Tennis. I played tennis all four years of high school. Somehow I went from never having picked up a racket until my freshman year to being the team’s number one player by my senior year. (Which is surprising…especially considering my mom sent me to my first tennis practice with a wooden/metal racket from the sixties. Yep, and the worst part is that I didn’t even know the difference until I arrived at practice and faced humiliation no freshman wants to endure) But, with hard work and practice, I became our high school’s top player, meaning I played the number one seat from every school in our district all season.
I have always taken sports seriously, but these girls were like, TOO SERIOUS about their game. They would be killingggg me out there. Then by some miracle I’d win a point. (Ahhh, one glorious point) …You’d think their world was ending. I vividly remember a girl almost getting kicked out of the match because of her tantrum after double faulting. Honestly, my game play was NOT on their level, not even close haha. Playing people who were better than me helped me grow. It made me a better player one hundred percent. Buuuuuuut, who wants to lose all season? Not this girl! That was kind of a punch to my competitive spirit.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you’re in a continual losing situation in some area of your life? You keep coming into the situation hopeful and pumped and leave each time feeling a bit more deflated than the last time. Eventually that situation, that mountain grows until it seems a little too high and you’re not 100% sure you want to put on that embarassing tennis skirt for one more match. I’ve been there. At some point you’re ready to give up and throw in the towel.
I most certainly could have acquired that attitude had it not been for my coach. Coach Pendrak, that was her last name at the time (lovingly known as Coach P) was incredible. Coach P impacted my life in many ways, but especially in one specific lesson I’ll never forget.
All those times when I was getting my butt handed to me on the court, I’d go talk to her at the fence. (In tennis you have the opportunity to meet with your coach when you switch sides) Anyway, she would ALWAYS be calm and positive, never angry with me or disappointed. But instead, she’d give me practical tips for defending my opponents strengths and would always leave me with the phrase “point by point”.
Point by Point. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed looking at the long game when things are difficult, but if you take each point one at a time, hope remains, and so does a better attitude. I’ve thought about this phrase often through my life. When homework piles up and seems impossible to conquer, when my task list exceeds the hours in a day, when life tries to close in on me. Hope remains, because I take things one step, one task, one day at a time. The Bible says it like this:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry (or be anxious) about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” – Matthew 6:33-34
It says not to worry about tomorrow, but to just take one day at a time. Why? Well, when you see the word ‘therefore’, you have to look to see what it’s there for. In the verse prior, it says to seek FIRST the kingdom of God…and THEN everything you need will be added to you. THEREFORE, do not worry.
I recently took a personality test. I am a critical thinker thus I have a tendency to overanalyze, look reallyy far ahead, and worry about things ten…ok sixty miles down the road. For example, my husband will say something like ‘I’m thinking of holding an event’ and I’m immediately worried about cost, marketing, the weather, the food, how registration will work, and will we have enough life jackets. Not proud of that. Nope, not one bit haha. Worry is not good for anyone. It’s kind of a buzz kill actually. It’s not good for your health, your joy, or the sanity of those around you.
So this all speaks to me. If I can just keep my thoughts on Jesus and His promises, I will be empowered to take one day at a time (point by point) when things are overwhelming. It’s like the focus on a camera. If you’re focused on your subject, the background becomes blurry. If I can keep my focus on Jesus, my worries will become blurred into the background.
I’ve listed some scriptures that have helped bring me peace when my world seems chaotic, but honestly, sometimes in the chaos, a scripture doesn’t help me…the best way in those times for me personally to focus on Jesus is to just talk it out with Him. On my worst days I sit on the floor against my bed and pour my heart out to Jesus like I would my closest friend. I tell him about what’s going on in my life, things I thought were funny that day, things I’m thankful for, and then tell him the things I’m struggling with last. It’s crazy but when I speak that out it loses its power over me internally, when I’m honest about what’s wrong, God shines His light on it and allows the scary pet hiding in the darkness to lose its power. I then ask for wisdom and for everything I need to walk out and through my circumstance victoriously. Then I just sit. I let Him love on me (usually that’s followed by a nap haha seriously, it’s amazing what a nap can do!).
Aren’t you thankful for the people in life who come alongside us in life and leave a lasting impression like Coach P? I’m so grateful for her. We all need people like that surrounding us. So whatever it is you may be overwhelmed with today, I encourage you to allow the ultimate life coach (aka God) to give you the wisdom you need to conquer whatever circumstance you may be facing, then just take it point by point. Seek first the kingdom of God and just watch what a difference it will make.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 41:10
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” – John 14:1
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and care about you watchfully” – 1 Peter 5:7 AMP
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” – Psalm 9:9-10