Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

On Laflin Street: It Was So Divine

One day, Linda says to Craig and me with an air of superiority, “ I just got baptized. I’m a Christian.” Okay… what did that mean? Now I knew Linda and her family went to church every Sunday. But what was this Christian thing Linda spoke of?

Whatever it was, it had to be a good thing. I decided that every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Linda was true because she was a Christian. Craig and I discussed this at great length, and we decided that we, too, had to become Christians. We needed to get baptized like Linda. But how? When?

Now at some point Linda’s church was having a summer Vacation Bible School. That was when all the neighborhood kids would go to church for 2 weeks in the morning and do arts and crafts, sing songs, eat snacks and learn Bible stories. It was a lot of fun. Linda, Craig and I attended. Every day, at the end of each session, the kids would be invited to join the church and get baptized. Baptized! This is our in! We could be Christians like Linda! Craig and I decided that when the invitation was given, we were going to join the Christian jubilee!

So the appointed time came. The kids our age were seated in the choir stand. The invitation was given to join the church as well as the family of God. I proudly stood up to make my way down to the floor. I noticed that Craig wasn’t standing. I got down to the floor and I looked up in the choir stand and Craig was still there. “C’mon, Craig!” He had his arms folded defiantly across his chest and shook his head. Again, I urged him to come with me. Craig refused. Fine.  I couldn’t believe he would back out of our agreement. I shook my fist at him and went on anyway. I got baptized about a week later. I was very excited. I joined New Hope Baptist Church and became a Christian. I decided that since I was now a Christian, I shouldn’t tell any more fibs to my mother. And one day I got a chance to put my newfound beliefs to the test.

We were all pretty cool with each other in my 4th grade classroom, having been together since 1st and 2nd grade. As I look back on it, we had to have been the high-achieving group, because the things we did and the privileges we had are just not done for kids who act up and can’t handle it.  One day, a new girl came to our class. This girl, Sandra, invited us all to her birthday party.

Sandra lived on Elizabeth, which was a ways east of my street. My father drove me to her house and was going to pick me up in a couple of hours. Most of my classmates were there. Linda didn’t go to this particular party. Now Sandra had an older sister. This sister was in charge of the games, Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, Musical Chairs, and other standard birthday fare. At some point, this sister decided to make us play kissing games.

What was she trying to do to us? Kissing games? Oh, no, no, no.  Remember, we were the smart group. We now knew something was unsavory about Sandra and her big sister and we weren’t having it. We decided en masse to walk out of Sandra’s birthday party, which had taken a turn for the weird.

So my classmates and I were standing in front of Sandra’s house, and by then it had gotten dark. We were deciding who was going to go home with whom. It turns out that most of this group all lived over that way. AND it turned out that the boys decided that they were ALL going to walk Iris home! Iris was one of the darlings of the class. Now Tyrone could have walked home with me because he lived on Ashland, but it was known that he liked Iris. (But he still wasn’t at the kissing stage.) So, I had to walk all the way back to Laflin by myself. In the dark.

I put my fear aside, and I walked down 116th street like my mother always instructed me to do. She figured if anything ever happened, I could always run to the homes of people that she knew. I also remembered that I’m a Christian! Jesus is not going to let anything happen to me!

My parents were absolutely shocked when I walked in the door. You walked home in the dark by yourself? Why didn’t you call??? I told them about that stupid party. When I got to school the next day, my classmates surrounded me. I was a hero of sorts for having walked home that far by myself. I let them know (and I was not superior-sounding) that I wasn’t scared because I was a Christian!

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Waiting on the Minute

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Sometimes the Lord speaks through the TV.

Seriously.

Some of the most dynamic answers to prayer have come to me while watching or just listening to the TV. I was once in an up-and-down, on-and-off relationship that kept me on an emotional roller coaster. We’ve all had those. I was in the usual tizzy about some latest development that often accompanied that particular man. I was fretting and carrying on in my mind about what I should do about the situation.

For one minute my mind quieted down long enough to hear a guy say through the TV, “Sometimes when you don’t know what to do, just don’t do nothin’.”

ABSOLUTE REVELATION. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my entire world. It went straight to my spirit. That little tidbit didn’t even come from a TV preacher—it was a western. I have applied that piece of wisdom to many a situation for many years now. I have never tried to back it up with scripture, but if I looked hard enough I’m sure I’d find something to support it from the Bible.

