By: Staci Stallings
In the previous two posts, we talked about a basketball team that listened to the coach tell them how to play for an hour a week but never practiced. In Part 2, we then considered a team that actually practiced what the coach taught them.
Now we are moving from theory (the coach’s game plan) through practice and into action.
Why do we practice? Do we practice for the sake of practice? Or do we practice so we can actually play the game?
Why does a kid who is only going to be a bench-warmer practice? Because maybe, if he practices enough and gets good enough, at some point, he will get to be in the game. In fact, my dad who was a baseball coach for about 10 years once shared a study with me that they had determined it took 500 practice swings with a new habit to break an old habit. But it took a full 1,500 practice swings for it to “just be you.”
1,500 practice opportunities at forgiveness, at kindness, at having hope when all looks lost, at being at peace in the midst of the storm. 1,500!
So, how do you tell the difference between practice and the game? Practice is always about you. The game is when God starts sending people to you so you can help them.
Now, here’s where our basketball analogy breaks down a little bit.
In basketball, the coach can have the most brilliant game plan ever. In fact, the coach could be an awesome player himself, but in basketball, the coach can’t play the game for you. He can give you the plays, help you practice, correct your skills, but when the game starts, he doesn’t get to go in for you.
In life, with God, everything that has gone before the game has been focused on one goal… to teach you to let Him play for you and through you!
God doesn’t give you a great game plan and help you practice so you can do it. His game plan consists of one thing: Let Me do it for you and through you.
Every practice opportunity you get is focused on one lesson: Let go and trust Me to do it through you. Breathe. Rest. Rejoice in My strength. Say what I give you to say. Take the step I’m asking you to take. TRUST ME!
I just talked to a friend of mine who recently started playing the game. For a very long time now, she’s been practicing. And practicing hasn’t been all that easy. Like all of us, she had some very bad programming about doing things for God and needing to be perfect and feeling unlovable. And like all of us, she has to practice every day. But recently, something shifted because God started sending her “divine assignments” in droves.
These are people who REALLY need God to show up in their lives. At first, she was blown away. Why would these people be coming to her?! She didn’t have all the answers! So I told her that God doesn’t expect her to do it. He just knows that she will breathe and let Him do it through her. She’s in the game.
I have several people that I’ve worked very closely with who have or are now making that jump, experiencing that moment when the Coach looks down the bench and says, “It’s time for you to get in the game!”
So, whether you’re in the practicing stage or the in the game stage, remember: sitting and listening to the Game Plan is not enough. It’s time to take theory and start putting it into action by practicing it, and then, when God knows you are ready to let Him do it, you will enter the game. The cool thing is that Satan cannot defeat you as long as you are relying on God. So the victory is already yours!
How cool it that?
“There are real lessons within these pages that make you aspire to become a better human being.”
“A Work in Progress”
~ The Faith Series ~