Getting Out of the Gutter

Martha, my friend who many of you have prayed for as she has fought such a brave and inspiring fight with cancer, has been wanting to go bowling for over a year now.

Saturday, we decided the “wanting” needed to be replaced with the “doing,”

and we planned an evening at our local bowling alley.

Tim and I hadn’t been bowling in years, so I really didn’t know what to expect as far as my bowling skills were involved.

If anyone would have warned me that they would be very comparable to my skiing skills,

I’m not sure if I would have this post to write.

The first struggle for me was finding a bowling ball that was light enough to handle yet able to comfortably hold my large thumb…..

For some reason, the manufacturer of bowling balls seems to think there is a correlation between the size of a person’s hand and the weight of their bowling ball.

I wish I could talk to them.

Because of this reality, I ended up moving back and forth through the night between a ball that wasn’t too heavy and a ball with holes big enough to keep me from panicking when I inserted my fingers and thumb.

If you’ve ever placed two of your fingers in the ends of a Chinese finger trap from Gattiland, tried to pull them out, and had a moment of panic, you know what I mean.

The difference when your thumb is stuck in a bowling ball, though, is that there is no “secret” way to release yourself from the trap.

In exchange for inserting my thumb far enough to really grasp the bowling ball, I decided to barely hold onto the ball and take the risk of accidentally releasing it as it was behind my body before each throw…………….

so I had an undercurrent of fear running through me all evening that I would be responsible for a head injury to one of our friends watching from the table at the end of our lane.

Thankfully, that never happened.

It was a really fun night, but as I’ve reflected on my pitiful scores in both games, I’ve asked myself a question I wish I would have thought to ask myself Saturday night.

Why didn’t I try throwing the ball a different way?”

Honestly, bending down and rolling the ball between my legs would have been less embarrassing then having a score of 28 in the sixth frame of the game.

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As I talked with a friend this morning and laughed about the memory,

it occurred to me that life is really no different than a game of bowling?

Do you find yourself constantly in the gutter?

Are you trying hard every single day to live a great life yet feeling like you’re coming up short?

Here’s my meager advice:

Take a good look at the lane in front of you.

Find your center.

Figure out exactly where you need to focus.

Be willing to listen to others who are showing some success.

Tackle one frame at a time.

Don’t worry about the final score.

Celebrate every good throw.

And always take time to celebrate when others have a great throw too.

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But if you keep messing up,

if you keep trying and nothing improves……………….

try something new.

Change where you’re standing.

Change how you’re holding the ball.

Change your angle.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!

Life is too short to live in the land of gutters.

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But more than anything,

don’t let your skill level define you.

Life is about so much more than a score.

I may have only seen numbers like 48 and 52 in my tenth frame Saturday night,

but if I measure the memory by the laughter we shared, my score was perfect.

And that’s what really matters!

If I’m really honest, though,

I do have an inner desire to go back and try again…………………….

Anyone up for a game?

You know I won’t make you look bad!

It is God who arms me with strength,

And makes my way perfect.

Psalm 18:

Thank you, Martha, for a super fun night!!

And a great reminder about what really matters in life!!

I love you!

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