The Basketball Hoop

I hear that there are people who enjoy exercising. They thrive on it.

I’d like to spend some time with this foreign species and soak up some of their enthusiasm and motivation, osmosis-like.

Because I’m more in the exercise-is-really-a-form-of-torture camp. It’s a bit like childbirth for me: painful enough that I need to minimize any aspects that are remotely frustrating in order to pull through it.

I tried walking (not running, mind you) through my neighborhood with my husband and kids. That was stress galore: different paces, fear of cars slamming into children, sippy cups going AWOL…

So, I changed course and crafted a plan I could follow: walking solo on a path of my choosing, the time of day, pace, and duration determined by me alone.

I laced up my comfy, new shoes and set out, more concerned about finishing than inches or pounds lost.

For a few days, it worked. I snaked a course through the neighborhood that fit my ability and endurance. I began to appreciate the time alone to clear my mind. I was getting into a comfortable groove.

Until I came to an obstacle:

It was smack in the center of my path, and I spent a few good minutes huffing internally about the selfish individuals who would choose to block a public sidewalk. How annoying. Now I had to alter my course.

I stepped onto the grass, grumbling that I had to break my stride.

And then I nearly laughed at how ridiculous I was being. Yes, the owners of the basketball hoop could have been considerate and placed it out of the way of passers-by, but they didn’t. I could waste my time getting worked up about it, becoming all ugly inside. I could rail against this obstacle being in my way.

Or, I could simply go around it.

Pick my battle.

Shift my perspective.

How often do I react this way in other areas of my life?

A hurtful word spoken, a child’s tantrum, a missed invitation, disappointments, stresses…these are all things that can be “in my way.”

When they cause my temperature to rise, I can ask:

  • Is this an annoyance, or a real problem?
  • Do I need to deal with this issue directly, or can I choose another path?
  • Is this issue worth the energy I’ll need to put into addressing it?
  • Can I look for another way to frame the issue?

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. –Psalm 23:3

Those paths won’t be what I expect, as His ways are not my ways. Because of sin, there will be obstacles on the path.

Sometimes, the answer is to simply…

Go around them.

Β ***

​How do you overcome obstacles that threaten to trip you up?

What “basketball hoops” have you encountered lately?

15 Responses to The Basketball Hoop
  1. Deb
    July 30, 2013 | 5:33 pm

    Mandy, I love you questions. Great ways to keep us calm and focused on the important. I especially liked – “is it worth the energy it will take to address it?” Most of the time the answer is no. Unless of course we’re molding children or training a puppy. Thanks for this great and thought provoking post.

    • Mandy
      July 30, 2013 | 7:46 pm

      Thanks, Deb! I think you’re right. Most of the time, situations aren’t worth the energy it takes to address them. It’s easy to get worked up for nothing. Now, to take my own advice;)

  2. Mary
    July 31, 2013 | 7:43 am

    This is SO me!! I really have to work on deciding what is worth getting upset about…but I AM working on it! πŸ™‚ Love these thoughts Mandy!!

    • Mandy
      July 31, 2013 | 7:50 am

      Sadly, it is often after the fact that I realize I have wasted my energy on something that wasn’t worth it! But I’m working on it, too:) Praise God for mercy, eh? Thanks, Mary!

  3. Laura Rath
    July 31, 2013 | 9:02 am

    I like the thought of considering issues like this…is the something I have to deal with or can I go around it? Thanks Mandy!

    • Mandy
      July 31, 2013 | 9:11 am

      It’s a new way to consider things for me too, Laura. In the past, I’ve gotten a bit dejected with each additional issue I felt I needed to contend with. Maybe there are times when God is not asking me to tackle something. It’s simply a distraction. Thanks, Laura!

  4. Katharine Barrett
    July 31, 2013 | 2:30 pm

    These are great questions Mandy. I love the idea of choosing which battles to fight, I know I often think I need to address all of them πŸ™‚

    • Mandy
      July 31, 2013 | 3:29 pm

      Thank you, Katharine. It’s something I have to remind myself often!

  5. nikki
    July 31, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    You just know how to put things into perspective for me, don’t ya πŸ˜‰ Great post!

    • Mandy
      July 31, 2013 | 3:32 pm

      πŸ™‚ Thank you, Nikki! It’s easy to set forth a framework, but it’s a whole other thing to follow it! I think God inspired me with the basketball hoop analogy simply to cement the concept in my own life. Boy, has He been reminding me to let things go!

  6. Renette Steele
    July 31, 2013 | 3:34 pm

    Great thoughts, may i add that often once we have gone around we find there was a great danger around or very near the obstacle and that is why GOD put it in our path to protect us from the danger we are headed towards. Some times those inconveniences are His Way of carrying us through the rough stuff. But we often view it as the problem instead of His protection.

  7. Ginny Kubitz Moyer
    July 31, 2013 | 6:26 pm

    I love the honesty of your post and I can relate to the “little obstacles being blown out of proportion” thing. Somewhere in my desk, I have a card that states, “Any idiot can face a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.” (It’s a quotation from someone famous; can’t recall who.) I had to laugh because often the little annoyances loom SO large in my consciousness, and I have to remind myself not to let them have so much power over me.

  8. Ellen
    August 1, 2013 | 7:18 am

    How often we let little things make us bitter instead of better. Thanks for sharing. It was a good reminder for me.

  9. Mary Carsten
    August 1, 2013 | 8:36 am

    Mandy, great post on obstacles in life! Nice way to put that into words everyone can relate to!!! Love your writing!

  10. Alecia
    August 1, 2013 | 11:31 am

    God’s been speaking to me this week about giving grace when I don’t want to. Picking and choosing my battles. This post really spoke to me this morning. Beautiful, Mandy.