I Love Watching You Play

“Come on” the voice said from the stands. “You can play better than that.

The little girl on the volleyball court was only ten or eleven, and the voice in the bleachers belonged to her overtly disappointed father. It was obvious to everyone in the gym that his daughter – now fighting back tears of shame – was letting him down.

Dad was agitated by his daughter’s lack of leadership and aggressiveness. She clearly  wasn’t playing to her potential (“she’s so much better than this!”) and we all knew it would be a long car-ride home unless she picked up the pace. As his daughter, she was obviously supposed to shine brighter. She was failing to lead, inspire, and rise to the occasion. She was failing to make him proud.

Many of us hear similar voices as we move through our own lives. “Surely you can play better than that?” we hear from somewhere in the stands.I was expecting so much more from you. Is this the best you can do? I am so disappointed…” We wonder if this voice belongs to God.

And just like that, our hope and joy is gone. What was once exuberant play is replaced with paralysis and self-consciousness. We dread making a mistake. We dread someone playing better than us. We dread the car-ride home with dad.

Is this why so few of us are eager to be alone with God? Do we expect a post-game lecture? Do we wonder if God will withhold his words of love and affirmation until we start playing well enough to make him proud? What do we imagine he is going to say about our play?

“I love watching you play.” 

This the voice of our Heavenly Father (who knows our frame) and who loves us still.

“I love watching you play.”

This is the voice of Jesus (who suffered our wounds) and who prays for us even now.

“I love watching you play.

This is the voice of God’s own Spirit (who knows our doubts and insecurities) and who renews our strength each hour.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, and always will; I will never leave you or forsake you. Listen hard for this voice – it will never put you to shame.

You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased; I have called you by name and you are mine. Listen today for this voice – it will give you courage and rest.

There is no condemnation for you because of Jesus. Tune your ears to hear this voice  – the voice of Truth – because it will set you free to play with joy.


God is not disappointed in your performance and you don’t let him down.

God doesn’t leave you vulnerable, in the harsh spotlight, desperate to prove your worth to him and the world. How do I know? Because when he watches you play he sees his beloved son, in whom he is well pleased.

God loves watching you play, not because of your notable performance or potential, but because of the passion of Jesus .

God treasures you, not because you make him so proud or shine so bright, but because Christ purchased your soul.

God’s voice never condemns you, not because you play perfectly or rise to the occasion, but because Christ absolutely did.

What voice do you hear in the stands today? Whose words and intentions are shaping your play? Your life? Your future?

There is a voice that calls you ‘Beloved’.

Peace to you and yours as you listen for Him.



10 responses to I Love Watching You Play

  1. Beautiful! This is the kind of parent I want to be, who always love to watch my kids play and delights in them. Divine filiation really is the greatest source of peace and joy.

  2. wzachriggs says:

    This is so great. “I love watching you play” is exactly like something a good Father would say. Thank you for posting — it encouraged me today.

  3. Laura Wimberley says:

    Thank you. We often need to be reminded of that love.

  4. Ben Nelson says:

    Thank you Kim. I’ve been in the stands with that guy, and I’ve heard Jesus in that tone in my discouraged heart. It’s so good to know, the voice of the critic was not my Jesus. He loves to watch me (us) play.

  5. Mark Brubaker says:

    Thanks so much for this, Kim! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this post!

  6. Debbie says:

    This is so beautiful! What a great visual reminder that our peace does not come from inside us, but is external through Jesus. I had to pause to dry my eyes so I could see to finish reading. This was just the nourishment my soul needed. Thank you for sharing this!

  7. Catching up on your posts. I have allowed myself to be put in a place where I hear the enemy’s words louder than Gods. What a perfect phrase to keep at the front of my brain and post in multiple places in my house. The visual helps too. Thanks for writing in a way that got through to me.

  8. garrettjacquelinegmailcom says:

    Kim, this is beautiful! God the Father always speaks such comforting words, and I LOVE that you pointed out that’s ALL because of Jesus!!! Thanks be to Him who suffered for us that we might always have the encouragement of the Father God, even as if we had earned it. Thank you, Jesus, for earning that love and encouragement and so much more from our Father God, more than we can even know!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.