The Jump Shot
Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

I suck!

If only...

It seems we're far too often living in the past.  Instead of wasting time wondering why we made this or that mistake or about what could have been, it's much more productive to recalibrate.

 I was a pretty good basketball player in my day. But I noticed over time that people I played against often began to figure out my tendencies. My cousin knew the exact mechanics of my jump shot, and he got quite good at blocking it.

At first that made me angry.  Then it made me depressed.  He owned me, and there was nothing I could do about it. All I could think about was that the last time I had taken a jump shot I had failed. Which made it all the more likely that I would fail the next time, for one of three reasons--perhaps because I would be consigned to have my shot blocked again the next time, or more likely, I would be so worried about it getting blocked that I wouldn't take a comfortable shot, or most likely, I simply wouldn't take the shot at the next good opportunity.

I play improved markedly when I realized that if my cousin could figure out how to block my shot, I could figure out how to alter my style of play so that, it being less predictable, my next shot had a much smaller likelihood of being blocked.  And from then on, my motto became one of optimism: "The next shot is your first shot." Once I convinced myself that I didn't have to worry about the shots I had taken in the past, my future shots looked much brighter.

This is the essence of recalibration. Recalibration means to re-check, re-adjust, or re-determine by comparison with a standard. With recalibration there is no time to self-criticize or play the "if only" game.

Recalibration applies to any mistake we make in our lives--even those kind of mistakes that involve sin.  God expects us to one day be perfect, but that day is a long way off.  He has far more patience with us than we have with ourselves. If we ever hope to achieve what He has in store for us, we've got to become as patient with ourselves as he is with us--by living lives of regular recalibration.

When we make mistakes, our Heavenly Father encourages us to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
8 Thou shalt offer a asacrifice unto the Lord thy God in brighteousness, even that of a broken heart and a ccontrite spirit

Notice what the scripture does not say: it does not say to offer a broken heart and a broken spirit. A broken heart symbolizes feeling bad for what you've done.  That's a good thing.  A broken spirit implies that we feel bad about ourselves for what we've done. That is a bad thing.  Rather than it being broken, we are encouraged to have a contrite spirit.  Contrition comes from the Latin contritus, meaning to be tired of making a mistake and to sincerely desire to do better.

In other words, recalibrate!!!

Do you ever find yourself thinking things such as:
  • "I am so stupid!"
  • "I'll never get it right!"
  • "I'm sick of trying to be perfect, so I'm not even going to try anymore."

 I used to think stuff like that on a regular basis.  And I admit that I'm still prone to bouts of such "broken spiritedness".  Most of the time these days, though, I don't worry about what is in the past, because I can't do anything about it.

Instead, I try to spend the bulk of my time recalibrating for the future.  It's a lot more fun.  And I'm a lot more successful that way.


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