Seventh grade volleyball tryouts are brutal. The stress of 80 middle school girls trying out for a team with only 30 spots is almost unbearable- for the girls trying out, and for their mothers. I remember this from my own middle school experience, and I have recently relived it with my daughter. I remember my father cheering me on by saying “all you can do is do your best,” words I spoke to my daughter as well. Go out and give it your best shot, and whether you make it or not, you will know you gave it all you had.
Unfortunately, this time around, my daughter’s best wasn’t enough to make the team, and she was devastated. (So was I). Both our hearts were broken, but we could begin to find peace in looking back knowing she had done her best. She had tried her hardest, and she could wrestle back to accepting the outcome knowing she had given her all. Thankfully her young faith could begin to see that God must have had another good plan in mind. She could rest knowing she had learned from the experience, trusting God to bring her to a better place.
There is a line in the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman that says, “I will be here when the laughter turns to crying, through the winning, losing and trying.” Winning, losing and trying. A simple view of our lives, but yes, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, all the while we just keep on trying.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
Scripture clearly calls us to work, to try, to give our best shot at honoring Christ with our lives. As we are faithful to put forth our heart, soul, mind and strength to love and obey Him, He is faithful to carry us through.
On this parenting journey, I have definitely seen some wins, and I have definitely seen some losses. I can look back and rest knowing I learned from those experiences, and grew in faith to trust God to bring me to a better place. Even on days of defeat, there is peace in faithful trying.
We can sometimes look back and get discouraged by those days of defeat. We can be tempted to blame and doubt and heap guilt on ourselves wishing we had done something different. But we have to remember that we did all we knew to do at the time. When it comes to our children, of course we gave it our best shot at the time. We have to trust the outcome to God, knowing He had another good plan in mind.
Our walk with the Lord is just that- a walk. Not a sprint. We have to settle in for the long haul of walking through life in His grace. Along the journey we will encounter many ups and downs. We can find greater joy as we see glimpses of His glory in small victories along the way.
Finally, brothers, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
The NIV translates “be made complete” with “aim for perfection.” We are called to set our sights on following the holiness of God, while knowing that only He is holy. We can rejoice on the journey of striving to do our best, while accepting His grace that covers our sins and shortcomings.
I want to settle in to the long haul of walking with Christ through this temporary life. I want to be faithful to what He has for me here. I want to find joy in the journey of trying.