Lessons from the Littles: Shooting hoops

As I said in the last post…God has been using interactions with our kids to teach ME lately. This one comes from the bleachers. We are in the middle of Upward Basketball season. We have participated- and hubby has coached- in this program for the past four years and it is a tremendous blessing to our community. Our son is…well…not very athletically inclined. Like many kids these days he’d rather be curled up with a book (or more likely a video game) than running anywhere. Thankfully for him- he does not get that choice. While we really try not to push them into things they absolutely hate, we do require some kind of sport with physical activity in the Winter months to keep them from…well, getting like me. (There…that’s my brutal self deprecating honesty for the day.) He didn’t want to do basketball again this season, but he couldn’t come up with another option so here we are. PRAISE THE LORD!

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This year, my hubby decided to coach our daughter instead of our son. Let’s just say there is some value in stepping back for a moment to invite another person in to give direction. While hubby has voiced that it hurts a little to see our son excel under the direction of another…we are both super excited at the change in our boy this year. And that’s not just a skill thing either! He is really getting it! In the years past he walked, skipped, sauntered…and stood…and dribbled…and stood…and dribbled…and let the clock run out while he did it. It was frustrating to watch, but we encouraged him every step of the way.  I don’t know if he was storing all of that knowledge up or if he is a little more coordinated this year…maybe a combination of both AND the unfamiliar voice telling him what to do. WOW. Each week he is learning and using a new skill. He is running. They are keeping him in longer. And his confidence is soaring! During his last game, he made 3 baskets and ran the whole time. WITH A SMILE.

One of the things I noticed in weeks past; someone on the opposing team would shoot the ball and my son’s team would rebound and run it up the court. Our son would run to that basket and just stand under it…waiting for the rebound. Never mind his team players scrambling for position and looking for someone…anyone…to be open. So the following week in practice, the coach focused on offensive and defensive positioning. He talked to them about running around to PLACE themselves in the best spot to receive the ball. That means positioning and re-positioning …going around obstacles and the people who are trying to keep you from that ball. Defensively, it means positioning yourself in a spot that will hinder the “enemy” and guard your teammate. Do you already see where I am going with this?

As I prayed on Tuesday, I was throwing a bit of a pity party. Stinking thinking. The comparison game is not a good one. I should be focused on the ONE…not the other ones. When I look down at my feet and the feet of those around me, I am not focused on God or the ministry that HE has laid out before me – and am certainly not walking (or sprinting) forward in victory.

Positioning.

There are times when I wait for the ball. Standing still. Not rushing to get it and not really knowing where to be. I want to shoot. I want to score- not to be known, but to make Jesus’ name known to others around me. I want to reach others and share God’s love. I want to serve and share. I want to link up and be part of God’s team. I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” -just to be affirmed that I am being obedient. I need to move…eye always on the ball…placing myself in a position to act- always. Hands up. Ready to catch, pass, block. Where do I stand? Am I blocking Satan’s attacks for my friends and family? Praying for them? Interceding when they seek godly counsel? Stepping in and saying “No…look at HIM!”?  Do I hear the coach? Do I listen? Do I respond? Am I doing anything at all or just sitting on the bench?

(sigh)

Good news is- I am not on the bench, but there have been times when I was tempted to sit down. Especially as I watch other players shoot one after another…nothing but net…and wonder if I am needed; if I have a purpose at all. I am so thankful for the little team in this home I have been given to train up in the way they should go. The body of Christ…we are the body and a hand cannot be a foot. We all can’t be guards at the same time…offense AND defense are required. TEAM work all under the direction and in obedience to THE ONE coach. We all need good teammates, too. On Tuesday, one of my valued teammates blocked a shot, passed me the ball and pointed me in the right direction. Words of wisdom from a woman who is growing in Christ…

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Thank you Lord for your faithful and wise instruction. Always when I need it. Thank you for teammates who love and care and communicate truth. I pray that I will be one.

***6:48 am Friday (48 minutes after I posted this )…a reminder on the radio. “Grace”…it’s not about anything that I do, it’s about what Christ DID. A word from the Lord…focus on THAT ball. I am overwhelmed!

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