Did you know that I won the 50 yard dash when I was in 3rd grade?
Yep… It was an epic battle of pure brawn and speed between me and twelve other 9-year-old boys. Jim Blausey was favored to win, but he had no idea what he was up against. No one saw me coming from behind. I wonder how that second place ribbon looks up on his wall.
In 8th grade, I was chosen to be Mrs. Cherry’s teacher’s helper. She was every art student’s favorite, so she had her pick of us all… And that year, she picked me.
I played Goliath in the school play when I was in high school. I killed it. I was the most convincing hundred pound Goliath that audience had ever witnessed.
My senior year in Varsity basketball, I scored 31 and 37 points in the first two games of the season. I also set a school record 29 rebounds in a game that lasted almost 25 years before it was broken.
Are you yawning yet? Bored to tears? Skimming? Skipping to the next part, ready to read something that matters? Something a little more interesting?
These are just a few of the pivotal moments in my life – events in my history that defined who I was at the time, both to myself and to others. And yet today, none of it matters much at all. It’s over. It’s in the past – irrelevant and forgotten by everyone but me and Jim Blausey.
I could have easily made you a list of my most embarrassing moments. There’s plenty there that would have you on the floor, laughing. Like the time I was de-pantsed in front of pretty much the whole student body of the Oak Harbor School system. (Yes… you read it right, I said “de-pantsed”… as in having my pants ripped off of my body). Or I could talk about the many times my stuttering got me saying the weirdest things in the most bazaar ways but these are stories for another time.
More importantly, I could list for you the many times I’ve come up short of my goals, my hopes and plans. That would be a long list as well.
In my mind, at this moment, I’m thinking about my greatest failure. I’m thinking about that moment I’d do most anything to take back and relive differently. The moment I’d least want you to know about… the one I most want to forget. And NO… I am not going to share it here.
But let’s be honest.
We’ve all made choices we’d like to do over. We’ve all felt the sting of regret. We bear the mark of our mistakes. Even the mistakes we knew we were making when we did them. Each of us has been judged and rejected, unwanted and cast aside.
Have you ever wished it could have been different? The harm done to you, the harm you did? Have you ever wished you could relive those days? Or, wish you could forget them forever?
But maybe you’ve noticed what I’ve noticed. I’ve never won the chance to relive my past by wishing I could. Truth is… I’ve wasted plenty of my “present” time wishing I could.
For all the men who may be reading this… I have never become a better father or a better husband or even a better man by simply wishing for it. I have never become a better son, a better brother or friend by wishing for it either.
It’s become cliche to say, “Yesterday is in the past”. But if that is true why are so many men stuck in the past? Too many of us are stuck in places of past failures or past victories.
Look around you. Take a look in the mirror with me. How many of us are nursing old wounds – crippled by past failures, unwilling or unable to move on?
To the other extreme – how many of us are resting on some long past moment of greatness? You earned your degree. Great!!! You raised your kids. Great!!! Now what? How did that change your world today? What will you contribute tomorrow? Some of us are so enamored by our past successes that we’re unable to see the purpose today holds for us. It is not about what you are “able” to do… it’s more about what you were created to be and do.
We were made for more.
Our failures don’t define us – nor do our successes.
What defines us?
Our potential does. Our passion does. Our progress does.
More importantly… our relationship with Jesus Christ defines us.
God in His infinite grace fashioned us together for this very moment and for the possibility tomorrow holds. There’s little good to be found in dwelling on the sweetness or the pain of yesterday. We are here. We are part of today and what we do today defines what will happen tomorrow.
It’s time to lay aside what has been. Good or bad… they are the former things.
There’s more race to be run, and it’s all ahead for of us.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14