The day after the Super Bowl, all the sports writers and radio hosts were busy trying to put perspective on the game. Every year, it seems, we hear about how this was one of the 10 best of all time, or this quarterback sealed his Hall of Fame bid, or that quarterback choked. There was an awesome awesome article (actually, it was terrible, and ridiculously hyperbolic) on Monday blaming the entirety of the loss on Tom Brady – that he was fully to blame, and that the prince has turned into a joke.
(Yes, that is really Tom Brady to the right.)
This line of thinking always frustrates me. When someone loses, blame has to be given. Even if a team just plain played better, someone on the losing side didn’t do enough to win and they should take the fall. But if that were the case and that person had done a little more and his team had won, then someone on the original winning team wouldn’t have done enough because they would have lost even though he did do enough for them to win. Now I’m confused. Are you picking up what I’m laying down?
It seems every youth night we run is immediately run through the comparison chart (only held in the brain of Joe) of all of the hundreds of youth nights I’ve done in my life – was this one good or bad? What coud I have done better? It was ok, but not the best – it’s always compared.
Now, I don’t play professional football. Or professional baseball. Or hockey. Or even soccer – is that a sport? Either way, I play professional hang out with kids and teach them about Jesus. And no matter how bad a youth night is – no matter how big my failure, no matter how awful I think it all goes – there is always a positive to take. Sure, there aren’t millions of people watching and there isn’t millions of dollars on the line, but for most of us, in our work, in our families, in our hobbies – even when we screw something up, we can most likely find something good.
Maybe I had a 2 minute conversation with a teen who’s been tough to talk to. Maybe a teen had a good experience at the prayer portion of the night. Maybe my kids enjoyed hanging with mom and dad even though our family plans were scrapped because there was no snow. And heck, a bad running day always always always beats a day without running for me.
My point – I need to stop being so flipping hard on myself about this, and realize that I need to be open to Christ working in me and through me – and then I’ve got nothing left to worry about. Ok, I’ll still worry about things. But being a control freak is hard, tiring work. And I need to let go of that game – because it doesn’t do me, my family, the ministry, or anyone else any good.
I’m going to stop the comparison game. (Ok, I’m going to do my best to do that – and probably fail, but I’ll keep trying.) I’m going to try to stop the evaluating, critical mind that is always whirring away in my noggin. I’m going to do more of the Ignatian examen – and look for Christ at work in these difficulties, in the failures along with the successes.