I Was So Hurt!
It was 11:58 a.m. Just two more agonizing minutes until I would find out if I had made the high school cheerleading squad. I sat fidgeting in the hallway and waited impatiently for the announcement sheet to be posted. My stomach was doing flip-flops. Even though I'd been a cheerleader throughout middle school, I was nervous about making the squad. As a freshman, I was competing against older girls who had more experience than I had.
"Hey, it's posted!" someone shouted.
I, along with a bunch of other girls, rushed to check the list. As my eyes scanned the sheet, my heart felt like it stopped beating. I couldn't find my name. I swallowed hard and looked again. It wasn't there.
Tears stung my eyes as I slowly backed away from the crowd. Then, to make things worse, my best friend, Nikki, started jumping up and down and yelling, "I made it!" Her accomplishment felt like a smack in my face because I was the one who had talked her into trying out. As I watched Nikki celebrating with the other girls, I turned away and walked silently down the hall.
I went home that afternoon with my self-esteem shattered. I couldn't understand why God would take away something so important to me. I moped for several days. Then one day my mom asked me a question that really stumped me.
"Have you considered that not making the squad might be God's plan?" she asked.
"I dunno," I mumbled.
"Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture, but God has reasons for everything," Mom said. "Do you really think he wants you to spend your time sulking?"
Her question made me realize how unfair I had been with God. I'd gotten so caught up with cheerleading that I hadn't been spending time nurturing my relationship with Christ. I decided I was going to straighten out my priorities.
Over the next few weeks, I prayed and studied my Bible more. I also started participating in more church activities. As I focused more on God, my perspective on cheerleading changed. Even though I still missed the "energy" of cheering, the activity didn't carry the same importance it once did.
Then a unique opportunity came my way. Auditions were being held for an all-star cheerleading team, a non-school affiliated squad that introduces girls to the world of competitive cheerleading. Nikki encouraged me to try out, but I felt torn. Although I enjoyed cheering, I didn't want to risk jeopardizing my restored commitment to God.
My mom offered a different perspective. She said it was unlikely all the girls on the all-star squad would be Christians. She told me this could be my chance to spread God's Word to kids who hadn't learned of Christ's love.
It sounded great in theory. But I had always attended Christian schools, and I wondered how hard it would be for me to approach non-believers. After several days of praying and asking for God's guidance, I decided cheering was a fantastic opportunity to share my faith.
So, I tried out, and this time I made it. Immediately, I thought of what Mom had said about God's bigger plan. I felt sure that I'd made the all-star squad rather than the school squad because God wanted me to witness to my new teammates. And that's exactly what I did.