WHEN YOUR BEST ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH

Have you ever been in a situation when you tried so hard to succeed at something but in the end, your best just wasn’t good enough for you to reach that ultimate goal?

My son had that experience this week and as a mom I think that was probably harder on me. We always want the best for our kids, and especially when we see them work so hard for something, it is heart-breaking if they don’t quite achieve that.

This son especially has a great love for the sport of baseball. Years ago he played soccer which was cut short his last year by a broken arm. (From jumping off a swing at a classmate’s birthday party!) At that time in his life, he was also plagued by asthma so it was harder on him running back and forth down the field. Through the years, he has also been involved with the sport of basketball. It used to be when he was in basketball, we would find him saying that was his favorite sport and during baseball, baseball was definitely his favorite sport.

That mentality seemed to change this past year. Baseball became HIS sport! In fact, he didn’t want to play basketball anymore so he could just do baseball all the time. The problem is it seems rare to be able to do baseball year round (due to our snowy winters), so he did continue to play basketball to keep more active.

This past fall, my son played fall baseball at an indoor complex so they didn’t have to worry about the weather interfering with play time. This is when it seemed like the spark in him became even stronger to pursue baseball and when he started saying baseball was his life!

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Thankfully, a friend of his suggested to a coach of a travel baseball team that he should check him out. Well, the rest is history. My son has been practicing and playing indoor games ever since and can’t wait for the outside travel tournaments to begin. He loved the day he had practice, helped with another team, and had a double header! His passion is definitely with baseball.

This past week they had school, modified baseball tryouts. He so wanted to make the team this year. He tried out and didn’t make the team last year as they only took three players from his grade level. This year they took more players and sadly he was not one they picked.  We’ve heard our school sports are pretty political in nature and as in most things, it seems to depend on who you know. That is definitely a disadvantage for us as he came into the school district as a 6th grader, and because of where we live, we usually go to another town for the recreational sports so he is not really on their “radar.”

A bit after we came home from finding out the results from the baseball try-outs, my son comes out with two white boards that he wrote on. One was listing some goals and one was a workout routine for everyday to help get him more physically fit and stronger. That made my heart so proud, and made me rethink the heart-break I was feeling.
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He had risen above the disappointment to make some positive changes in his life. He is more determined than ever to be the best player he can be for the Broome Bandits, his travel baseball team, and to hopefully make the school baseball team next year. Getting in shape physically can only help those goals, make him stronger, and hopefully also help with the mental, positive aspect involved with sports too.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.  –Romans 5:3-5 
I think so often in our society, there is so much pressure to be #1 …whether it be to climb the corporate ladder and be the top dog, or to be the #1 athlete in the state for a particular sport. It is definitely great to be one of those elite ones, but in most cases, there can only be one of those, so most people don’t achieve that status.
What is even more important I think is that along the way, we put forth our best effort in all we do. We all can’t be #1, but we can all put forth our best effort. It reminds me of a blog, entitled Perfect Effort, I read about the movie When the Game Stands Tall, one I definitely recommend viewing.
A major theme of the movie is that you can’t always have a perfect “game,” but what is most important is to put forth the perfect “effort.”
As I reflect, I am so proud of my son for putting forth his best effort in the sport of baseball.  Through the years, all of his coaches have said that he is such a likable, teachable kid who wants to improve. He will listen to the coach and try to incorporate whatever suggestion they have.  He is determined to be better through his list of goals. Thankfully, his travel coach has been so understanding and supportive of what my son is experiencing, so he has let him come down to the complex and practice with his son every day that he wants. My son always wants to get there early, and ends up closing up the place most of the time.  I’d say all those things contribute to him putting forth his perfect effort.
Maybe you will be able to relate to some instances in your life when your best wasn’t quite good enough, but hopefully you were able to make the best of the situation and turn it around for the positive. And, I think more importantly, hopefully realizing you put forth your best effort will bring you comfort!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  –Colossians 3:23-24

THE VISION

One day as I was feeling all alone in this world, I had a vision–a different type of vision that made me ponder the true meaning of this life.

In the vision, I saw myself sitting outside, in the middle of a huge park.  It was a beautiful, crystal clear day, and a soft, gentle breeze was blowing.  People were scurrying all about, but nobody seemed to notice me, as I sat all alone, lost in the vision.

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Photo courtesy of H.L.I.T. under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0)

I couldn’t believe my eyes, as suddenly, one by one, “things” began to disappear.  First the trees, then the birds and the mountains.  Houses once seen in the distance were erased from existence.  Cars and buses were next–no longer to be found.  Last but not least, the people, one by one, disappeared–no more family, friends or even strangers around.  All the places where I had once seen God’s beauty in this world, suddenly vanished.

