NEW CASTLE —
It’s a great way to break free from pressure and create space for a pass or shot.
Plant and turn. Drop your hips. Always keep your head up.
That’s the advice I constantly give to the kids on my AAU basketball team.
Square up and face the hoop. See what’s in front of you. Give yourself options and room to flourish.
I deliver that same pep talk to myself. Often.
Most days, in so many different ways, I need to do the same thing when I’m away from the court.
And square up.
There’s no better way to face what’s ahead — even when you don’t see it coming.
“God has not called you to be awesome ...”
I try so hard to be awesome.
I really do.
I read about it. I watch it. I listen to it.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pursuit of awesome, but there are plenty of detours to that destination.
The phone call.
The unexpected visitor.
The urgent text.
The invitation in the mail.
The ... (fill in your own blank.)
I really can’t right now — I’ve got way too much to do as the mayor of Awesomeville. But, OK, here goes nothing ...
And square up.
“ ... He has called you to be humble, faithful, and free. Leave the awesome to him.” — Scott Sauls
I want to be humble. I want to be faithful. I want to be free, too.
Oh, do I want to be free.
And in a strange twist, I can be all three — if I just stop focusing on me.
I’m not the brightest knife in the drawer or the sharpest light bulb in the socket, but I’m gathering wisdom each day. Not as quickly as I’d like, but I’m still gathering.
Thanks to a few challenging circumstances, here’s what I’ve learned just this week:
•Life is lived in the now. When I look ahead it leads to worry. When I look back, I often regret.
I need to keep reminding myself to “play present.”
•Be honest. Just be honest. That’s the REAL you. And that’s the real me. Every time we shade the truth to please others, we move away from our uniqueness.
•God can’t change who we’re becoming until we let go of who we WERE.
•Eternity is not on the clock. When I break free from the slavery of tasks and make myself open to people, I still find plenty of time to complete what needs to be done.
•Or I realize those things never needed to be done in the first place. That’s pretty cool.
•You and I can have much more impact through someone we DEVELOP than through something we DO.
•In other words, OUR passions and gifts often shine brightest through OTHERS.
Another thing I tell my players constantly is that basketball is a game of three changes — change of speed, change of direction and change of hands. If they can learn to do those things well, they have a chance to be outstanding.
As for the game of life, let me add one more change — a change of plans.
I mean, it’s all about having a simple awareness of who is in front of me, behind me and beside me. A moment-by-moment willingness to engage with those I encounter on the way to what I thought I REALLY wanted to do today.
That, ironically, is life in the Awesome lane. That’s real freedom, too.
So go ahead and try it.
When in doubt, pivot.
And square up.
It just might be your best play of the day.
(Tim Kolodziej is editor at The News.)