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Friday, January 23, 2009

Lessons From John Wooden

I absolutely love great quotes. There is something about the simplicity, the brevity, and the profundity of a great quote.

One of my Facebook friends put a simple quote on his status Thursday which, in very few words, hits the nail on a philosophy I've preached for years. The quote was by the legendary basketball coach, John Wooden. Coach Wooden is a man of great wisdom, insight, integrity and faith. Let me share with you this quote which, despite it's few words, spoke volumes to me:

When an opportunity comes, it's too late to prepare.

As a basketball coach, Wooden would spend countless hours preparing his players in practices and in the classroom studying film and diagrams on chalk boards. It's impossible to prepare for every specific scenario that could ever come up in a basketball game. No two basketball games are the same. The key is teaching and learning fundamentals which can be applied in any scenario which arises during the flow of a game.

Life happens whether we think we're ready or not. The thing is, God has been preparing us all along for the things which eventually happen in our lives. The question is, have we learned from life's lessons? Have we learned the fundamentals? So many people go through life, banging their heads into the very same walls and doors they've encountered repeatedly throughout their lives. There is only one way to get on the other side of those obstacles, and that's through them. We can't circumvent them. Even when you think you have, you're going to face it again at some point in your journey.

Preparation for life is not just for difficult times. I have seen many people miss out on wonderful opportunities because they hesitated. Heck, I've done it myself. I have seen people turn down jobs, relationships, ministry opportunities, and other wonderful blessings because they felt they weren't ready for them. Or at least, they weren't ready to make a decision. In those moments of hesitation, we are ignoring the lifetime of preparation which has brought us to the doorstep of personal progress.

I remember in my classroom training when I was wanting to get my first driver's license. We were taught that you can legally make a U turn at any intersection, unless there was a sign that said you cannot. I am a firm believer that God will often times be silent when we're at the gateway of opportunity. This is not because He is playing games with us. It's because He has been preparing us for this moment, and He's allowing us to draw on that preparation in faith. My personal rule is that when I'm presented with an opportunity that I need to decide on right now, I'm going to trust my instincts. Unless I see the "No U Turn" sign, that is, a direct word from the Lord, I'm going to trust in my preparation and fundamentals.

There comes a time in our lives when we have to act, one way or the other. More often than not, we do not have the luxury of saying, "let me take some time to pray about it." It's now "too late." Most often, we have to make a decision right now. This is the time in which we must draw upon our preparation for this moment.

This is the time to trust that our life's experiences have led to this moment. This is the time to trust that what God has been doing in you and through you has prepared you for this moment.

What are you going to do about it?




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