True Confession: I beat up a girl in high school.
She really didn’t deserve it at all. I see that now. But when you are that age, you can’t see past graduation day and the trivial moments easily become major events.
I won’t start from the beginning and tell you all the little things she did wrong that annoyed me or made me mad, because—let’s be honest—you all just want to know how it went down. Fair enough, but before I go into it, let me just say (in pathetic self-defense) that basketball was my favorite thing in high school (followed very closely by volleyball and getting straight A’s) and my school had never won a girl’s state basketball title. So getting to the championship game was no small feat at the time.
Fourth quarter. The last 30 seconds of the game. And we were down by two. We get the ball past half court, and the point guard passes the ball to HER. **pause** yep, the victim was on MY team. And honestly, she had been playing pretty well the entire game and there were no hard feelings at this point. **unpause** She looks for the pass, realizes she has an open three point shot, and she takes it. I think everyone stopped breathing at that moment and I’m pretty sure one of my shortest and most fervent prayers happened during that shot. It looked perfect, but the spin she had put on the ball caused it to roll around the rim and eventually fall outside the net. The other team got the ball, and after a few more seconds and a foul shot or two, they sealed her fate. They had won. We had lost. And that’s when I let her have it.
I beat her up after that game, and every other game left in my high school career—win or lose. You see, the girl who took that potential game-winning shot that would have won the biggest game of my “career” was me.
After having the opportunity to play a part in winning the game and not coming through, the only thing that apparently made sense to me was that I should now be the only one blamed for the loss. My coach, my teammates, my family and my friends never in any way validated that thought process by what they said or how they treated me. Yet, in my mind that was the way it should be. I gave grace to everyone else, but held myself to an impossible standard of perfection, thinking I could and should be able to reach it if I worked hard enough.
I had twisted the lesson of doing your best (Col. 3:23) taught by my parents into an unspoken and unrealistic mantra of “never fail.” And failure is the worst thing a person can be afraid of. It holds you back, it keeps you down, and it feeds into the idea of “you’re not good enough, so why even try.” Being afraid to fail and thinking that perfection is attainable in this life is a horrible combination. But there is a remedy.
STEP ONE: Look up the lyrics to Nobody’s Perfect by Hannah Montana.
Ya’ll think I’m joking…
Understanding that you and everyone else are going fall short sometimes is important. (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:23-24)
STEP TWO: Know the difference between “important now” and “important forever.”
I’ve been out of high school for quite some time now. Do I remember missing that state-winning shot? Well, obviously, but I don’t beat myself up for it anymore. I understand that there are things in life that have lasting consequences, even eternal, and then there are things like getting a B- in a class (I may or may not have cried a little that day haha).
This post goes out to my little sisters who will be competing at their state competitions for basketball and cheerleading in the upcoming week.
Girls, don’t be too hard on yourselves if you make a mistake—you’ve worked too hard to let one thing overshadow the character and dedication you have shown all season. Just do your best and leave it all on the floor. I’m so proud of you! Go Wildcats!