Take Your Best Shot

by Sommer on December 4, 2014

I’ve recently gotten back in to playing basketball. Yes, a suburban mom of three at the local health club shooting hoops. I was never the star of the basketball team in high school. As a matter of fact, I’ve recently teased my parents for letting me play basketball at all as I spent much time warming the bench. I suppose they encouraged it because I loved the game. And now at 30-something, I know how to shoot and dribble and that will certainly come in handy as the mom of three boys.

So with a restored love of basketball, I found myself the other day amidst my weekly routine of shooting baskets. Some days another mom joins and we talk potty training while getting our 3-point shots on. But this day I was alone. Well, mostly alone. You see, the gym opens up to the part of the fitness club where people are on treadmills and ellipticals and they all stare at the gym. I’d been going about my business playing various made up shooting games when I started to miss shots, like every shot zinging here and flying there.

In the middle of running from here to there and trying to make at least one basket, I heard it. I heard what was causing all of the missed shots. Like a flood the thoughts came, “what do they think about your form; is your underwear showing, you run and shoot like that, people will think you are double-dribbling; you shouldn’t shoot like that; they can tell your arm is getting tired…” And I am fairly certain that not a single soul watching from the treadmills was thinking any of those thoughts because I’ve been on the treadmills and can’t recall having any other thought than “that looks like fun” when watching people shoot baskets.

I realized that the orange ball was not going in the white net when my mind was full of wondering assumptions. When I started to think about what other people might be thinking, I adjusted my movements in response to those opinions—I stopped moving like myself and started moving like I thought other people were expecting me to move. It was so, so subtle. The thoughts and my adjustments to them were subtle but enough to make me fail to hit the target.

Upon noticing that I had started to compensate my shot in response to the thoughts in my head, I stopped, refocused and reminded myself that these 45-minutes were about me. And I started to wonder how many “shots” I’ve missed in life because I started adjusting my behavior in response to the assumed opinions of others.

Were there other times when I failed to be fully “Sommer” because I was trying to compensate for the opinions of others? Were there times when I failed act in a way that would help me hit my goals? The answer is yes, lots of times. I can think of a number of times when I’ve wanted to step out and try something new but didn’t because of what I assumed other people might think or say about it. I’ve let ideas of what other people might think keep me from doing things the way they come naturally to me. This, folks, is ridiculous. I’m not a mind reader, so it’s time to stop pretending to know what everyone’s going to think and focus on doing the things that are in our hearts, the way God has intended for us to do them. So let me ask you, have you missed any shots lately?

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