Friday, April 25, 2014

I Really Messed Up This Time

My youngest daughter, who is currently in the 8th grade, recently tried out for the Junior Varsity Cheerleading Team for the new high school, she will be attending in the next school year.  What an exciting time.  I mean, how cool would that be, to already have “status” as a newcomer?

The week of tryouts finally came.  The first three days, the prospective cheerleaders attended special practices to learn the required pieces they were expected to present on the actual try out day.  In order to greater her chances of being selected, even after practice, my daughter came home and practiced even more.  Countless hours of high jumps, toe touches, energetic loud voices, splits, herkies, dance routines and more.

Finally, the big day arrives and the pressure is on.  The time has come for everyone to be judged on their techniques and ability to remember what was taught.  I sat in the car with great anticipation, as I waited for my daughter to come through the large double doors.   Wait.  Something’s wrong.  What’s wrong with my baby?  Random thoughts of failure filled my head within a matter of seconds, and my heart dropped, as I watched my daughter walk toward the car with a disgusted, sad look on her face. 

Trying not to seem too anxious, I asked, “How did it go?”

“Not too good,” she sadly responded.  She explained that she had made a few mistakes in areas that she was sure she had down packed.  She expressed how she wanted to just give up after making the mistakes, but decided to keep going.  She completed the tryout, but still felt defeated.  She was disappointed in herself, and at this point, had no hopes or expectations of making the squad.  She continued to share her experience and the pressure she felt from trying to meet everyone’s high expectations of her.  Compassion filled my heart as I attentively listened to the cries of defeat in her voice and the words she was speaking.  I told her to not be so hard on herself.  I told her how great she was, and that she needed to have a little more confidence in herself and her abilities.  I’m sure she heard me, but none of what I said really mattered at that moment.

The rest of the ride home was quiet.  When we arrived, my baby girl went straight to her room, shut the door, climbed in bed, covered her head and went to sleep.  As much as I wanted to do something or say something, I allowed her the space she needed.  I knew all too well what she was going through and have had a many of “cover my head up and hide from the world” moments, where there was no one to bother me but the constant thoughts of failure and disappointments of the current situation to taunt me.  I grieved for her, but God spoke a word of consolation to my spirit, and I knew everything was going to be ok.

The day came to check the postings of the new cheerleaders for the upcoming school year.  The list looked long, but there it was, shining bright like a diamond, my baby’s name.  Cheers and praise filled the room as we celebrated my daughter’s victory.   And there it is- the encouragement for today- just because you made a mistake, doesn’t mean it’s over.

Often times, we beat ourselves up over mistakes, bad choices or when we find out that we are not as perfect as we thought we were.  Sometimes we miss the mark, but God still wants us.  His love is not like man, that He will throw us away for making a mistake.  His love is forgiving and just.  His love is full of redemption.  God love us so much, that no matter what it is, no matter how low down and dirty, how deceitful, how ratchet it may be- if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.- 1 John 1:9. 

No matter how bad my daughter felt she had did, she didn’t give up.  What would have happened if she did?  Right- she wouldn’t have made the team.  Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!- 1 Corinthians 9:24 NLT

You will never get to do the victory dance if you give up.  Marriages can’t be saved, if you give up.  Healings can’t manifest in your life, if you give up.  Graduations can’t occur, if you give up.  Books can’t be published, if you give up.  Jobs can’t be found, if you give up. Things can’t change for you or in your life, if you give up.  Are you getting the picture?  Don’t give up!  As long as you don’t give up on God…or even if you give up on God…He will never give up on you!  The key thing to life is not giving up.  And the more we draw closer to God and learn of His word, our lives will change for the better.  Don’t allow a mistake, current or past, keep you from moving forward in life and in God.  Your mistakes don’t mean it’s over.  You’ve beat yourself up long enough.  You’ve sobbed long enough.  Come on out from under the covers- out of hiding.  There’s much work for us to do- naturally and spiritually.   No matter what-don’t give up.  Let's with purpose!  Let's run to win!

Stay Hopeful,