October reflections

(First published October 31, 2011)

“Don’t let USC beat you twice.”

That’s what Brian Kelley, football coach at Notre Dame, told the team last week. It’s what coaches often tell their teams.

On October 22, 2011 ND lost to USC. On October 29, they were playing Navy. The challenge for the team during their preparation process was to quit thinking about what the loss meant. They could learn what worked or not. They could learn how to run routes better. They could watch films to see what mistakes there were, what good moves there were.

However, any time spent thinking that the USC loss meant that the season was ruined, that the team was doomed to fail, would let the memory of the USC game lead to a loss against Navy.

It’s the end of October. Our plans for 2013, many of them, have gone awry. We aren’t where we thought we would be.

Don’t let June beat you twice.

Paul was writing to some friends in a Roman colony called Philippi. He’d spent some time there, been beaten there, been in prison there, left there. Some years later, he writes to them … from prison.

Sounds like Paul had issues with authority. But his life-goal wasn’t to stay out of prison. It was to know Jesus. As well as he possibly could. To understand giving up your life for God and for others. To understand what it was like to completely trust. To understand what it would be like to be completely attuned to God.

Paul tell his friends that he doesn’t have that figured out. But, he says, he keeps pressing on. He forgets the losses. He forgets the hardships. He keeps focused on the relationship. It’s the one thing he does.

Paul doesn’t want his last loss to beat him again.

I’m cheering for you.