When Life Plays for Keeps

In keeping with all the Olympic metaphors of late I’ll throw one in to the ring as well.

There are days when I feel like I’m playing some type of volleying sport with Life! Unlike the women’s Chinese badminton team, however it seems that Life does not play to lose.

It feels as if Life likes to slam things past me at speeds that make my neck snap. She plays to win and she plays for keeps. Much of Life seems to have to be lived on her terms. After all, we don’t get to choose the diseases we get, the jobs we lose, the children we have or don’t have, or the floods, fires, and famine that plague us. We don’t get to pick our families, our gene pool, or how our ancestors were treated.

On the surface, Life could convince us that we have no recourse but to hand over the match and walk away in a quandary of confusion and convoluted thinking.

As people of faith, however we have another piece that follows us out on to the court and that is the element of belief. We believe that God has uniquely placed us in the story for a purpose. We believe that the purpose is to bring hope and heaven into the darkness – to leave things better than we found them. We believe that Jesus calls us to take who he is into places that don’t know it yet.

I’m learning that we live in that thin, snug space where we experience pain and peace at the same time – where the pain turns out to be the peace. It is the narrow gap between swinging back and despairing that we call home.

When we view life as something to be won instead of something we live, we will be in perpetual conflict. Freedom comes when I see something that isn’t mine to change and instead ask God where to find him in it. That’s far different than hitting it back again and again. On the occasions that I can make a difference it will be from a place of peace and conviction, not because I hit it back enough. It will be more about releasing than resisting.

When it feels like Life is playing for keeps I am reminded that God is the keeper. I experience more comfort in the thin, snug space of what is the more I quite trying to win at life.