I live in Denver, Colorado. It is a lovely city with great mountain views and the most crazed sports fanatics around. This past Saturday the Denver Broncos played in their first playoff game of the season. It was a close game, both teams played equally and it really came down to who made the most mistakes. Denver lost. In over time. As a result of an intercepted pass. dun.. dun… dun…. (ominous musical tones)
Every night and day for the matter since the game’s end, the game has been a topic of conversation. Strangers engage about the game. The news, every night has had some sort of game review. It seems like everyone had plans that were sorely disappointed when the Baltimore Ravens ran that ball in for a touchdown, securing their win.
I like to think it was just a game. Yes, I know I live in Denver and could probably get some sort of legal violation for saying such, but lets be honest. Men running around in tight pants, throwing a ball, running a ball, catching a ball, blocking and tackling with great strategy for millions of dollars… eh, it’s just a game. There are those who must answer questions, it’s always good to improve on what went wrong, but this lingering talk of mistakes and what if’s is getting tiresome. I can only imagine what it is like for the team members. And Peyton Manning! who has to own the fact that it was his pass that was intercepted. With all eyes, ears and conversation towards this one team, it’s a wonder any of them are sane at all with that kind of pressure.
The tragic reality is, we each play the big game every day. We put on our best performance and there are days where we seemingly can do no wrong, our metaphorical passes are caught and run in for a touchdown every time. Then there are days where we are like Peyton Manning this past Saturday. We throw great passes all day, until one is caught by the wrong team.
You and I, we make mistakes. It is a part of life. We will let people down. We will disappoint someone. We may even hurt someone. But we must not treat ourselves the way Denver is treating their home town team. We must instead recognize the mistake, face it, address it and let it go. Our mistakes do not define us.
Right now I have an email in my inbox which I have not read. I’m usually very good at reading my emails, but this one caused me to wince when it came through. I know that I potentially let this person down as I dropped the ball on responding to an email sent over a month ago. So how do I, the mature 38 year old that I am, handle the situation. I avoid it!
Good gracious! Even as I write I feel my heart rate increase just ever so slightly at the thought of opening the email. Logic tells me, I’ll open it and if I respond quickly and own my lack of communication all will be well. Performance and people pleasing paint and exaggerated picture of the content of her email and the preemptive shame of having potentially let someone down. (I’m just putting the real picture out there. I’m sure no one else has ever struggled with such thoughts.)
I’m Peyton Manning. I threw a ball that was caught by the wrong team and I am still beating myself up for it. Consequently, I assume the world watches like the sport’s anchors and crazed fans, with disappointment, words of blame, words of shame and will probably talk about my lack of follow through for days to come. Peyton Manning is not perfect. He is an amazing football player. In fact, he is one of the best, but he is not perfect. I am a good friend and I love people deeply, but I’m far from perfect. The enemy of our lives would like nothing more than for me to get stuck focusing on my imperfection, so much so that I become paralyzed and incapable of believing any good and become inactive, simple so I won’t disappoint anyone else. This is a lie.
Jesus came because he knew we’d all throw a metaphorical interception at some point in our lives. (more than likely every day of our lives) He knows that we are incapable of perfection and he wants to give us grace to meet us in our lack, mistakes, mishaps and faulty passes. It is his grace that hushes the voices of the accusers and reminds of the glory he gave us. He sets us back on our feet, hands us a ball and entrusts us with another year of game time.
So as soon as I press publish on this blog, I’m going to go read and respond to her email, it’s time I get back in the game.