“My eyes are continually toward the Lord…” — Psalm 25:15 (NASB)
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We see it so often in sports: A team or individual appears to have the game or the play sewn up, only to experience a sudden lapse in concentration, causing them to make an uncharacteristic mistake that sometimes greatly costs them. We shake our heads and wag our fingers and wonder what in the world happened!
Yet, if we were honest, we would realize that we are prone to do much the same thing when it comes to certain parts of our lives. We focus and work toward certain objectives, only to have our attention betray us in significant moments that end up creating more work or trouble for ourselves in the long run.
Former Olympian and gold medalist figure skater Scott Hamilton addressed this once in regards to a certain skater’s performance he was critiquing. He talked about how important it is to not “get too excited about completing the hard stuff.” Many skaters tend to relax a bit too much after they’ve gotten their toughest jumps out of the way in their program, leading to a mistake on something relatively routine. As he termed it, “You’ll go down on the easy stuff.” He advised all skaters to simply stay in the moment. Keep your head in the game.
When it comes to spiritual matters, we all could use this reminder as well. Often, we pay close attention to the big moral stuff in our lives, making sure we don’t mess up in the major areas. But there’s a lot of little stuff we relax on, causing us to unnecessarily stumble in ways that, with a little more intentionality, would allow us to increase our level of spiritual growth and success.
Psychologists note that you’ll often end up doing what you most think about. If you tell somebody to avoid hitting a tree when they’re skiing past it, chances increase that they’ll hit the tree because they were too focused on … you got it: not hitting the tree. In the same way, we can get so focused on making sure we make the right moral and spiritual moves that, when we feel we’re succeeding in the big stuff, little things will crop up to remind us we’re not done with the program yet. There’s more to go.
Every successful team, business or relationship thrives on learning how to pay attention to the little things. Yes, the big stuff matters. But it’s often the minutia that determines the level of success that an organization or individual will achieve. It’s easy to land the much-practiced big moves, but the smaller ones that create the foundation for long-term stability matter just as much. In skating terms, you need to skate a clean program all the way through and not just rest on your laurels because you landed the big jumps.
Truth be told, it’s all hard. Because life itself is hard, and like any good athlete, we need to be applying ourselves to all aspects of it. The game isn’t over until God takes us home. And until then, we need to keep our heads in the game.
— Katherine Singer
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