When I first got married, one of the things that was a culture-shock to me was how my husband eats. No fruits and vegetables. Massive amounts of bread. Bottom of the barrel crap like Twinkies and cheap frozen meals. Eating large meals and then going to bed. Never going to the doctor. He high-tailed it to the dentist only because an issue popped up and he was in serious pain. Never going to the gym, yet paying for a membership. I really hate throwing money away. All this was so opposite to how I conduct my life. I nagged, prayed, tried to shame him into different behavior, prayed again. Tried to just let it go, figuring he’s grown; I can’t tell him what to do. So I say nothing as he devours half a pound of uber-caloric cashews in one sitting.

So I’m watching Biggest Loser one recent night, and a person said of the contestants that at one minute of one day in their lives, they made a conscious decision to make a change, a change that they were willing to commit to and be serious about.

One minute of one day.

ABSOLUTE REVELATION. That went straight to my spirit. I don’t need to worry about my husband’s health habits! One minute of one day, my husband is going to get revelation!  He’ll make a change to change his life! God can change anything in one minute! God can turn it all around in one minute! We just have to wait on the minute

That’s the hardest thing—waiting for change. But we know that God works in secret and he does it little by little. And you have to remember how He changed you. You weren’t always so perfect yourself. The Bible says “Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19)  If you should get discouraged, just say to yourself, “I believe that God is working in this situation.”

So now when my husband eats his signature bowl of chili with a side peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I don’t cringe. I think, one minute of one day…

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How Much Do You Want It?

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It’s a real slow day for me at work. I often shudder to think that this is the calm before the storm, and that storm oftentimes comes late on a  Friday afternoon, which is when I want it to be slow. Anyway, I’m sitting here being very unproductive.

I’m thinking I could have written something. But I always go on inspiration, and I haven’t had any lately. It’s Tuesday and I haven’t did a Take-Me-Back in a while. No inspiration. I’m always talking about how I want to do more with my writing and yet I sit here with all this time and no words are being put on computer. So what’s my problem? I realize that I’m always waiting on inspiration. What is that even about? When I was in grade school, my equally creative childhood best friend and I would walk to school and talk about how we wanted to write a story. “Give me some inspiration,” one of us would say to the other. So during our four-block walk to school, we’d toss out ideas until one of them resonated. Then, brimming with wonderful new trains of thought, we’d zip through our class work so we could jump right into that story. We didn’t know at the time that we were brainstorming. No ideas were off the table. We said whatever came into our minds. The next day, we’d have a new masterpiece written on 3 or 4 sheets of notebook paper—both sides.

So what else is my problem? I have been dealing with insomnia for about 3 or 4 years now. It’s not every single night, and I do have sleep meds that I take sparingly. I’ve adapted by embracing the very early morning. I get up at 4 three days a week so I can have my time with the Lord and then be at the gym at 5. I really like that routine. I sometimes hit Walmart in the 6 a.m. hour. I always ask for the earliest doctor’s or dentist appointment. Sometimes I cook, or throw in a load of laundry. Then I go to work. So by the time I get home, I’m pretty much zonked. Because of all this, I don’t want to give attention to anything but the TV. So I don’t.

It’s still a heart’s desire to do voiceover, and the desire hasn’t gone away. But because I’ve been blessed by God to have this particular job that’s been steady for the last 2 years, my head is into making the money. I haven’t always had well-paying steady employment at something that I’m good at, and where I have favor. That’s totally God. It also costs money to do the level of promotion one needs to do to try to get the voiceover jobs, and I really don’t want to put my money towards that right now. I want to save for a house. I have an agent, and I need to get back in contact with the one agent that I have totally fallen off the radar. I haven’t been checking in because I’ve been working. Also, I have a fear that if I check in, I’ll get auditions and won’t want to work on the audition when I get home from work because of the time it takes and my after-work energy level.

Which brings me to my question—how much do you want it? How much do I want it?

I really want to gain an audience for my writing, so I have to, uh, write. Like when I was 11 years old. Meaning, find that inner brainstorm and do it. On a regular basis. That would be an accomplishment for me, to do two pieces a month. I was doing it, but got discouraged because I’m not picking up any followers. And I don’t know why I can’t even get my family to read my stuff. It only takes 10 minutes, c’mon…

I really want to do voiceover. So I need to get past the fear of contacting the agent and do it. I have another agent and I get a few auditions from her. Ideally, they say a talent should get between 3 and 5 auditions a week. I get that many a month, maybe, so I’m way behind the 8-ball. That’s because I’m not focused on it or really pursuing it at this time. I need to do vocal warm-ups at least 3 times a week so when I do get an audition I can actually say the line without tripping over syllables.

