The Eligibility List

The Eligibility List

By: Bryce Runge

 

The definition of Eligible is:

 

Fit or proper to be chosen; worthy of choice; desirable:    or

Meeting the stipulated requirements, as to participate, compete, or work; to be qualified!!!

 

These words, Not Eligible, Not approved, Not Qualified all has been thrown in my face for many years on many different occasions and I am sure all of you have experienced hearing these words as well. Some examples would be like trying to get a loan and being turned down “Not approved” or applying for a job and “not being qualified” and the two words that really stuck with me over the past decade were “NOT ELIGIBLE”

When I set out on my football journey 12 years ago, I didn’t quite realize what I was walking into. I knew that I had a dream and a goal to return to the football field and by the way when I say return to the football field, I mean there was a 6 year gap from when I played in high school to when I enrolled in junior college.

After playing my first year of at Fullerton Junior College I was offered a full scholarship to South Carolina and to play for College Football Hall of Fame coach, Lou Holtz, but I wasn’t “ELIGIBLE” mainly in part due to my poor decision making while in high school, barely graduating and not taking the SAT’s etc.

I put that disappointment behind me and went on to play another year at Fullerton and ended up getting a full athletic scholarship to the University of Hawaii. I then made a bad decision to leave early and declare for the 2005 NFL draft. Went through pro day, did well, and shortly after, was flown into Buffalo with the hopes of signing an NFL contract…turns out I wasn’t “ELIGIBLE”.

I’m going to skip over the details for now as to why.

A year later, All American Football league came on the scene and I was invited to work out for “Team Texas”…turns out I wouldn’t have been “ELIGIBLE” and I’ll spare the details on that as well, ha ha!!!

With all the “Not Eligible”, “Not Approved” and “Not Qualified” comments that I was faced with clearly had left me with MANY painful disappointments. I couldn’t and I can’t explain WHY I wasn’t in the NFL and quite honestly everyone around me felt the same way…except for God, because certainly my plans weren’t aligned with His and I didn’t know any better because I didn’t have a relationship with Christ during those years of my life.

In Jerimiah 29:11 we can learn and grasp firmly to His words

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future”

As your relationship with Christ strengthens and builds you begin to see things clearer and have a better understanding. However, if you don’t have that relationship, you can’t see anything beyond your OWN desires and then end up banging our heads against the wall trying to figure out why you aren’t eligible, qualified or approved.

In 2 Corinthians 3:4-5: We are to be confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

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The other morning when I was in prayer, begging God to make things right for my son and I and explaining to Him how much it hurts when I’m on the phone with my son and when he starts to cry and say “Daddy, I miss you …Daddy, I want to be with you”

God quickly intervened and said    “Child, I have missed you too”  and when he said that , I literally crumbled and tears poured down my face and it hit me like a ton of bricks, on my knees in tears I asked “God, forgive me of my sins and forgive me for not caring about You for 35 years”

When my son says “I miss you daddy”, I have a better understanding of what God must have felt all those years when I could care less about Him and MORE of others and their approval.

I ran around doing things without a care in the world…and I definitely could care less about God. So every time I put that illegal substance in my body, the multiple times I got behind the wheel heavily under the influence, every girl I became intimate with, the life that I agreed to murder with abortion, everything I stole and every jaw I broke because some guy looked at me wrong… proved that I had NO INTEREST in God. The one who gave me life, the one who created me and this is how I thanked Him; this is how I HONORED Him?

So I question why? How on earth did I escape from all the bad I was doing and how did I not end up dead or in prison, because those that I aligned with, those that I was trying to get on the eligibility list with… guess what, they either ended up dead or prison!

And through it ALL, He was there watching as I disappointed Him, So why God? Why did you spare me?

And again he constantly reminds me

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future”

I can only imagine what God was thinking when I was out running WILD, but if I were to come up with something it might go like this:

“Oh child, I am sorry that you feel the need to do what you are doing, it hurts me to see the things of which you do, the need to seek eligibility elsewhere, the need to seek others approval, but know that I love you and I forgive you. Besides, there will come a day, when you hit your knees crying for me, to save you, to heal you, to forgive you and when you do AND you will…I will answer your prayers….because, I LOVE YOU”

I wanted so badly to be “Eligible” and I sought after approval like there was NO TOMORROW. That outside approval is literally an addiction; we work to get approval and when we do, we seek more and more because it feels so good and in the meantime, we become ungrateful, disobedient and self-centered. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5 we can really get a clear picture of this type of behavior “people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people”.

True freedom never comes until we fully realize that we don’t need to struggle to get from others what GOD so freely gives us.

Knowing that God loves us, knowing that WE ARE ELIGBLE, WE ARE QUALIFED and WE ARE APPROVED tells us all we need to know and as long as we have Gods approval, we don’t NEED any one else’s approval and in case we forget and lose sight of that, remember that Jesus came and said in John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

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God wants our security to be in Him, not in anything else. He is NOT dubious, for he is certain and sure.

In 2 Timothy 2:19,

God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The LORD knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.

God knows that we are not perfect and will never expect us to be either, but what he does expect of us can be found in

Isaiah 55:6-13(MSG)

Seek God while he’s here to be found,     pray to him while he’s close at hand. Let the wicked abandon their way of life     and the evil their way of thinking. Let them come back to God, who is merciful,     come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

“I don’t think the way you think.     The way you work isn’t the way I work.”          “For as the sky soars high above earth,     so the way I work surpasses the way you work,     and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies     and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,     producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth     not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do,     they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

 “So you’ll go out in joy,     you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade,     bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession,     exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias,     no more thorn bushes, but stately pines— Monuments to me, to God,     living and lasting evidence of God.”

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I will tell you this, that in Galatians 6:9 we are taught to “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We must continue to seek God, continue to place Him first in our lives. Know that we are here because God has a purpose for our lives; He has GREAT things in store for us!!! We must understand that we have HIS approval and we don’t need to struggle with getting on anyone else’s “Eligibility List”.

Have an AMAZING DAY!!!

Bryce Runge
About five years ago, one of my goals was to speak to individuals and to share my story and to eventually begin writing my book, but five years ago I wasn’t in any condition to share that story. Looking back on it now, I realize the timing of it had to be right and it had to be God’s timing. I had to endure a lot, overcome many obstacles in order for it to work out and more importantly I’ve had to allow God to be the author, not me. Therefore, my purpose is to use my experiences, to use my story to truly glorify Christ and to do so verbally with those I come into contact with, through my speaking engagements and in my writing.

Find Bryce at BryceRunge.com

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