It’s funny how revelation comes sometimes. As much I love to read and listen to them, it’s usually not some deep, heavy philosophical truths hidden in some ancient book or sitting on the tongue of some great preacher or prophet that gets me to thinking about my life. Most of the time it is something rather simple that gets under my skin and works it way into my soul. Simple stuff, ideas, thoughts. It’s the things that would ordinarily go unnoticed that cause me to really think about something; to actively engage in an area of my life or in the lives of those around me.
A perfect example of that was the 2009 Superbowl. I know, some people will argue that this is just my way of trying to reconcile the loss of the Arizona Cardinals since I was rooting for them, but that is not case (at least not entirely – smile.) I wasn’t really a fan of either team but the reason why I chose the Cardinals as the one that I wanted to win the big game was because I have deep appreciation for the underdog. The one that nobody expects to win.
I think there is a lesson embedded in the Cardinal’s journey to the big game that teaches us something about how we should live our lives, particularly as it relates to our giftings. Your gift is that thing that God gave you to use for his glory. It could be writing, speaking, teaching, dancing, etc. And guess what? You just might be the underdog. You might have only sold 2,000 copies of your book while others have quadrupled that. You may speak to a group of five, three year olds but desire to speak to the nations. That’s okay. Look at the superbowl. The Cardinals were definitely the underdog. They were up against a team and a legacy. The Steelers had a history of winning and a monster defensive line. The Cardinals? Well they were told that they would never make it to the Superbowl. In fact, they’d failed enough times during the regular season that people initally excluded them from play-off contention. They were told that their quarterback was too old, their team was too young, and their coach wasn’t quite ready to lead them. Fans and critics alike said that, at least this season, they would never be able to accomplish what they set out to accomplish back in August. What every team playing hopes for. To make it to the big game.
Yet, in spite of a not-so stellar record, in spite of what people said, they made it all the way to the show! And although they didn’t win, they showed up and they played their hearts out. Even in the fourth quarter, when the score was 20 to 7, and it looked like the game was over, they didn’t give up and if for just a moment, made the Steelers’ hearts beat just a little bit faster. The Cardinals fought for it until the very end.
That says something to me. It inspires me. It says to me that all of the times that I’d been told, sometimes even by the voice in my own head, that I wasn’t going to make it, that I’d failed too many times, that although I had talent, I wouldn’t get very far, that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what God had called me to do…none of that matters when God decides to use me. Those may be the facts about me but they aren’t necessarily my truths.
The reality is…it wasn’t true for the Cardinals, it isn’t true for me, and it isn’t true for anyone reading this. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. You’re saying, Tracey, they didn’t win! You’re right. But sometimes it’s not about winning. The lesson is not always in the win, the lesson is in showing up to the game and fighting until the very end. God is in control of the outcome but the question is, do we trust Him enough to play like we know we can…in spite of what people may say, in spite of what you think you have or do not have. You and I can make it to the big show! You and I can make it to the game, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe you’ll win and maybe you’ll be the tool that God uses to humble and challenge the one who will win. Whatever the outcome, keep going, look for the lesson, and trust that it is all for your good.
This is my lesson from the Superbowl. Keep pursuing your God given destiny no matter what it looks like to you or anyone else. If you get to the big game, show up ready to play and fight until the very end.
In the words of that great theologian, P. Diddy, “Can’t stop. Won’t stop.” 🙂