A few years ago, our second son Marcus tried out for a city traveling basketball team. This would be his first time playing on a team and Marcus went though a series of call backs to get on the team. My husband and I knew he had skills beyond belief; after all both of us played the sport. Most parents believe their children are the stars of the team and we were no exception. It took a few games and more importantly an embracing of the gifts he’d been given to be a power center that season and help lead his team to the city championship game.
Marcus is blessed with two gifts, his height and his arm length. His height is valuable for getting a birds eye view seeing over his peers and opponent. His arm length is valuable for rebounding, jump balls, blocking and taking up space intimidating the opponent. Both gifts Marcus didn’t realize how to use the first couple games he played.
In those first two games, I noticed Marcus would frequently keep his hands down. It looked like someone took invisible double sided extra strength sticky tape which held his arms to the side of his body. Of course he would move them from time to time however not fully aware of their potential to block, rebound, or guard.
Marcus didn’t realize his potential and how to use the gifts to benefit his team. He had a great coach and of course his favorite sideline coaches his mom and dad encouraging and cheering him on. I am not afraid to admit I was involved in the game! You could see me providing unsolicited feedback when appropriate. Having played the sport and sitting on the sidelines you see the game from another perspective. More importantly, Marcus needed to see himself from a new perspective and that was with his hands up!
After these first two games, I decided to video Marcus’ movement in the game and shared with him. We watched together and in a moment, a huge smile came across his face. He saw himself for the first time with his hands down for the majority of the game. He saw missed blocked shots, missed rebounds, missed opportunity to lead his team to victory!
Immediately the coach starting working with Marcus at practice focusing on using those arms to his advantage. We then hit the gym and practiced reinforcing the importance of hands up! Over the next few games, Marcus began to embrace his gifts. He saw himself with hands up! He began rebounding more, scoring more points in games and blocking shots. You saw the soft smile of confidence. It was his moment! The Ahh-ha moment and realizing his gifts of height and arm width; throwing his hands up leading his team.
For whatever reason we don’t always embrace our gifts given to us with “hands up” to receive or a surrendered heart toward the potential placed inside of us. We may see life through preconceived ideas or our on “homegrown philosophy”. As a result, we never throw our hands up in a surrender as to say we embrace the gifts we’ve been given to be a blessing to others. Why? We either don’t see the gifts as relevant or we begin to compare our gifts to other people’s gifts. Beloved, this is a dangerous place to be. What we are ultimately telling God is: “I believe the gifts you’ve given me are not good enough to walk out the plan for my life.”
Through the rest of the season, Marcus had the opportunity to keep his hands down, but he chose not to! He chose to embrace his gifts he’d been given and played with his hands up. What gifts do you need to embrace and then surrender? How will you allow God to show you that your gifts have value and are for the winning team? Time to throw your hands up to embrace the gifts you’ve been given and realize that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation neither shat that is cast by turning.” James 1:17
By the way, this is the picture from almost half time at the championship game! Safe to say, we won!