Love & Kentucky Basketball

I am about to make an argument for the comparable nature of love and Kentucky basketball. Forgive this endeavor.

No seriously, from the get go, forgive me for attempting to draw a no doubt flawed comparison between something that is infinitely powerful, unquestionably divine in nature, and often times incomprehensible, let alone explainable, (um Kentucky fans, I am referring to love) and a sport that involves putting a ball in a net. Believe me, I say that with profound respect, but in comparison, it is trivial and temporal.

However, over the course of the past few weeks, this Kentucky girl living in Dallas, has rekindled her love for college basketball, a past time often lost in the midst of the Cowboys, the Rangers and the Mavs. The undying devotion to March Madness, tournament brackets, and college basketball dynasties becomes a little more distant each time I utter the words “Texas Forever.” But as I’ve journeyed with these beloved Cats through this tournament, something in me has come alive. And yesterday, as I sat with a grin explainable only by two tickets to the championship game tonight, I had a crazy thought. Now crazy thoughts are nothing short of normal for me, but 9 times out of 10, logic, common sense, and sanity dismiss them before they are rationalized let alone spoken. But this thought, it’s sticking. So go ahead and laugh, but then promise to hear me out because I am convinced that we can learn a lot about love from Kentucky basketball. In fact, I think it is teaching and shaping the way that I love today. Here is why.

1) It brings us together.

After each win for the Cats, getting on Facebook and Twitter is like going home. My feed is absolutely flooded with #bbn and #WeAreUK hashtags, countless “GO CATS!” and “GO BIG BLUE!” exclamations. I love it. The aftermath of their win against Wisconsin was no different so before I knew it, I found myself watching a video compiled by Kentucky Sports radio, documenting the reactions in multiple venues as Aaron Harrison made the 3-pointer that would win them their ticket to the championship game. I mean, complete and utter mayhem. Ridiculous and uncharacteristic excitement an outsider would easily deem absolutely looney. I couldn’t stop smiling. People uniting in the midst of a hope realized, a realization producing unashamed joy. All because the ball went in. So dumb.

But that is totally love. It’s dumb and it brings us together. We all have it to give and we all want it to be given to us. We were created for it. If we are living and breathing today, love is our commonality. And when our hope for it is realized, namely and fully in Christ, we are overwhelmed with joy.

2) It comes through in the clutch.

Okay so my blood pressure is all but fond of this Kentucky tendency to play with such risk, to literally put it all on the line in the final seconds. But look what’s happened. These guys have come through, every time. Despite some regular season doubts, on their part just as much as ours, when it has really mattered, they’re there. Right on time and not a moment too soon. Resulting in W after W.

And love is going to win y’all. When this comparison struck me today, I found myself praying for a Kentucky win tonight to solidify this analogy. Whatever, I’m not ashamed. But God’s love for us doesn’t end, it doesn’t quit and it doesn’t give up. It’s always there, even when we don’t see it or recognize it until that final buzzer is sounding. But it will win out. Over our fear, our doubt, our weakness, our guilt and our shame.

3) It’s not afraid to miss.

I watched an interview with Aaron Harrison after that final shot. That final, gut-wrenching, game winning shot. I love what he said, “As long as you’re not afraid to miss, I think you have a good chance of making it.” Y’all. Thousands upon thousands watching, game and a chance at the championship game on the line, and he wasn’t afraid to miss, he wasn’t afraid to take the shot. In fact, he wanted to be the one to take the shot. Anyone else thinking they would be absolutely crippled by the fear of failing? Me too. But we will always miss out on the wins if we never take the shot. I have to believe that he feels more alive in those moments than any others. Experiencing the gamete of human emotion all in a split second. All the sweat and tears of a season, all his hopes and dreams as a player, on the line. He took on all the fear and doubt and insecurity, and chose to hope for the net instead, unafraid of a potential no. And it was worth the risk.

How often are we afraid to love because we are afraid of getting hurt? Or afraid it will not be reciprocated? Or because we are afraid it might lead to this or that outcome? I believe we will never fully experience love until we take the risk. God took the shot for us, so let’s take it daily as we attempt to love others well. Unafraid of missing, because our hope is in Christ. We love because He first loved us.

4) It is spurred on by others.

Watch this.

