A 3-D Relationship with God: Difficult, Dangerous, and Disheartening





Bang. Bang.

Miss. Miss.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Miss. Miss. Miss.

Dang! Dang! Dang!

If I had to hunt for a living, I’d starve.

I started thinking about the ONE and failure on a Saturday after an evening of trap shooting. In case you’re just tuning in, I wrote in a previous post about hitting no targets. I sucked.

Some descriptions I heard that evening about bad shooting…

He couldn’t hit the water if he was standing in the ocean.

He couldn’t hit the broad side of a silo even if he were inside it.

Nobody said that about my attempts. It was just general conversation. And I know I could hit the water or the silo given those circumstances. But hitting easy targets doesn’t build up anyone’s confidence.

When you feel incapable and you’re surrounded by capable folks, you want to slink away to a place where, contrary to the catchy tune of a popular sitcom, no one knows your name.

What message are you sharing with others?

Incapable equals uncomfortable. The stronger the sense a gap exists between me and everyone else, “they’re capable and I’m not,” the greater the discomfort. And the easiest way to deal with that kind of discomfort is simply to go somewhere else.

So if I’m lousy at trap shooting, I’ll try something else.


Rats! I’m lousy there too.

But I change the goal in such a way that I can compete. In golf, my goal is to find more balls than I lose. So, although I haven’t a clue about my golf swing or how to improve my putt, I know the best places to find lost golf balls.

What about my relationship with the ONE?

Here are some things I know.

1)      He’s capable. I’m not.

2)      His capability makes me uncomfortable. Rather, my known incapability in His presence creates enormous discomfort. I’m very aware that I fall short.

3)      I don’t enjoy that awareness.

4)      The lack of joy carries me away from Him. I’ll write off this lack as boredom or “not my thing” or uncertainty. But if I’m honest, relationship with the ONE is difficult, dangerous, and disheartening.

When I think of those three qualities, it’s the last one that troubles me the most. I don’t mind difficult. In fact, I like being able to master a challenge—hitting a baseball, shooting three pointers, playing championship chess (in my dreams), using the television remote (typically not difficult for men—we were born for remote–but giving up control of said remote, yeah, that’s Mt. Everest-type daunting).

Dangerous too tends to be a bit bracing for the soul. That’s why people skydive, bungee jump, rock climb, ride motorcycles, and eat lutefisk and jalapenos (typically not in the same meal or within the same zip code).

Disheartening though is building a fill-the-room-detailed-to-scale model of Buckingham Palace out of toothpicks and tissue paper only to see the dog tear into your construction like, well, toothpicks and tissue paper. And, no, that didn’t happen to me but I bet you’ll remember that image tonight when you go to sleep.

Disheartened, I need someone to offer me the hope I can do better—not only do better but be better. If I have no hope of being or doing better, I will quit. I have no need to plant a garden over and over again with never a harvest. I have no need to return to the ONE in order to hear Him say, “You missed again.”

No one on earth wants to hear the you’re-not-good-enough message.

So why do we go there so often with ourselves and with other people?

And is that really the message the ONE speaks into our world?

Question: What message do you tell yourself and others about the ONE?

About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
This entry was posted in Lessons from Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A 3-D Relationship with God: Difficult, Dangerous, and Disheartening

  1. Brandon says:

    Great stuff!

  2. tnealtarver says:

    Thanks. I enjoyed your post as well.

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