Lessons Learned from Football

footballI did something this past weekend I rarely ever do.  I watched an entire college football game from start to finish.  I realize that some might think, and especially here in the south, that for one to not be a huge college football fan is practically un-American.  But really its about time and attention span for me.  I don’t often find myself with the time or the attention span to watch a sporting event that should last an hour be stretched out over three hours.  At any rate, I did this weekend, and as much as I enjoyed watching the actual game, I was disappointed as “my team” lost.

I guess its just type of person I am, but I couldn’t help but notice the looks of frustration coming from the quarterback as he would try to make a play, and time after time his progress would be impeded.  A pass would be incomplete.   The ref would throw a flag canceling out any success he may have hoped for in a play.   The worst seemed to be when the 353lb defensive lineman would barrel through the line of scrimmage and literally try to crush the quarterback with his bodyweight alone.  The QB seemed to give it his best, but man what a frustrating experience.  That’s why I never played football.  I’d get to frustrated at the constant obstacles to success, the start and stop, the people trying to hold you back. No Thank You!!!  Okay so maybe the fact that I didn’t play football had more to do with my own lack of coordination and athleticism, still I would not have enjoyed playing.

I have felt like that quarterback many times in my life.  I’ve had dreams, callings, leadings from God to head in a certain direction, and have been met with challenges along the way.  Incomplete passes on my part, trying and failing at advancing were common.  The worst was when I would be sacked by a lineman – the “friend” who spoke with words of discouragement.  Some weren’t intentional, others were.  I’ve had some people almost seem happier with my failures and setbacks than with my successes.  I’ve had others who seemed almost jealous, embittered not because of my successes but simply because I was attempting to press forward.

I have tasted disappointment and frustration reminiscent of the quarterback who kept facing one obstacle after another in the football game.   But I have also tasted the comparable determination, to keep pushing forward, to not throw in the towel, but to press through.

Obstacles are part of life.  They come in all shapes and sizes and life forms.  But just because they are there, doesn’t mean we have to stand still and do nothing.  We have to keep running downfield, keep pushing through, especially if our objective is clear. Because losing isn’t an option.  Now to be fair, sometimes God places obstacles in our lives to protect us from doing something stupid.  Still, I have found those obstacles are bigger, and characterized by His grace and mercy, covered in His love.

What’s your dream, calling, or purpose that is yet to be fulfilled?  Can I encourage you to keep running?  You’re going to be discouraged.  You’re going to be knocked down.  Your going to have people make judgement calls and throw yellow flags of caution on your field.  Take caution, that’s fair. But keep moving forward.  Failure to fulfill your calling is not an option.

The Apostle Paul said it this way:

12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take holdof it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you.

Philippians 1:12-16 (HCSB)

So . . . keep running!

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