When you are looking through the lens of something like kicking field goals for fun, it doesn’t seem so hard but in our everyday lives not giving up becomes a little harder.
James 1:2-4-Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be complete and lacking nothing.
I was driving around town amidst all my thoughts when I passed an old little league field that holds fond memories. My brother and I have always shared life’s activities together. He played with my doll house when we were much much younger. I played in the dirt with him. He listened to my stories. I ran plays he taught me out in the cul-de-sac. We played basketball and music and games we just came up with on the fly. We were always entertaining ourselves in one way or another.
And one day he got the inspired idea that we were going to go kick some field goals out on this little league field near our house. I thought it would be a breeze. It wasn’t. At least not for me. I had the distance but not the height to get the ball over the goal post. I tried and tried and tried and that ball just kept missing.
After awhile I started to get close. It would hit the corner of the pole or go just to the right, but I still wasn’t making it. My brother told me not to worry about it and that not everyone was a field goal kicker but I was determined to make one before I left that day.
Daylight turned to dusk and in even in low light I still kicked and kicked. I must have tried like forty times, which I know is pathetic but like I said, I was determined.
And somehow, someway, I set the ball exactly right, took some running steps, kicked the tip of the ball and watched it soar through the goal. It was equivalent to an easy extra point, but I had finally made one. After that it seemed I had figured the secret out as I made five and then ten more from a little further away. As it became dark all around, a light bulb went on in my head. I had learned the reward of perseverance and not giving up. I had taught myself how to keep on trying when it seems impossible or like it’s never going to happen.
I think the reason that little patch of painted grass spoke so to me this week is because a lot of people give up these days. Discouragement and disappointment color our world and we don’t think we can keep going. When you are looking through the lens of something like kicking field goals for fun, it doesn’t seem so hard but in our everyday lives not giving up becomes a little harder. Our tendency for resilience is not as high. We hang our heads. We kick the grass. We call it a day.
But I hope this little story of my own stubbornness encourages someone to keep kicking their ball. You may be one more attempt away from making it through the goal. You may be on 39 of 40. You may be right next to what is coming next. As my friend Julie says, “You just may be on the verge of awesome.”
I want to believe that. Don’t you? Don’t you want to face tomorrow and the next challenge and the next opportunity and the next dream and the next attempt to make a field goal with hope? I love those old lyrics from Because He Lives that say, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
How powerful is facing tomorrow with the Savior of the world on your side? Do yourself a favor and keep on trying. Hang in there because you can do it. You can go there again. You can pick yourself back up. You can face tomorrow!