In a slump

I have to admit, I’m going through a little bit of a tough time lately. Now don’t assume the worst. In the big picture of life, things are fine. No bad reports from the doctor or anything like that. It’s just one of those phases where it seems, (emphasis on “seems”), that nothing is going quite as well as it has, or should. What makes this noteworthy is that I’m finding this to be true in areas I can’t say I’ve ever had to deal with it before.

For me, there is a particular facet of my life where I have felt secure and comfortable, even when other things weren’t going well. I call this my “go to” area. It’s something I could fall back on in tough times to give me a feeling of confidence and fulfillment. It’s been something that has helped me feel relevant. Like I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. But for a period that has lasted longer than I like, this area of my life hasn’t been that familiar friend. It hasn’t been that oasis for me.

Over the weekend, I spent some time watching some major sporting events on TV. Having been an athlete and a coach, I remembered something that is important in sports, but also applies in times like these in my life. In sports, you can have bad days. A basketball player can have a bad day shooting. A baseball player can go into a hitting slump. But one thing I was taught, and I passed on to my players when I coached, is that there is more to the game than those elements. In basketball, there was never an excuse to have a bad day on defense. Hitting a baseball and shooting a basketball are skills that get a lot of attention. But even the best hitters strike out. Even the best shooters have off days. Defense isn’t as glamorous, but it’s just as important as scoring runs and points. You can’t let setbacks affect your game in other areas. Even in the face of disappointment, we must have discipline to not let it affect our performance in other areas.

So my personal life lesson that I’m trying to practice is not letting the disappointments and challenges I’m facing affect my joy. I can’t allow disappointments to affect my relationship with God. I can’t allow them to rob me of being affective in helping others. I can’t allow personal setbacks to make me blind to the truth that God has plans for me. I can’t forget His promises to me. I can’t let things keep me from being a good steward of the blessings He has placed in my life.

This doesn’t come naturally to me, but I understand it requires discipline and sacrifice. It’s not glamorous. It’s not the kind of thing that gets attention and atta boys from others. But that can’t be my motivation. There are just slumps in life. But just as there is no excuse to play bad defense in sports, there is no excuse to let setbacks put us in a slump in how we treat others, and in our relationship with God.

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