I am one of the many who watches a LOT of basketball this time of year. I enjoy seeing teams play well together, the cinderella stories, and buzzer beaters.
If you watch team sports, especially basketball or football, you probably have seen a player tap the top of his head or look over to the sideline and raise his hand. He is signaling to his coach that he wants out of the game.
In today’s up-tempo style of playing, this is common. It’s definitely a different approach to the game from a generation or two ago when players stayed in the game for longer stints. In football, some even played both defense and offense.
It isn’t that the players are giving up or don’t want to play anymore. They just need a breather or a short rest. But some do “tap out” because they feel defeated or want out of the game.
An athlete though has put in hours of preparation to play in the game. If they were to give up, it would mean that they were not fulfilling their purpose.
But what about life? Do we ever want to tap out? I don’t mean for good. I mean, do we tap out of what God’s purpose or mission is for our life because we are tired, discouraged, or feel defeated?
Can I let you in on something?
I have looked over to the bench a few times over the past 18 months or so.
My ankle surgery, our move, Danielle’s surgery and slow recovery, writing and publishing a book, our son beginning Kindergarten and his struggle with school and our decision to remove him for the remainder of the year, and so on and so on, all have contributed to how I feel.
And those are just the big rocks.
I have felt tired, discouraged at times, and even thought about giving up on some things that I know God has called me to.
Anyone who is “in the game” knows what I am talking about. The temptation is to tap our head asking “coach” to take us out of the game or at least give us a break.
The reality is that none of us are made to go at it full-steam forever. We are made to have rest. God calls it “Sabbath Rest”. As for many things about God, how to stay in the game is counter-intuitive. We need to have breathers, rest, and do things that rejuvenate us so that we can stay in the game for the long haul.
Here are 3 ways you can do just that along with some resources to help develop these strategies.
- Prioritize sabbath rest. Even God took time to rest. Why is it so hard for us to implement this spiritual practice of renewal. I argue that we really don’t know how to do it. I recommend two books that will help to understand and practice sabbath rest.
- Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation – I read this book when I was on staff back in 2008. Our interim pastor, Rick Spencer had the entire staff read it. I think he recognized a need we all had.
- Sacred Space: The Art of Sacred Silence, Sacred Speech, and The Sacred Ear in the Echo of the Still Small Voice of God – This book is written by my good friend John Duncan. This book is a part of his “Sacred” series. You will enjoy John’s deep understanding of the original language and history as he teaches you the art of sacred space for God.
- Maintain a support team around you. Not only do we need people who support us, they need to be the right kind of people. This includes like-minded people. These are people who “get you”. They understand why you do what you do. The other kind is intercessors. These are people who stand before the throne of God and ask Him to act on your behalf. Powerful.
- Take care of yourself. Those in the foster/adoptive world hear this a lot. You need to make time to take care of yourself. Here is a link to a podcast interview I did several months ago with Robyn Gobbel on this subject. Check it out.
I hope you will, as I am doing, do what we need to do in order to stay in the game for the long haul. The good thing is that He who calls us to our mission is the One who knows us best.
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