No Losses, Just Lessons

No Losses, Just Lessons          

 

“I wish I had shot more.” It wasn’t until I had been removed from high school basketball for an entire year that I finally came to this realization. To this day, it is one of my biggest regrets.

In high school, I didn’t get much playing time. When I did get in the game, I had one goal...don’t mess up. Don’t turn the ball over. Don’t miss any shots. Don’t give the coach a reason to take me out. And that’s what I did! I was the best at limiting mistakes. The irony is, the “don’t mess up” mindset I thought kept me in the game ultimately brought me back to the bench. Because I was never as valuable as those who confidently tried to put the ball in the basket, I never got to stay in the game.

Much of our life revolves around limiting mistakes. Rather than trying something challenging and coming up short, we play it safe and assume our position as a “role player” for the Kingdom. We are afraid to risk a loss on any of our efforts because we don’t trust that our God can make all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) including our failures. Our biggest problem is we don’t see our losses as a blessing that equips us for bigger and better things.

For us to be a people who see our someday aspirations become a reality, we must be willing to take a few losses on the way. Besides, the goal isn’t to be perfect. Jesus is already that for us. The goal is to be faithful, and sometimes faithfulness means “taking an L” on the way towards something bigger as we allow God to shape us for His future plans.            

3 Ways To Turn Losses To Lessons

1. Be Coachable

I never developed to my fullest potential as an athlete because I wasn’t willing to risk a miss. Yet, it is from our misses that we learn the most. Efficiency comes second to initiative because efficiency improves on the other side of action. A coach can best work with a player who is willing both to take the shot and be corrected. Missed shots and risky passes are a part of developing into a player that dominates the game.

Jesus is the same! If we are eager to shoot and happen to miss, He will instruct and develop us for next time. We will come out even more qualified in the long term because we erred on the side of action. Jesus helps us learn as we go! Even misses become a blessing that assures future growth. Maybe you are underqualified. Perhaps you aren't prepared yet. But understand that you’ll never do more until you refuse to play scared. So, get to shooting.

2. Trust That God Isn’t Looking To Replace You.

On God’s team, you are the starter. He isn’t looking for someone else to come in and replace you. He isn’t going to bench you for your first mistake. God’s reckless love for you should give you the confidence to be a little reckless yourself. His trust in you should give you a swagger that is greater than the fear of missing.

We must ask ourselves, “If I don’t, who will?” Too often we assume God wants to use someone else to be the one who creates a new ministry, plants a church, loves an orphan or starts a movement. That simply is not true! Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  God has unique plans for us to walk in. Stop assuming He will replace you if your efforts don’t result in immediate glory for His name. Jesus would rather develop you through the struggle than have you delegate away your personal opportunities.

3. Understand The Difference Between Falling and Failing

It is from our previous failures that we develop the courage to miss again. Eventually, we realize our misses don’t have the dire consequences we feared.

“…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes." (Proverbs 24:16)

The good news of Jesus verifies the truth that falling and failing are not the same thing. While there is only one letter of difference in those two words, the one you identify with will change your life forever.

Has an unforeseen challenge knocked you down? Get up! The world sees your problem as a setback. God sees it as a setup. You demonstrate the depth of your faith not when you are on your feet, but when you are knocked on your butt.

So yes, there will be times when you must alter your plans, but the overall dream of finishing the work God has given you will remain.  Maybe you need to make a few adjustments, maybe you’ve had a few setbacks. Wherever you are, continue to ask yourself, “What’s my next step?” Then, get up and take it! God delights in the one who falls, yet trusts Him enough to get back up and try again. Do you really trust that if you get up, Jesus will hold you steady?

When others try to tell us we are too inexperienced, too young or too underqualified to take the shot, God tells us something different. He reminds us that He uniquely has chosen us. He asks us, “If you don’t, who will?”

You know you are getting better with every shot you take, so look to shoot as often as you can, even if it results in a temporary loss. Trust that through Christ, you will either win, or you will learn.

Want to read more about how Jesus is enough to qualify us for greater things? Be sure to buy a copy of Enough: Someday Starts Today by Buddy Gosey on March 2nd.