How come I’m not focusing on my heart’s desires and God-given gifts? Because they take work. Extra effort. Time. Rejection is a part of it, because creativity is subjective. It’s what the powers-that-be decide that they like or don’t like. They may or may not like my words or my point-of-view. Yet, I want to see my column in the newspaper. To me, voiceover is steeped in rejection. I never get anything I audition for. You have half a million people going for the same stuff. Yet, I want to turn on the TV and radio and hear my voice.

So, how much do I want it? Maybe not enough? But I do really want it! Enough to stop whining about it? Enough to not let insomnia and exhaustion rule my life? That’s no fun, I tell ya. But I guess I need to put mind over matter and do what I can do and let God do what I can’t. The Lord told me to stay ready for voiceover, but I haven’t been doing that. I need to pray about it, confess the Word over it and work. Faith without works is dead. Write something. So what if no one reads it. When I was a kid, I wrote all the time and never let anyone but Linda read my stuff. Yet I was happy writing.

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What about you? Is there something you really want, but perhaps you’ve been wallowing in complacency, or content with something that really isn’t going to give you long-term satisfaction? Do you want to pursue that goal? Are you willing to pay the price for that goal, no matter what the price is? The price of time, finance and sacrifice? Think about it. Only you can answer.

That said, there’s nothing else left to do but write something. And at least do a few tongue twisters.

This is dedicated to my sister Crystal.

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The Power of Peace and Perspective

So I’m up at 4:00 a.m. to get started on the weekly routine. I like to be at the gym as close to 5 as I can. Totally pumped. I have absolutely no motivation for 5 in the evening. It’s imperative that I get my Monday workout. I feel that working out on Monday sets the tone for the rest of the workout week. I rarely miss a Monday workout—been doing it for years and years. I also have been striving to spend the first 10 to 15 minutes of the day with the Lord, something we know also sets the tone for the day. I find that my morning goes remarkably smooth when I do this.

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So anyway, I’m up at 4:00 a.m. , which is my latest routine. I turn the TV on to get the Weather Channel. No cable signal. No cable signal!!!! What the heck????!!!!! We just went through this a week ago! They said my DVR crapped out, so they replaced it, taking stuff I hadn’t watched yet including irreplaceable shows. So I’m on the phone with Comcast at 4:10 a.m. I was for the most part cool, but I was like I just went through all this and yall better get somebody over here on this day before Monday Night Football!!!!!!!! The BEARS ARE PLAYIN’! I was also impatient because I didn’t want to get thrown off my gym schedule. Time is of the essence!

The problem was resolved and I made it to the gym by 5:15. I figured I’d recoup my time with the Lord when I got home, or while on the train. I also realized I hadn’t even spoken to my husband, except to shriek at him to not touch anything having to do with the cable situation.

It took me hours to calm down. I have no idea why, but I was hyped up until about 12:30 that afternoon. That was a lot of stress for so early in the morning. I had to really fight to get back into peace. I don’t remember if I actually spent time with the Lord that day or not. Probably not.

The devil knows what will push our buttons, and he has a list of custom-designed irritants for each one of us. The cable not working may not have bothered some people, but for me that’s supreme. I would have taken off work to get it straight. And on Monday night when the Bears are playing? C’mon now…

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. John 14:27

Satan always wants us to go to the left, but we have to train ourselves to go to the right. It is important to maintain peace in our homes and within our spirits. How do we do that? We have to turn it around in our mind.

One of the meanings of the word perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relation or relative importance; the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed. The way you view a situation can turn things around. With what perspective do you even view your spouse? Is she the nag who’s always bugging you about going to the doctor, or the one who cares about your health? Is he the one who always forgets to tell you his debit purchases so you can keep track, or the one who brings every dime home? We gotta turn these things around in our mind so we can live in peace.