I looked around once more and there was only me surrounded by all this emptiness.  But, within my heart and soul, I had only an unexplainable peace.  I knew in my heart of hearts, that although all the “things” of this world were taken away, I still had “something.”

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Photo credit by Waiting for the Word under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0) Hopetoinspireyou.wordpress.com added verse

You see, I was not alone–I had JESUS living in my heart–a treasure far greater than any earthly “thing.”  It was then that I realized the true meaning of life.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:7

THE ROAD TRIP OF LIFE

Do you, like me, sometimes enjoy taking a road trip by yourself?
Cruising along on the open road, especially if there is good weather, and not much traffic, seems soothing to my soul. It gives me a peaceful feeling and I feel God’s presence while I’m cruising along the road. Of course, I can’t help but play Third Day music, which blesses me, the whole way to top it off!
I was truly blessed this past weekend to do just that as I had a chance to go to a Third Day concert because of an unexpected available ticket. It was a win-win situation for sure! It was so last minute that I didn’t know until about 6 pm Friday night that I was going at 9 am Saturday morning! It really was a wonderful road trip and a blessed time of worship to experience. Everything worked out just perfect.
On the six hour drive to Ohio, it gave me lots of time to pray for so many people that need prayer while playing my music. On the way back, it was more of a time for me to just play the music and reflect on the messages of the songs, even though I do that all the time. It was just more of a quiet time with God.
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Photo credit by AboutMyTrip dotCom under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0)
Have you ever thought about how your life is like taking a road trip?
The destination is heaven to spend eternity with God & Jesus. Ultimately, that is truly the best destination and will be even better than anything we have experienced here on this earth.
It would be pretty much impossible to make a long trip without researching the way (back in the day) or making our lives easier nowadays, getting the infamous GPS out. Before I start out on a road trip, I always pull out the GPS and program it to the destination.  On our road trip of life, we’ve got Jesus and the Bible as our navigator as well as Christian friends. Jesus, the Bible, and our friends are there to help point us back in the right direction if we get off the beaten path or if we need a little bit more encouragement to make it through a trial we’re facing.
Just like there are many roads to travel on a road trip, along with many different kinds of roads, our lives can take us down many different roads….some are smooth sailing, some are bumpy and rough. Maybe we take a road less traveled in our life that is not a good one. We might even lose our way for a little and take some unexpected detours. Hopefully it won’t be long before we get back on the right road and continue on the straight and narrow road. Yet, through it all, our God is faithful and is always with us. He is there to help us find our way and love us no matter what.
On my road trip this weekend, I saw such beauty in all of God’s creation. The sun was out, in fact, on the way home I had the sun roof slightly ajar to get some fresh air to help me stay energized after a short night’s sleep! So many beautiful hills for my eyes to behold. I think the coolest sight was going over this huge lake and seeing some cross country skiers plowing through the snow.
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Photo credit by Steven Straiton under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0)
On this road trip of life, do you take time to notice the beauty of your surroundings? There is so much beauty in looking at creation….the mountains, hills, valleys, even the vast flat land all have their own beauty. You might see some snow to grace the hills, the sun to brighten your path, the clouds that might bring some storms, the glorious sunrises where you see God’s beauty shining forth, or the full moon to light up the night sky…All of these things show God’s omnipresence and power to make such a beautiful world for us to experience while on this earth.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.
–Luke 24:13-15

GIFTEDNESS

We must all search to find the special gifts that God has given us to share with one another.  Sometimes we may not feel we have any gifts, but Paul says in Romans 12:4-8,

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

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Photo credit by jublieelewis under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

We need to take time every now and then to evaluate the gifts we’re sharing, as well as where and how we are using them.  It is possible that our gifts may be used in different ways depending on the circumstances of our life.  God may be calling us to use our gifts in a different setting at various times in our life.

God may also call us to expand our horizons and develop other gifts that are needed at certain times in our life.  He wants us to continually grow in our spiritual walk.  Our giftedness will be a blessing for us, while also blessing the people around us.

Sometimes our gifts may be visible to others, and at other times nobody may see them.  What is vital is that we let God use our gifts at each stage of our life for His manifestation, and not to worry if others notice our gifts.  Then we can rejoice knowing we are serving Him and doing His will!

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Photo credit by jublieelewis under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  –1 Peter 4:10