Fourth Quarter

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3 NLT

 

I am a sports mom! My husband, Ray, and I have given our kids the opportunity to try different ones to see what they like since they were young.

Our daughter, Sydney, experimented with soccer, but she didn’t stick with that. Over the years, softball, volleyball and basketball have emerged as her favorite sports. As a sophomore in high school, she’s narrowing in even more because the steep competition makes training, during and off season, required to be selected on teams and get playing time; this has to be balanced with school and other activities.

Our son, Raymond, enjoys basketball and competitively plays football and baseball most often. He is in his first year of high school and is also feeling the pinch of transitioning to a higher level of rivalry. He’s went from having an active role on his little league football team to a more limited one on his high school team; he and Sydney have both felt the effects this year from missing their sports seasons in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ray and I chose to keep the kids out of sports at the height of the pandemic. There was too great of risk to their health and safety. In hindsight, we would not have done anything differently. COVID-19 did not catch God by surprise and we believe His promise that He has great plans for them, even though they have experienced the pain of not playing as much recently as a result of our decision.

When they do play, we often record them to capture their successes. My voice is in almost every video because I am their biggest cheerleader publicly; Ray is more reserved than I am and has also coached the kids over the years, leaving my mouth to do most of the yelling and screaming for both of us from the stands. We also use the videos to show them how they can improve. We are honest critics privately. Our goal is to help them reach their full potential.

My family and friends have grown to know that I’m intensely focused at the kids’ games. I do not care how far ahead or down their team is, until there are all zeros on the game clock, anything can happen and I'm locked in the entire time! I’ve seen many surprising endings! 

The fourth quarter -or final inning, set, period- of a game is critical. It is the time where decisions are made by each coach and player that can win or lose the game. The strength of the strategy and how well it is executed offers the best probability of success; strong preparation before the game increases the likelihood of victory. In order to win, if their opponent is in the lead, each player must give it all they’ve got to overcome the deficit; they cannot give up. If it’s neck and neck, they must believe they can win. And if they are ahead, they must finish strong and not take their lead for granted! 

For many years, I thought I was just watching my kids play sports and being their fan. As I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, I realize He has used their games as opportunities for me to observe many life lessons from my view as a spectator in the stands. I’ve learned we do get choices of what we try our hand in, but ultimately we have to focus in where God has gifted and planned to use us. Even in our gift, there will be challenges, but no one and nothing can block what God has blessed. He will encourage us when we are operating well in our gift and correct us when we need to do better because He loves us and wants what’s best for us. How we prepare ourselves and then execute makes all the difference!

As a sports mom, I may be able to be a spectator. But in life, I must be a participant. God designed us all to have an active role in His Plan. As a member of the body of Christ, we each have a divine assignment to complete. Unlike competitive sports, He wants to use all of us, all the time. And the Good News is He has already promised us we will be victorious through Christ! In God's winning strategy, we have everything we need in Jesus! We must follow Him and let the Holy Spirit lead us, requiring us to trust Him. To trust Him, we must know Him through His Word. Then we can rest in His promises and be prepared to execute no matter what comes our way. We really have no reason not to let Him use us.

We are stepping into the fourth quarter of 2021! Are you committed to completing what God has asked you to accomplish this year? Or, have you written off what He has called you to do until next year? 

If the enemy's ploy to kill, steal and destroy your progress in your divine assignment these first nine months has stifled you, now is the time to renounce him and birth what God has put in you! Posture yourself to give all you have to the Lord and operate in His strength to overcome! If you’ve been battling and are close to accomplishing what God has put in your heart, believe you can do it with Jesus and keep executing! And if the year has been going well, finish strong! Do not get complacent!

I am making the commitment today to prayerfully plan out and begin executing all God wants to do through me in the fourth quarter of 2021! I want to be laser-focused and complete all He has for me in this season! Will you join me? Please let me know in the comments!

For additional inspiration to finish this year strong, pre-order ‘Centered in Christ: Steadfast & Immovable Devotional Volume 1’ by clicking here.

 

Heavenly Father, please help me execute all You want to do through me this year! May I take no moment You bless me with for granted. May I continue to strengthen my relationship with Jesus so I will follow Him on the path You have for me, enabling me to use my gift to glorify You.

In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen!

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