We need to learn how to employ peace and perspective in all phases of life, especially in marriages, because if there’s no peace there, there’s no peace anywhere in your life.  Perspective will help us keep the peace. Right now, my husband is working nights, so our schedules are totally flipped flopped. So instead of me flying off the handle when he’s in the bathroom in the morning (it’s hard to bite my tongue about that, I tell ya), knowing I just came home from working out and I got to get in there so I can get back out, perspective and peace says just get my breakfast and lunch ready.  He did avert an argument once when I was about to start one—he said “You should have just jumped in the shower with a brother.” Now that would have kept the peace, right?

And when my football coach husband is watching Basketball Wives at 7:30 p.m. on a Monday Night—don’t ask me why or how that even happened—I just go to my NFL Mobile app. Instead of picking a fight, perspective and peace says at least he’s not watching Honey Boo-Boo.

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Pulpit of Poison

I didn’t know anything about Charles L. Worley’s incendiary comments about gays and lesbians until I read talented fellow blogger Juwannadoright’s post the other day. He’s the pastor of a North Carolina church, and his rant went viral and made national news. Juwannadoright wrote of how she read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and the profound effect it had on her–basically not being judgmental of others.

However, when she found out about that empty-headed, judgmental pastor and his “Christian” views, Juwannadoright concluded that maybe she read the wrong book.

How sad. This is not about that pastor or about homosexuality, although I have strong views on both, this is about certain individuals who have their own stage and built-in audience and use it to spew out poison, all in the name of Jesus, thereby giving Christians a bad name!

When pastors and preachers fall into some type of sin or say controversial things, it gets big news time.  It paints a dim scene of being a Christian. No one wants what we have to offer because of this. No one talks much about the good works that the good ministers do. Those who truly have a relationship with God do accept people for who they are and can act in a non-judgmental way towards them. True Christians can “hate the sin and love the sinner.” Jesus didn’t grab the woman caught in adultery, shake her and call her a wanton woman. He called all the other folks into question. He didn’t condemn her. This would have a more profound effect on that woman and help her to get on another road than locking her up with other adulterers behind an electronic fence. And I’m sure Jesus was interested in knowing where was the man she was with, cause the woman wasn’t in that bed by herself!

Some of the most judgmental people in the world can be Christians, I’m sorry to say. Many of us do not walk in love as we should. The word “love” in this case means how we treat people. Jesus always treated people right. He would free those contained in Worley’s electronic fence.

 

(To read Juwannadoright’s post:)

http://juwannadoright.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/mere-christianity/

 

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Cell Phone and Bible Behavior

This courtesy of my friend Brenda Moore…

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

[And with Him, there are no dropped calls, you always have enough bars, and He can always hear you!]

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The Cold-Blooded and The Constant

Life in workaday America…

So I’m wondering why Amy’s emails kept coming back to me. Then I remembered her saying to me last week that she would send me a document that I can do all the updates on myself. “Okay, whatever, ” I said, at the time swamped in my own stuff and not giving it another thought. I went down to Amy’s cube, and Julio said he hadn’t seen her all day. “Something’s up, ” I’m thinking.

I go in my team leader’s office and ask him if there’s something up with Amy. “Oh, Amy was let go last Thursday,” Corwin said.

I’m totally shocked. Why? What happened? I didn’t ask, but of course I’m wondering. Amy had been here for years.

Cold-blooded.

Just a few weeks ago, Amy had returned from extended sick leave. They didn’t have anything for her to do. So guess what? They gave Amy MY work. Can’t have a full-timer sitting around with “unbillable” hours. So boot the freelancer out. Me, a person who is dependable, been coming in everyday for well over a year and does excellent work, out of a job for a week.

Cold-blooded.

Now Amy is out the door. And she just came back from sick leave.

Cold-blooded.

Now I don’t know the story; maybe Amy forgot how to effectively perform her duties. Maybe her work was crap. But I do know that companies don’t care about you. They care about “billable” hours. They care about their bottom line. They don’t care how long you’ve been working for them or the quality of work you produce, the company is about the company. I wonder about the “head honchos” who make such decisions. I guess they can’t take into consideration an individual’s life–their health status, their financial state, whether or not there’s others in the family they support. They have to make cold-blooded decisions and deliver cold-blooded news. Personally, I wouldn’t want to do that. I’d want to hire, not fire.

However, there is one Constant. The Lord.

Companies don’t care about you, but the word says “Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)

Companies flip the script all the time, but the Lord says, “I am the Lord; I change not.” (Malachi 3:6)

Companies cannot be trusted, but the word says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not unto your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Companies care about billable hours. Jesus paid your debt.

He is the Constant in this life.

