Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to life? Jesus (Matthew 6.27, NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you have to “force it?” It happens a lot on the basketball court. It is time for the big game and because of a tremendous amount of responsibility or pressure; a player will try to force the action they desire to occur. If they are being asked to score, they will look for and take shots that are not really there and the result will be an ugly looking shot chart. Or, if they are asked to shut down a great offensive player, they will look to force turnovers that only lead to bad defensive positioning or foul trouble. Players that try to “force it” often find themselves pushing their desired goal further away and hindering, instead of helping, their team.
I play miserable when I try to force my will upon a defender or offensive player. In the intense world of pickup basketball…Do not laugh when I talk about pickup basketball. I take great pride in being able to prove to others that I am still relatively quick for a 35 year old short dude. My quickness was all I ever really had to use against my opponents. Now, I have quickness and gray hair to brag about…In the intense world of pickup basketball, the stress and pressure I place upon myself leads to paralysis by analysis. And, instead of enjoying the game, I find myself loathing it. I play best and most enjoy the game when I relax and simply focus on the moment, the journey, and the experience.
Whether it is on the basketball court or in life, I think we often try to “force it.” We force a relationship that is not there. We force a job interview for a position we know is not the right fit. We force an action or response that we know others are expecting from us. We force a hope or an idea that has already passed. We “force it” and as a result, we end up further away from where we desire to be.
What’s the remedy for “forcing it?” On the court, it is relaxing and allowing the game to come to you. In life, it is relaxing with the understanding that we are unable to truly force anything. We can make plans, work towards those plans, and celebrate if those plans come to completion. However, what if life catches us off guard and we are unable, in that moment, to see our plans through to completion? Do we double down, try harder and “force it?” Or, do we simply trust that our hard work will be rewarded in due time?
The secret to not “forcing it” is trusting. The opposite of trusting is worrying. We “force it” because we worry that “it” will not come to fruition or completion. Jesus asked a group of followers, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Trusting requires that we take a deep breath, do the best we can to trust that God is in control, and we let go, as much as possible, of whatever worry we hold on to. Then, we do not try and force whatever it is we desire. Instead, we let the game of life come to us.
Jesus said it best, “So, do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.