He’s set up for the shot, eye on the prize. Yet, if there was any doubt still lingering, anything holding him back, there was his brother, setting him up and then cheering him on, encouraging him to take the shot. #twinning

I need that, and I want to be that for others. Man sometimes loving is hard, and exhausting, and scary, and just plain work. I need people next to me, cheering me on. What a comparison to draw and live out in the church. Jesus told Peter to walk on water. Andrew told Aaron to take the shot. Let’s do that for one another, for the sake of our faith, that it might grow and be strengthened, and that we might fully experience God’s love and embark on the crazy risky adventure of loving others.

So I know it might be a stretch for some. Take or leave the source of my conclusions, but may you find truth in the encouragement to love well today. Receive the never ending, clutch winning love of Christ that we were created for, may it fuel you toward risk and adventure as you lavishly love others, and may you encourage those around you to do the same!

Prayer.

A Bag, A Plaque and A Dream

This morning I packed a bag. I packed a bag and said, “Alright Lord, today I’m ready to go if you want me to go. Just say the word.” I packed a bag in hope and belief that He would give me the green light. True story.

Mid-day, as I pray desperately for God to whisper or nudge (or yell, I’m fine with that), I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll probably end my day grabbing a big glass of water (that I’ll never actually drink), sitting it next to my bed, laying my head on the same feathered navy blue pillow, in the same little apartment, and wondering what I’ll do tomorrow. And I’ll probably be hungry because I gave up sweets. Dumb.

But I don’t think I really knew prayer before now.

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Goodness.

A Change of Perspective.

I believe God can do anything. I really do.

But I realized very abruptly this week that I doubt He is good.

I believe in the ability of God but I doubt in the goodness of God.

Move the mountains? I believe He can, any day of the week (and as my mom would say, “twice on Sundays”). Heal the broken? Absolutely, He is able. Take a very bad situation and make it good? Of course. Glorify Himself through my constant failure? I’ve seen Him do it.

So why doesn’t He?

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Create.

My Fight With An Inanimate Object.

photo

This weekend, I got this key.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this key.

It’s not special looking really, just an ordinary key, hanging on an extra long brass chain, being toted around, observing the peculiars of life around it. I have no idea what it was created for. No idea where it has been. No idea where it could lead me, what door it could open. I love that it’s so mysterious. I love that it’s weathered. It’s been around the block, to all the places I long to go maybe, a traveler in a former life. It’s tattered and slightly rusty, in the most beautiful of ways. It has a story, one that I’ll never know. A story that has forged it’s character, both jaded and refined. I love this key. For real, in love. #vday2014

But here’s the thing about this key. It is absolutely screaming at me.

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Disenchanted.

Prince Charming and the Scandalous Love of God. 

Everybody calm down. Don’t worry your little heads, this is not an announcement to let the world know that I am officially lowering my standards. Believe me, I am holding out for a man of God, one who loves Jesus and wants to make much of Him with me. But I recently came to the realization that what I thought this would look like, doesn’t seem so great anymore.

It was one of those moments when you don’t realize it until you’re sitting at Fuzzy’s Tacos, desperately pondering the qualms of life with a dear friend, and the words just roll off your tongue. I love those moments because they are evidence of God’s work in us. Even when we don’t realize it, even when He may feel distant or uninvolved, His grace is transforming us. Sometimes we know it and feel it every step of the way, a constant and painful prodding or sifting. But sometimes He blesses us with the result as our only proof. All of the sudden, we are in a different place entirely, with no knowledge of how we got there other than God’s grace lavished. We definitely can’t take credit, God is our only explanation.

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Boys.

Why Blaming Stupidity Isn’t Helping.

Hi. Me again.

Anyone ever been in a room full of girls, one or more recounting a tumultuous rendition of recent boy drama? She’s surrounded by an affirming posse of friends, all of them nodding their picturesque “Oh no he di-n’t!” faces. The pressure is building. Nerves are flailing. And then someone says it. The exclamation mark that seals all man-bashing conversations. “Boys are stupid.” (or a close kin phrase that packs the same punch, “Boys suck.”)

Oh. My. Word. I can’t stand it. It’s like just bury me in a hole people. It literally makes me want to give up on life.

Which is ironic because that’s actually what has happened. We get to the point where we don’t understand, or we are too hurt or confused to try to, and we give up. The only “logical” answer is that it’s not us and the opposite gender, as a whole, the entirety of males on the planet, are to blame. Duh.

No. No. and…

No.

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