Proverbs 16:22a Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it,
Mistakes – Errors – Goof-ups – Bad judgments – Blunders. They sure are all part of life. In sports they would be called fumbles, strikeouts, errors, interceptions, turnovers, holding, off-side, interference, wild pitches, yellow cards, red cards, etc… A very important principle applies to both categories (life and sports): when these things happen, the ‘game’ goes on – it doesn’t stop.
Continuing the sports comparison, our error or wild pitch or yellow card might cost us the game but losses are part of sports as well. In major league sports I recall only once has a team gone undefeated throughout the entire season and won the championship (1972 Miami Dolphins). Think about that: losing is normal – it’s a fact of life.
Losing is easier to take when we do our best and our efforts are error free. Our opponent simply was better. It’s harder when we believe we are the better team or the better player and we lose because of our mistakes. The issue is learning do better – to improve – to make fewer mistakes – to learn from our mistakes. Remember the adage “practice makes perfect”? It has a much greater chance of being true if we recognize where we need to improve and practice doing it correctly.
A good memory I have is going to see our then 9 year old granddaughter Gabi’s soccer game. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. A few weeks earlier the opponent had beaten Gabi’s team 5-1. On this day, Gabi’s team outplayed them except for the final score. It was exciting to see how her team had improved. [Side point – I’m sitting here laughing because I just remembered the time when our oldest sons were little and playing soccer. During one of their games we happened to look at our goal and there was no goal keeper! Then we saw him behind the net picking dandelions!!!]
The Lord has given us His Spirit, Scripture, grace, mercy, forgiveness and a new life freed from the power of sin. They all are active ingredients in His provision for us to improve – become more Christ-like and live more error free lives. He enables us to put our confidence in Him and participate wholeheartedly in life; to not get side-tracked by our failings.
Thankfully Jesus enables us to see our shortcomings and to learn from them. We cannot stand around and mope about our mistakes, or when we fall short. He enables us to get over it and stay focused on Him and stay involved. Because of Him we are able to win even in life’s losses.