I’ve been playing basketball for the past few weeks and I have experienced something that is hard to explain. First, I can’t believe how much it hurts. I realize that I’m getting older. But the first few times I played this year, I was lighting it up. I was hitting shots from all over the floor. But then as I played more and more, my shots starting missing more and more. The harder I tried, the worse I played. It made me start thinking of how many times I try too hard, and quit following my natural basketball instincts. Instead of letting the game come to me, I try to make things happen and force shots. Instead of passing to the open man, I try to one up my last play.
Practice doesn’t make perfect when we practice the wrong thing!
Unfortunately, basketball isn’t the only thing in my life that I see this occurring. In my preaching, many times I try to do things on my own strength. The more time I spend in preparation, the worse it can become. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to really take control of the message, I keep working and working on it. What is left is like over-chewed food. It’s bland and tasteless because all the flavor has been sucked out. When I find myself trying too hard, I have to step back and look at what I am really focusing on. In basketball, am I focusing on improving my skills and my teamwork, or am I trying to pull off some great move? In my spiritual life, am I focusing on listening to the Holy Spirit, or am I trying to impress those who are listening? It’s something that I have to continually challenge myself on, because it happens without even realizing it. When I’m struggling, I have to step back and re-evaluate my focus. How about you?