Being a creative freelancer, I have been in and out of work so many times. Because I trust in Him, I have seen Him do so many cool things for me in this area of employment and money. The Lord is the Constant in my life.

Hmmm, didn’t know Amy that well, but I hope she knows The Constant.

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The Game of Life (Part 2)

In Part 1, we learned that life is the ultimate game, and we know that we all have a game we’re best suited for. Here, we will get more in depth about where and how we fit in and the perspective we should have.

Seasons and Times

Think about the game that you’re in. Are you actively playing now ? If not, you’re not in the season. That’s the reality of it. In April, there are no NFL games being played anywhere in the world. It’s not football season. So, if you’re not playing, you’re not in your season. But that doesn’t mean you’re to be dormant! There’s always an off-season conditioning program! Maybe you’re in the season and time for marketing your business, finishing your degree or straightening up your finances. Perhaps you and your spouse need to get your relationship straight before you bring children into the mix. There are different seasons of our lives. Meanwhile, you continue to work out, stay in shape and keep up with your game.

Observation: Stay in the Word and operate the way the Lord directs.

The Draft

There is a draft that is held in most pro sports, which is how organizations get new players and build teams. Ideally, players come from colleges and universities and have already been playing ball for sometime. (Remember—for our purposes, we’re talking football.)

Eligible for the draft

If a player is ready to be drafted, that means he is ready to play. He has satisfied all requirements for education and the football program at the college. He has played successfully, now he can move on to the next level—pro ball.

  • A college dropout isn’t eligible.

Observation: Have you dropped out and given up your hopes, dreams, your Word that God gave you? If so, get back on track! A dropout can go back to school and you can start again. Also, how much do you want it? Are you willing to pay the price to achieve success? Will you stop eating the wrong things and work out so you can lose weight? Will you network to find work? Nothing just happens!

Once a guy gets drafted, he goes through a training period, and in essence is ready to play in the NFL. The training period is brief. He goes to rookie mini-camp and the regular team training camp. Then he can begin playing, depending on whether or not he’s a starter. He already knows how to play the game. He just needs to learn NFL rules and regulations, and his new team’s playbook and his teammates.

A high-performing college player who set records and won awards comes with a high price. He would probably get selected in the first round. First-round draft picks are usually signed right away and get a very lucrative contract.

However, the teams that get first bids on the top players are the teams with the worst records in the NFL. Losing teams. I guess the rationale is that losing teams need all the help they can get.

Observation: Does that mean that, for example, a really great man or woman—first-round draft picks—will be chosen by a loser? No. Not on God’s team. He doesn’t have losers, nor will He allow His top draft pick to get hooked up with a loser.  And another thing–YOU might be called to elevate somebody else’s game! Cam Newton, 2011’s Heisman Trophy winner and number one draft pick, is just the quarterback the Carolina Panthers desperately needed!

Some players never get to make great plays because they’re stuck on the sidelines. They aren’t starters. They’re second and third string. It’s not that they’re not good; they’re just not the starter. There’s no way they’d be employed by the NFL if they were not good on some levels.

Case in point: Kurt Warner, current analyst for the NFL Network, was the starting QB for the St. Louis Rams from 1998 to 2003. However, he wasn’t always in that position. He was bounced around, cut and totally disregarded when he first started his NFL career. Kurt even held down a $5.50 an hour grocery store gig. He went from being 3rd to throwing the game-winning pass in the 2000 Super Bowl. He also got a multi-million dollar contract! Kurt Warner also led the 2009 Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady, regarded as the NFL Network’s number one greatest player of 2011 and number 21 on their list of The 100 Greatest Players of all time, was chosen 199th in the 2000 NFL draft. He was chosen in the 6th round. Brady still gets emotional as he speaks of his excruciating wait as player after player was selected before he was. Tom Brady has been to four Super Bowls and has won three.

Observation: Your turn will come. Be ready when it comes, and play your butt off! Just because you weren’t the first chosen doesn’t mean you’re not the best.

Some people play and never get noticed. They never get their names in the paper or mentioned by TV commentators. But they’re still playing well every week.

Observation: Just do what you’re supposed to do. God sees you.

