Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Stay the Course

March is upon us, which means the madness is beginning. For my non-basketball fan readers, I'm referring to March Madness. This is always a fun time of the year for me! My husband, girls and I are looking forward to cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones and our boys even get in on the fun of a family bracket contest. There's bound to be upsets and last second shots. We'll even see some heart- breaking losses and maybe even questionable game deciding calls. All in all it's an exciting time for sports fans, but today I found myself thinking and realize it can be a lesson learning experience for every believer as well.

Chances are you my reading friend are not directly involved with March Madness, but does your life ever get a bit mad? I mean does your schedule get crazy? Are there moments of difficulty? Are there challenges you didn't expect? Times when the task is overwhelming? Are you waiting for something to happen? Or just ready for something to end? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you can relate to March Madness.

If you can relate, I believe you can benefit from some wise words from our Cyclone coach - "Stay the Course!" These are words I've heard him say more than once after a close win or loss. He keeps the game in perspective and has the ability to look at the big picture. It's good when we do the same as believers. It's easy to get caught up in or frustrated with a bad day or a change in plans. Instead, like Coach Prohm suggests we must remember to look at the season, or better yet our life as a whole. One loss isn't going to ruin the Cyclones season and a day isn't going to ruin our life. CP encourages the guys not to get too high after a win or too low after a loss. He often talks about humility and even mentions submission. As we stay course as believers, we too will benefit by walking in humility, submitting to authority and embracing the joys and trials as part of life.

With this phrase CP is also reminding his guys to persevere...difficult games happen and when they do the guys must press on though they may be tempted to quit. Oh friend, you and I must do the same as we walk in faith. The ball won't always bounce our way and sometimes the shots won't fall. As we attempt to live out our calling and do the good works God's prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), there will be challenges and setbacks, but that should never be a reason to quit or an excuse to stop. Like Paul, we must make the words of Philippians 3:13-14 our own - "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

"Staying the Course" includes learning from mistakes. When the Cyclones lose a game or play bad in a win, they evaluate the game tape and attempt to recognize and correct their mistakes. Friend, we must do the same as believers. As we pursue our calling and live as who God created us to be, we must acknowledge our sin, confess it and turn from it. Just like bad habits or poor fundamentals will keep a team from achieving its potential, our sin will hinder us from glorifying our great God. So let's follow the advice found in Hebrews 12:1-2 - "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Finally, a big part of "Staying the Course" is focus. Coach Prohm often uses this key word in interviews as well. As a former coach and athlete and current sports mom, I know this is a huge part of athletics, but as one who's been trying to follow Christ for nearly 20 years I know it's an even more important part of a life of faith. In Luke 9:62 Jesus said, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."  Whether in a game during March Madness or a moment out of our daily life, there will be temptations. Temptations to quit, retaliate, be anxious or depressed, but we need to decide in advance to handle these situations rightly. Then we must be prepared to press on and keep looking and moving forward.

Friend, I don't know the specific course God has you on, but I do know He is a good Father with a perfect plan that has an eternal purpose. I hope our Cyclones will stay the course and win a championship though many say it's impossible, but I truly pray you and I will stay the course and bring God glory may we always remember - with Him nothing is impossible!!

1 comment:

  1. Press on ... persevere ... stay the course ... keep on keepin' on. Words I have come to understand more than ever before. Keeping my eyes on Jesus, looking up. Learning to not get what I want now, but trusting God that He will bring what is best for me in His timing. Hard, hard lesson but one that has drawn me so much closer to my Father's heart. Thank you for sharing.

    FYI Cannot wait for the tourney to begin!!!