Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, March 21 - Breathe & Smile

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.” — Ecclesiastes 8:15

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I was humbled and grateful for the opportunity a head coach gave me recently to speak and share with his team before their conference tournament championship game. As the stage was being set, there was no doubt that nerves and pressure would start to settle in. I vividly remember sharing these simple key words: breathe and smile.

My mind started racing back and rehearsing some big games and moments I experienced, both as a player and a coach. Too many times I failed to slow down to breathe and enjoy the moment God was allowing me to participate in or experience.

The moment could look like a game, a play, an interview, a speaking engagement, a conversation. Or it could be more significant like a wedding ceremony, the birth of a son or daughter. Throughout our lives, we will certainly face these kinds of moments, situations and experiences. Again, my best advice is to “breathe and smile” through it all.

Make time to take a few deep breaths and praise God for the moment while you inhale and exhale. Think of the journey, the process, the climb that brought you to this mountain. Breathing allows us to slow down and fully appreciate the experience. Think of the individuals, family members, teammates, spouse, parents who have been with you on this journey. Breathe and thank God for placing them in your life. Name them individually and whisper a prayer of praise to God as you slowly breathe, inhaling and exhaling each breath.

With each deep and concentrated breath, you can fully enjoy the play, the celebration, the moment of watching your bride walk down the aisle, or the moment your child is born. Intentional breathing allows me to pause the noise and rush of life, even to enjoy the simple moment of a family meal with all four kids and my wife sitting at the dinner table, laughing and sharing stories. Whatever that moment or situation looks like for you, just breathe. We enjoy God at the top of the mountain, but we experience God during the climb.

Smiling lets the world, and your own self, know you are truly enjoying the experience. God created enjoyment and loves to see His children having fun and enjoying these moments. Smile, and even laugh, at a few of the mistakes you made along the way. Smile at the memories you created during the season. Smile and think through the pain, the hurt, and the lessons of the journey — ultimately what God was teaching you and growing in you.

As this particular team went out to defeat their opponent, I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on the faces of the coaches and players, their families, and the 3,000-plus fans that packed their arena. My prayer is that when the coaching staff and their players tip off for their first-ever experience of participating in the NCAA Tournament, they will remember to “breathe and smile.”

— Jim Good

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