clinic on crutches and with my leg in a cast, all I could think about was getting better as soon as possible so I could once again join my teammates on the soccer field. My injury is nothing but a temporary setback and perhaps a good story to share with my grandchildren…you know, when I have grandchildren. Did I mention that I’m only 50?

Someone once said,
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting...holy cow, what a ride!"Trust me, I’ll be thinking about that quote next time I dive to the turf to block a shot…and I’ll be smiling all the way down.

THANK YOU
If you are searching for ways on how to get the most out of life, I hope you will check out the thousands of articles, audios, and life-changing video messages on the cfaith website. Remember, all of our content is free and available online 24/7.

Our heart is that cfaith will be a constant source of faith, encouragement, and LIFE to you and your family.

But we can't do it without your support. Thank you for considering how you might bless and support this ministry. And I pray that you will experience God's abundant life in all that you do!

Taking each day to the limit with you,


Jeff Litfin
cfaith staff

Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site: CFAITH.com
 
Jeff Litfin is an actor, spokesperson, writer, and life-long content and communications student who strives to put his optimism to work every day.
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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

At cfaith, you can strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding of the Word of God by digging into the vast collection of teaching articles, streaming audio and video messages, and daily devotionals. No other website offers such a unique and extensive collection of spiritual-growth resources aimed at helping you grow in your knowledge of the Word.

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