If you are anyting like me, you probably have found it mind-boggling when you consider how much inner change, on a personal level, takes place after any life-alterning circumstance. Included in the process are the discoveries you make about yourself– ways of being you never dreamed would unfold. Yet today, that is where I find myself. Among some the discoveries I have made about myself, one (at least in this moment) seems to triump over any I would have ever imagined. First an fyi, I have three sons. All of whom, like sports. Having spent more time with them over the past few months has been an experience in itself. However, they like sports. My oldest and youngest sons are huge sports fans. Consequently, in the past 3 to 4 months, something shocking has taken place in my life: I have become somewhat of a sports enthusiast in my own right.
This is something I would have NEVER imagined about myself. Yet here I am. And, I would like to share with you some life lessons I have learned as a result. Being a native of the ‘Golden State’, there are two sports teams of which I have become a deeply committed fan. One of them is the Golden State Warriors. Now, please do not stop reading if you happen to love sports and are not, shall we say, ‘in the same camp’ as I happen to be. As you probably know, or maybe not, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets have just finished a 7-game series for the Western Conference Finals Championship. There was a time in my life when no one could have been able to convice me that I would watch a seven-game series, and far less that I would enjoy it. Asonishingly, both of these has happened! And it is the dynamic of game 7, the last game in the series, that have inspired me to think more deeply about what it means to move forward no matter obstacles we face.
As the circumstances unfold leading up to game 7, the GSW would lose a relatively important player. That being said, the Houston Rockets suffered a much bigger loss in game 6 loosing a key player. In the first half of game 7, the Rockets came out strong and hard. Despite missing such an important person, the Houston Rockets continued to score, leaving the GSW down by 11 at half-time. Responding to a question about what he was thinking by half-time, Steve Kerr, Head Coach of the GSW, jokingly responded, “I was thinking of resigning. I did not even recognize the team. We have been together for four years.” To put it another way, how they were playing the game was completely out of sync with who they were as a team. Because they were more, their coach expected more. Sportscenter
Lesson one, a loss in life may change the way we both see ad approach life, but in that process we must remember how important it is to stay true to who we are. The greater power lies in who we are, not the size of the obstacle that blocks our way.
Lesson two, keep taking shots. Never give up on your dreams. In the first half, the GSW played horribly. In the second half, the Houston Rockets played even worse. According to the report from ESPN, at one time, the Houston Rockets missed 27 consecutive three-point shots. It was really this situation that spoke to me. In the end, the Rockets may have lost the game, but they never stopped shooting the ball. Never give up. No matte how it looks or how bleak it may seem, keep taking shots. My motto is: if I am going to go down, I am going to go down fighting. I will not relent. Nor will I give up on the dreams God has placed in my heart. As long as we keep taking shots, it is indicative that we still have hope–that we are still ‘in the game’. Stephen Curry said later of the game, “We played a full 48-minute game. No matter how the game is going you must have confidence that you can turn it around.” Despite what is going on, we must continue to hope and remain confident. Because when the minute we lose hope, the game is truly over.
Lesson three, take responsiblity for your situation. One GSW player commented that the time-out at half time was a turning point for the team. As a team they had made alot of mistakes and could have very easily begun to blame each other, but the result of each player taking full responsibility for the situation in which they found themselves was a remarkable come-back and an ultimate victory.
Finally, have confidence in the ability God has given you. In responding to a question of whether or not he was concerned, Klay Thompson answered, “We were not too worried because we know we can make an 11 point-lead evaporate in about 2 minutes of good basketball.” Both the GSW as well as the Houston Rockets performed poorly at one time or another during the course of game 7. Even so, their game-time performance, whether good or bad, had nothing to do with their ultimate potiential. The Rockets may have missed a ton of three pointers, but that is absolutely no indication of their ability to repeatedly make successful shots. Just because you haven’t done as well as you would have liked, doesn’t mean you can’t. Performance is not necessarily an indicator of ability. We must have confidence in the ability God has bestowed upon our individual lives.
In a nutshell, if we stay true to who we are, keep taking shots no matter how poorly the circumstance seems to be going, continue to take responsibility for our part in where we find ourselves and remain confident in the ability God has given us, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome. Even though I am a GSW fan, with all of these constants holding true for the Rockets as well as the Warriors, one season may have ended, but another one is on its way! This is a lesson each of us would do will to embrace for our lives.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.