Our family has soccer imbedded in our DNA.
Over the weekend I had the privilege of watching two of the grands play in games that mattered. A lot.
Not in the big scheme of world issues. In the competitive realm of sports for kids.
Sydney competed for a state championship. Her team was new, first year they’ve played together. They have no designated goalkeeper–hard position to fill, especially for teenage girls. But they’d made it this far, and everyone (read parents and family members) expected them to go all the way.
The game was intense. Sydney, who typically has to play in goal for half a game, was able to score the first two goals for her team. Powerful and well-placed.
They were the only goals scored for her team.
The other team played cohesively. The players had the practiced look of those who know and trust their teammates to be where they pass the ball. Focused.
They beat Syd’s team 5-2.
A tough loss, not because the team didn’t try hard. Syd played some of the best soccer of her young career.
It wasn’t enough.
We then went to Teagan’s game, where his team, which was in first place, played a team that was gunning for them.
It takes moxie to play keeper. They’re the last line of defense, and the ball has had to go through a whole lot of players before it gets to them.
When the keeper misses, however, it feels like his fault.
Teagan played a stellar game. He made some incredible saves. But the 6-4 loss felt heaviest to him.
Both kids did their best. Both games had a lot on the line, and winning was the desired end result.
Both had explanations why things hadn’t worked out the way they’d hoped and planned.
Bottom line–what the teams did wasn’t enough.
When I don’t accomplish what I set out to do, I can be paralyzed by disappointment. I’ve a fairly elevated expectation of myself and tend to set the bar high, so failure can feel like an unwanted companion.
There are some things, though, that I absolutely know I can’t do.
I can’t run a marathon. Knee issues.
I can’t figure out technology on my own. Tech toad.
And I can’t get to heaven with my great works and grand gestures. I’ve not got the capacity to be perfect.
God knows that. It’s why He sent His Son to take our place and pay a price I can’t ever hope to pay. God being God requires perfection. Not even one mess up.
I’m not that good. I can’t go a day without a hurtful comment, critical thought or doing something foolish.
Having accepted His payment for my mess ups, I now live in grace–receiving something from Him that I don’t deserve but that I’ve been given out of love.
Heaven and hope.
It doesn’t give me a pass to do whatever I want. Being fully loved and forgiven gives me freedom to love God and want to choose what’s right.
That makes me a winner no matter what the game is.