Well! My Eagles learned a hard lesson by losing 53-20 to the red-hot Green Bay Packers and the even hotter Aaron Rogers at cold Lambeau Field, with those butt-ugly uniforms, no less. And by so doing they taught us an easy lesson in the process. Just last Monday Night, the Eagles (pronounced “Iggles” for all those of you outside of Philly) beat Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers up and down the field, 45 – 21, and it wasn’t that close. So we learn, as the old saying goes, that what goes around comes around. So be careful what you dish, because that’s what you’re going to be dealt.
Well-meaning Mark Sanchez looked lost, listless and lifeless as he managed to make mistake after mistake; he just couldn’t corral his confidence after he got cornered. Sanchez, and the entire Eagles team, for that matter, came off of the field time and again looking bewildered and befuddled, confused and confounded, like a dear staring into a pair of high beams. Now, predicting the Eagles to get to the Super Bowl, much less win it, will be a tough sell. And as the old country saying goes, “that’s just swell.”
Oh well. Right now, the Eagles smell. They stink to high heaven and their performance in front of the waiting, watching, wondering football world was no belle as they were a shell of what they showed us in recent weeks. So now it’s hard to tell how well they will rebound from this near death knell.
And the lesson to be learned, pray tell? Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, even when things don’t go your way. You can recover if you keep your wits about you. When you win big you’re primed and prone, subjectable and susceptible to lose big. It’s just the way it works. Because what goes around comes around. But your big loses don’t have to be fatal, nor do your bad loses have to be final.
Well intended athletes of every age and at every stage of the game must learn how to lose well. The problem is that when things start going south, most of us start panicking instead of persevering. And THEN we let our emotions get the best of us, and it gets out of hand – sometimes way out of hand. So the lesson here is to resolve to resist the temptation to give in, even when it appears that you should give up.
So, in the words of Aaron Rodgers, after they started the season 1-2, he said “R.E.L.A.X.!”
And this teaching on “Five Ways To Relax In God’s Grace” by Rick Warren was pretty good, so I’ll pass it on.
“Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace.” (Hebrews 12:15a NCV)
How do you learn to “R.E.L.A.X.” in the liberating grace of God?
Realize nobody’s perfect.
Psalm 119:96 says, “Nothing is perfect except your words” (LB). What society tells you isn’t perfect. What popular opinion tells you isn’t perfect. What you learned growing up isn’t perfect. But God’s Word is perfect. When you get in the Bible and build your life on it, you will have a perfect foundation.
Enjoy God’s unconditional love.
The Bible says, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children — think of it — and we really are!” (1 John 3:1) When you become a follower of Christ, you’re not just a servant of God anymore. You are a child of the King. A servant is accepted on the basis of what he does; a child is accepted on the basis of who he is. A servant starts the day anxious and worried that his work will please his master; a child rests in the secure love of his family. A servant is accepted because of his workmanship; a child is accepted because of his relationship.
Let God handle things.
What do you do about the uncontrollable things in life? “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When you cast a line, there comes a point where you have to take your finger off the button and let it go. Just like the essence of casting is letting go, to overcome perfectionism, you have to let go and let God do his work.
Act in faith, not fear.
Remember how you got into God’s family in the first place. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” There’s no other way to get into Heaven except by grace. You’ll never be good enough, and you can’t buy your way in. It’s a free gift from God.
Exchange your perfectionism for God’s peace.
Perfectionism destroys peace. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest…. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (MSG). What a deal!
You’re going to fail a lot in life. But you don’t have to worry about it if you’ve received God’s grace. In fact, there’s only one failure you ever need to worry about: “Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace” (Hebrews 12:15a NCV). Receive it right now, and then relax!
Talk It Over
- What troubles or grudges or guilt can you let go of when you understand that nobody’s perfect?
- What are some other aspects of God’s love that can help you relax?
- How do you need to respond today to God’s offer of grace?
By Rick Warren — May 21, 2014