Power and promotion come from nowhere on the earth, but only from God. Psalm 75:6,7

Riches and honor come from God alone; His hand controls power and might and it is at his discretion that men are made great and given strength. I Chron. 29:12

Yet, the question remains:  How do you know when you’ve won the Super Bowl? Isn’t that the ultimate goal down here on Earth? I don’t care what nobody says; we want to see the goodness of God down here in the land of the living. I’m not just looking for rewards in the “sweet by-and-by”: I’m looking for the Super Bowl ring. Even the team who went home in December with a 1–15 record goes into training camp with the mindset of winning the Super Bowl. To desire anything else is unacceptable. I think a head coach would be fired immediately by the team owners if he should say, “Well, we just want to play the best we can and win a few more than we did last year.” No way! If a team and coach don’t go in with a Super Bowl win on the brain, why bother?

I believe we’ve won when we get what we want. Everybody has a heart’s desire. When you get it, you’ve won. Maybe it’s a house. Maybe it’s a spouse, or children, or getting out of debt. You may want to get published, or you’re waiting to be recognized for your singing or acting talent. Maybe you’ve had health problems. Think about your game. Think about all the elements of that game. Maybe you’d rather win the World Cup or an Olympic gold. Ask the Lord what your game is, and where you fit in the scheme of that game. Maybe you’re not into sports and you like television. God might tell you you’re in the script development stage! In that case, you want the Emmy award!

I just want to encourage you that you have a place here and God has a game plan specifically designed for you! You will WIN the Super Bowl!

Photo credits: Tom Brady: Jim Rogash, Getty Images; Cam Newton: Chris Trotman/Getty Images; jostens.com; Kurt Warner: daddycatchersrealm.wordpress.com; blogs.riverfronttimes.com

 

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The Game of Life (Part 1)

(Happy 2012! It’s a new year, as well as the end of the 2011 football season. That being said, let’s start the new year off with some encouragement. Sports are life’s great metaphor, so decide to play your best game this year!)

 

 Some years ago, I went through a brief period of disappointment. I found myself comparing my life to the lives of women I know who in essence have no real impact or effect on my life in any way, shape, form or fashion. I felt like I wasn’t in, as I termed it, the Game of Life. I’m glad that I didn’t remain in this state for long.

Truth: We must be very careful about dwelling on those feelings; they can lead to depression.

It wasn’t until the next year that the Lord began to give me some really cool observations and revelations about the Game of Life. For those of you who are not sports savvy, forgive all the football references. (LOVE football!) Rejoice and be encouraged, because you are on the receiving end of those revelations!

Do you ever feel like you’re not in the game? Do you feel like everyone around you is an active player—marriage, children, careers, vacations, whatever—and you’re on the sidelines watching? Your friends are all discussing their kids’ Little League games and report cards. They’re talking about sons and daughters graduating and getting drivers licenses. You’re not in the Game of Parenthood because you have no children.

The men you work with speak of their wives in extolling ways. They don’t act like they are trapped with the “old ball and chain.” The women bring their husbands to the company Christmas party. They appear to have strong marriages. You have nothing to add to that either because you’re not in the Game of Marriage.

Homeowner buddies are excited about putting a deck out in the backyard; fast-track career climber friends are jet-setting all over the country. How do you fit with those scenarios?

Are you in the Game of Life? Yes. By virtue of simply being alive makes you part of it. Life is a game, metaphorically speaking, because Paul equates it to running a race. A race is a game. In the sports-crazy society we live in, games rule. What you need to understand is the season that your particular game is played, or that you’re in.

Games and Seasons

There are many different games—probably thousands. For our purposes, we’ll mainly deal with professional football and baseball. These are games that are played in different seasons. However, the football and baseball seasons overlap.

Each year, professional sports teams always have training before the start of the season. Those who perform well will make the team. For example, football starts training camp in late July. Preseason games are played in August, and the regular 16-game season kicks off in September. Play-off games are in January, and the season culminates with the Super Bowl in February.

Major League Baseball starts spring training in February, with regular season games beginning in April. Teams play 162 games. Their play-offs are in September. The World Series is in mid-October. It’s a long season, and in my opinion, not very exciting. Why get excited about a team on a winning streak in June, when they can lose 25 games in July? Personally, I wouldn’t get excited over a baseball team in April. Waaaay too early. With football, however, teams can start playoff hopes in the 7th and 8th week.

Training Camp

An athlete must train for his specific sport. Within the sport, players must train for their specific position. In football, the offense goes through different drills than the defense. Even within the two structures, players have different drills. The receivers spend quite a bit of time just catching the ball. The quarterbacks spend time throwing the ball. The tackles and linebackers are practicing their hits. The running backs are going through footwork and dodging exercises.

