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Reaching goals

Like everyone else in town, I was cheering for the Clarke Lady Indians in their quest for the state softball championship. Coach Lindsay Diehl and her staff worked diligently to train the team in the skills required for such an endeavor.

Sunday night before the team left, there was a pep rally on the square and the community rallied around the Lady Indians with cheers and words of encouragement. The girls exuded confidence, and at the end of the evening, everyone was walking on cloud nine.

Game one: Clarke wins! Game two: Clarke wins! Championship game: Bondurant-Farrar comes out on top.

So now what? The team and their coaches did their best, but they didn’t win the championship. State runner-up in class 3A is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but what do you do when you don’t quite achieve the goal you set out to achieve?

Interestingly, God speaks to us about this in the Bible. Disappointment is nothing new. The Lady Indians didn’t “fail,” but I know they were disappointed when the final out was called and the score wasn’t in their favor. Hey, who wouldn’t be disappointed? But disappointment is something all of us face from time to time, and it’s important for us to understand a few things about it.

First, disappointment comes to everyone. We wish it didn’t come our way, but it does. You’re not unique, you’re not singled out and you’re not the only one. We all deal with it.

Second, disappointment brings enormous opportunities for us to learn. We have to make a decision: Is this going to define me, or am I going to learn from this and come out of it stronger? My take on the Lady Indians is that they’ll come out of it stronger. If I know Coach Diehl, she’s going to capitalize on this and work hard at training and preparing the girls for the next season. Oh sure, everyone could just become depressed and give up, or, they can step back, catch their breath and move forward again.

There was a guy in the New Testament who started out killing Christians. But, then, he met God and the difference was like night and day. His name was Paul. Eventually, he began teaching others and starting churches and leaving his mark on Christianity. He had a rough start, but as he and God connected, things began happening. He wrote several letters to churches in the first century, and many of those letters comprise much of the New Testament. In a letter to one of those churches he said this:

I know that I have not yet reached the goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize.(Philippians 3:13-14, NCV)

So, to the Lady Indians, I simply want to say this: Instead of focusing on what you didn’t accomplish this year, focus on the goal you have for next year. If you’re a graduating senior, you’re still in the game. And while you may not see a state championship as a player on the Clarke team, you’ll always be a Clarke Indian, and the next team is building on the foundation you laid.

Thank you, ladies, for a great season! God’s best to each one of you. And hey, I’m looking forward to watching you strain toward what’s ahead and trying to reach the goal and get the prize.

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