Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eyes on you

One thing I've been learning in racquetball: whenever you make a mistake, you've got at least two options.  You can rag on yourself for being an idiot, or you can compliment the person playing with you on their great play.  Hint: one of the options makes the game a lot more fun than the other one.
     When I first started playing with my friend, I always took the first course.  I guess I felt duty-bound to explain why I'd missed that ball.  I never tried convincing myself she cared.  I just felt better afterwards, because I'd at least found out why I was a loser.
     But I quickly realized that she didn't have the same after-flub-pickup.  If she missed the ball, she didn't smack her head with her hand and say "You idiot!  How come you can't get this right?"  She just looked out for the next ball.
     She was also very generous with her compliments.  If I made a good play, she didn't get all tense and visibly go on the defensive.  She'd yell "nice!" over her shoulder as she went for the next hit.
     Hmmm... she seemed more focused on the next hit than she was on the current flub or smash.  Hmmm... maybe I can learn from that.  Hmmm... this IS more fun!
     I also found that not thinking of my racquetball game as an allegory of my life in grad school made it more enjoyable.  Originally, I liked to compare the two.  But I found over time that it was more fun to just think of it as a game, and not compare my sometime intellectual laziness with my sometimes physical laziness too often.  Just sometimes.
     All I know is that shifting my focus after a flub from my idiocy to my friend's great play has revolutionized my approach to racquetball.  I'm not saying that I do it every time, or that I don't often struggle to remember this different thought pattern, but I am saying that it's a great way to have fun.
     In the same way, when I sin, I have two options: focusing on the sin over and over, explaining to God why I sinned, thinking that my rehashing it repeatedly will stave off future sins but really despairing inside, and blah, blah, blah.  Or identifying why I gave in, confessing it, asking for forgiveness, and then focusing on Christ again.  Keeping my eyes looking into His (yes, He is looking at me with eyes of love), and telling Him how great He is, and how glad I am that He's already mastered the game called life.

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