They must train mentally as well as physically. Coaches are yelling at players, “Stay with me! Focus!” If your body is in the game, but your mind isn’t, you might as well sit down. You won’t be effective.

Observation: Are you ready for your game?

The Baseball Game of Life

Baseball is slow. It’s actually more fun to go to the park and see it live because of the atmosphere. You may not be called to live a fast-paced life. Life is slow and steady. You don’t have to play in the rain. There’s not a lot of contact with other players. This is your game. You may get a hit or not. You may get on base, or not. You may get a home run, or not. Whatever the outcome, there’s still another inning to play. You still get nine chances to get that all-important home run, and if you don’t get it today, there’s always tomorrow.

The Football Game of Life

Football is very exciting. It’s a short season, but full of energy, excitement, and very hard-nosed. It’s all or nothing in football. 16 games. That’s it. It’s rough. Players take hard-hits. It’s played in all weather—from 85 degrees in September to 20 degrees in December. Sometimes players can’t see the ball for fog or snow. There’s no such thing as a rainout in football. Sometimes you can’t tell who the players are because of the mud on the uniforms. There is no series in football. You have to be on. It’s a one-shot deal. Win or go home.

You may play a much more intense and faster game. You’ll have some warm and sunny days. You’ll have some dreary rainy and snowy days. You still have to play. You can’t wimp out. You can’t decide you don’t want to play because it’s raining. You can’t complain because you’re all covered with mud, or because you’re cold. It’s part of your game. It’s not always going to be great weather or physical conditions. Your game may not consist of a lot of chances.

Games (Lives) Can Overlap

In baseball, the World Series takes place in mid to late October. Therefore, baseball season overlaps football season.

In cities where there’s only one stadium, yard lines are painted over second base. Baseball players can look like they’re running for a touchdown; football players can look like they’re sliding into home. Maybe your game will overlap someone else’s game. For a brief period of time, you’re playing on the same field.

Observation: Maybe you will have toddlers while your best friend’s kids are pledging sororities.

People have different abilities. Chicago White Sox home run king Paul Konerko doesn’t play football. His game is different. He trains differently. His season is different and his off-season is different. The rules of his game are totally different than that of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Jay has no  business complaining that his season is too short or it’s too rough. Paul shouldn’t talk about being tired after the 50th game. That’s the nature of their game and that’s what they are. Konerko cannot be a quarterback. He’d get creamed. (Sometimes Cutler gets creamed.) He doesn’t have the training to play football. Jay Cutler can throw a football down field, but with that same arm can he swing a bat with the over-the-fence power of Paul Konerko? Konerko can throw a baseball, but can he throw a football to a  receiver 50 yards away?

Observation: It is a mistake to compare your sport/game/life with another person’s.

The Off-Season

The off-season is when the sport is inactive. During the off-season in the NFL, no games are being played anywhere. But is the sport inactive? No.

There is much activity in the off-season. Much. People get fired, like coaches and managers of losing teams, as well as under-performing players. A lot of people get hired, like new coaches and free agents signing on with other teams. There’s a lot of scrambling to snatch up good players who have become available. College players are drafted. Veterans come and go. Contracts are negotiated. New game plans and schedules are devised.

Observation: There’s always something happening. God is always doing something.

This is not a time for players to kick back and eat cookies all day. True, they should have some much-needed downtime and allow time for their bodies to heal. However, they should still be keeping their bodies in condition.

Observation: Don’t get weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap a harvest. You have to stay ready for your due season.

So, in essence:

¨     God is the Supreme Coach who drafts people for certain games.

¨     He knows who is best suited for a particular game.

¨     He puts us in the game He wants us in.

¨     God comes up with the game plan.

¨     God does not reveal the playbook until He’s ready. He calls all the plays.

¨     You can be in the game, but you may be not playing; it may be your season, just not your turn.

¨     He takes us off the bench when He wants us to play.

¨     Your turn will come—there are no bench-warmers in God’s Kingdom. Everybody has something to do.

¨     We need to stay in condition and in shape throughout the off-season as well, or you won’t be ready when the season begins.

(end part 1)

Photo credits:

gustey.com; Jay Cutler, Rob Grabowski-US Presswire, US PRESSWIRE / November 20, 2011; 123rf.com

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