On a cool November night I got the chance to live out a childhood (who am I kidding: adulthood) dream of mine….
We had the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh and take in a Steelers game at Heinz field. Now, as a huge Steelers fan this was a gold mine, once in a lifetime kind of experience. From the Steelers “Walk of Fame” and seeing all the nostalgia of great past players, to roaming the tailgate area and the ferry-boat ride over the river into the stadium.
There was the absolute “sea of black and gold”, the crazies with wrestling masks and painted faces and the smells of all sorts of aromas.
A Steelers fan paradise enveloped Heinz field and would engulf my next 7 hour experience.
I will always treasure this experience.
In reflection – here are 5 random, yet simple takeaways from the trip:
1: Fun Matters: it’s important in our busy lives to build in some time to be refreshed by things that recharge you. Being around Steeler Nation up close and personal was uplifting. It was simply a fun experience that was re-filling to me. Now, some can take a fun experience and turn it into a constant lifestyle that avoids the responsibilities of reality and I’m not advocating that. Just make sure that in the context of living out the responsibilities of your daily reality, you build in some opportunities for recharging “fun”.
2: Culture shapes you: you can NOT help but be influenced by the culture unfolding around you. Most of the time culture is subtle. It’s influence is subtle. Being in and among what many call Steeler Nation has a way of shaping how you see things, interpret and interact. Make sure that the culture that is shaping you is a healthy one.
3. Fan-dom: is a great thing, but it’s not the ultimate thing: We will all live our lives being a fan or a follower. No exceptions. Fans gather, cheer and celebrate and then go home. Followers commit. Followers do the hard work of following after, allowing their lives to be reshaped, refashioned, reformed and rebuilt by what they ultimately give their lives over too. Many try to take their fan-dom to a follower level. But following is relational and thus must be relationally intertwined with what or who we follow after. I can be a fan of the Steelers, but the truth is, they aren’t looking to lead me anywhere – they are just trying to win games. Jesus had a strong invitation to people – “follow me”. Don’t settle for being a fan of Jesus, truly give yourself over to following him. He longs to lead your life, not just send you a sticker in a fan letter reply. A friend Kyle Idleman wrote a great book all about this concept called: More Than a Fan
4. Details enrich: I completely enjoyed my experience of Heinz field, what captured me was their attention to detail. From the coordinated yellow seats that filled the stadium, to the intricacy’s of the Champions Hall, to the quality of the food, to the professionalism of the staff and sales tents. It’s the little things that truly do take a company, experience and person and set them apart from good – to – great! Remember the details…
5: Winning vs Progress: in a league such as the NFL, they say “winning is everything”. Most sports utilize this measurement as the only basis for evaluation of success. I am a big fan of winning, but I am grateful that God doesn’t measure my wins/losses within my character, conduct and choices as the sole evaluation of my value. God values us, because he inherently created us with value – He says so. He longs to guide our life toward transformation – and that is a process of progression. Progress isn’t always winning, sometimes it involves failing and getting back up. Win or lose = Rely on Him – God isn’t finished with you yet…
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:3-6
What was an experience you had – and a lesson you remember?