When scouting a player there are certain things that you look for; one being how his “handles” are… You gotta know that he can take care of the basketball. That involves the motor skills that are developed through repetition of drills and lead to the phrase “he’s got the ball on a string.” But it involves a lot more than that!
I have seen a lot of players that are good practice/drill players that are not dependable in the game. The motor skills are present but the vision and perspective of game flow is absent. When the pressure comes these are players that, in spite of their skill sets, end up in bad positions on the court, unable to effectively make plays.
But when there is great vision and perspective it is a beautiful thing to watch… I will always remember taking some players to watch a game a few years ago where one of the teams had an obvious advantage in size and athleticism. The players that were with me were going on and on at how badly the bigger/faster team was going to beat the smaller/slower team. The topic most in discussion was at the point guard position. I had told the guys with me to pay attention to point guard on the team they thought would lose. Each of the guys with me talked of how they could shut down that point guard with no problem and how he was going to get destroyed that night. As the game unfolded they watched a beautiful masterpiece of a guy with great handles! The point guard not only had great motor skills but had an uncanny vision and perspective of the game. The bigger/faster guards from the other team simply could not apply pressure because the point guard could see the big picture; could foresee what they were trying to do; and knew where he needed to go to avoid the traps- great handles! He orchestrated a beautiful win for his team; much to the surprise of the guys I took along for the show… (Love watching you play Tyler Lewis!)
All of that to get to this week’s point of looking back over 2013 and forward to 2014. How has the year been? What are you looking forward to? You see I believe, and heard a confirming message yesterday at church, that your “handles” are greatly determined by your perspective of the game. Let me explain (along with my own confessions…)
I often teach this principle when talking about the Apostle Paul. He is a guy that simply had developed great “handles” in life. He faced major obstacles and trials yet spoke and wrote of joy and rejoicing. Simply put he faced things that should have created incredible pressure and would have caused most men to crumble; yet he was able to not only handle the pressure but to find victory! I love the book of Philippians where Paul shows us that we can have victory even when circumstances seem to the contrary. He writes from prison and reminds us of a great truth: God and life are not synonyms! Life is full of both the good and the bad (a roller coaster) but God is constant and sufficient to meet our needs! In fact Paul is so clear about it that he states he knows what it is like to be poor or rich, hungry or full, to abound or suffer… and yet still he is content. His vision is focused on Christ! His perspective of the “game” is that God will strengthen him and he can stay calm and content. He sees beyond the circumstances to the assurances that God wins! I love teaching from Philippians! I love to teach the promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! I encourage you to read Philippians as your theme text for 2014…
Now on to the confessions… it is easy to stand behind a pulpit or sit in front of my computer and teach these things. It is like the player that is great at drills and skills but finds being in the game is a whole different thing! As I look back over 2013 I have seen times of incredible excitement and incredible discouragement. We have made a huge move for our family; our kids have faced many ups and downs; our finances have been very uncertain; etc… And to be honest I have often allowed circumstances to dictate my attitude instead of allowing my perspective (the things I know and teach) to carry me through my circumstances. My “handles” have not been very good this year.
How about your 2013? What about your 2014? For me I plan to start each day with a different attitude/perspective. I choose to pursue a life of rejoicing instead of complaining. I choose to practice what I preach. I choose to be thankful instead of frustrated. I choose to focus on the constant, consistent God over an ever-changing, inconsistent life.
John Wooden said it this way, “Make each day your masterpiece!”
The Psalmist says it this way,
“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps 118:24)
Thank you to Pastor David from South Palm Community Church for the reminder to have an attitude-adjustment each morning… now how about you?
2014 New Year’s Resolution: Start each day with Psalm 118:24! It will give you (and me) great “handles” in the “game” of life!