what i learned from cam newton

{this post will start with a disclaimer: i obviously do not personally know cam newton. i don't know his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. i am not claiming to know his thoughts, motives or actions on or off the playing field. i am not here to begin a conversation or a debate on cam's actions on or off the field, during the game or during the post-game conference. i am only relating what i SAW in a brief 30 seconds or so to how i can apply it to my personal life!}

last night as i watched the super bowl, i saw something that spoke to me ... and then it spoke to me again in the middle of the night as i was having trouble sleeping. 

towards the end of the game, cam newton was visibly frustrated that a "roughing the passer" call was not made by the ref. after a brief interaction with the ref, cam turned away holding onto the straps of his helmet, still visibly trying to regain control of his emotions.

i can only imagine that in that moment, in total frustration {his team is losing, he thought the ref missed a call} he wanted to pull those straps, take off that helmet, throw it to the ground and stomp off the field {or if he had been me, melt into a puddle of tears}. 

he did none of those. with millions of people watching around the world and with cameras focused on him, catching his every move, his every reaction, his every expression, he "sucked it up buttercup", he kept his helmet on and he showed grace.

which brings me to what i learned from cam newton {or more accurately, what God showed me through the actions of cam newton}!

how many times have i thought a "roughing the passer" call was missed?

how many times have i felt wronged, and how have i responded?

*how do i react when my people don't seem to notice the "nice" things that i did for them, but call me out on something i did wrong?

*how do i react when i feel lonely or hurt or sad and someone doesn't notice or doesn't do something about it when i think they should have?

*how do i react when someone says or does something that hurts me?

*how do i react when life throws me a curve ball? 
{and let me tell you, losing my husband when i was 45 years old was a MAJOR curve ball!}

*how do i react when friends leave me out of their plans?

*how do i react when i feel not loved or not appreciated?

*how do i react when that "roughing the passer" call is not made and life hurts? 
{because sometimes, it just does!}

do I allow my human sinful desires to take over? do i unsnap those straps on my helmet, throw it to the ground and stomp off the field?

do i say "coach {God}, i've had e.n.o.u.g.h. life isn't fair. this isn't fair. this isn't what i signed on the dotted line for. i don't want to play anymore. i'm done. i don't want to be nice. i don't want to do the right thing. why didn't you throw the yellow flag, God? where are you? this is.not.fair. and i'm d.o.n.e.?"


do I grab those straps, hang on tight, take a deep breath and say "o.k. coach {God}, You know what You're doing. i don't know why you didn't throw the yellow flag. i don't know why You allowed this hurt {or disappointment, or loss or un-fulfilled longing} into my life. i don't get it and i may not like it, but i'll keep my helmet on. i'll take a deep breath. i'll lean on You to be my strength when my strength is gone. i'll step back on that playing field with my head held high and i'll show grace. because even in the times that i have thrown my helmet down and i have stomped off the field and i have acted like You were wrong and i was right, You loved me anyway. You loved me anyway."

i saw cam newton do that last night. i saw him hang on by a thread. i saw him show grace when millions of eyes were trained on him. when cameras were focused on him. for 10 or 20 or 30 seconds while a battle for control must have been raging within, he showed grace. he kept his helmet on. he turned back to the task at hand and he finished what he started though i believe his heart was probably breaking as he saw his dream of a super bowl championship slowly slipping away. he kept the course, he finished the race {game}!

his team may not have won the game last night. he may have been criticized for his post-game interview. he may be lamenting all of the would have's, should have's and could have's from last night. he is human and he is in the public spotlight. he will say and do and act in ways that are criticized by Christians and non-Christians alike, but for those 30 seconds or so last night, in my eyes, i saw cam show grace, and God used those few moments to speak to me. those few moments and the few moments post-game when he went to payton manning and congratulated him ...

yes, in my eyes, cam newton showed grace.

God used cam newton to teach me a lesson. through cam newton, God reminded me of the times

*when i have thrown down my helmet and stomped off of the field, 

*when i have failed to see all the good He has brought to my life and only see the "bad",

*when i have reacted badly to the circumstances He has allowed in my life,

*when i have hurt Him by my actions/reactions,

*when i have responded poorly when life threw me a curve ball,

*when i have left Him out of my plans,

*when i have failed to show Him the love and appreciation and adoration that is due HIM,

still He loves me.  still He extends grace to me. still He holds me in his strong, loving, protective arms.

even when i've thrown down my helmet. even when i've stomped off of the playing field. even when i've said "i'm done". even then, He still loves me.  He still extends His loving hand to me. He still holds me. He still waits for me to come back to Him. He still shows me grace ... a grace that i must show to others ... even when i think a "roughing the passer" flag should have been thrown!

and that is what i learned from cam newton last night!

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