Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Really... Football & Spiritual Insights?

Yes, that's a picture of legendary football coach Tom Landry. And no, you haven't landed in the middle of ESPN by mistake. Bear with me…

This past weekend, Michael Easley, one of our preaching ministers, referenced hall-of-fame NFL coach Tom Landry in his sermon. And I want to thank my husband, Joe, who's been a life-long fan of the game (I enjoy football, but hey...it's no Dancing with the Stars), for clueing me in on some of Mr. Landry's history.

While still a player/coach in the 1950s, Landry invented the 4-3 defense, which still remains as today's standard in the NFL. He also coached the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1988 and here are some of his pearls of wisdom:
  • “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management."
  • “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”
  • “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”
  • “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”
  • “Today, you have 100% of your life left.”
I especially love that last one. 

The particular nugget of Landry wisdom that our pastor, Michael, shared with us was one I needed to hear:
  • "Don't worry about winning the game, just make the first down."
How many times have I been so caught up in life, in the middle of a crisis, or a loss, or a struggle, or even in the midst of a fabulous time of life, but my head was spinning with everything there was to do. How on earth would I get through it?

Just make the first down.

Landry knew that if his players could make that first down--if they achieved those smaller incremental goals--that the game objective would take care of itself. So it is with life.

What's on your plate right now? Is a loved one sick? Is it a terminal illness? Are you waiting on test results to know the answer to that question? Are you working in a job you loathe? Or at the very least, feel "stuck" in? Are you worried about one of your children? Whether they'll ever be potty-trained? Or be able to be dropped off at school without clinging to your leg, crying their little eyes out? Or is your child older, and you're wondering whether you'll ever have the relationship with them that you always hoped you would? Or that they'll have the relationship with God that you daily pray they will? 

After a rather rough past year, I'm at a much better place now. But I got here one...step...at...a...time. I remember thinking to myself, "Just get through this day. Just write this next scene. Or the next page. Or the next paragraph. Just cook the next meal. Just get through it (whatever it was)."

And I did. God brought me through and my heart is more attuned toward Home than ever before. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you might remember me sharing a picture of Mom's violet that had been sorely neglected during her illness and then in passing months when Dad lived alone. Here's a picture of the violet when I brought it home to my house this past May.

Here's a picture of that same violet today...

Doesn't this say it all. And this is exactly how I feel inside. Like I'm finally coming back to life again after a very long dry spell. Granted, at my age, perhaps without so many blooms... But, you get the point.

Remember, no matter where you are, focus on making the first down. Whatever it is. And know you're not making it alone. Jesus is there. And don't worry about winning the game either. He's already won it (see John 16:33).


  1. Tamera, thank you for this message. You blessed my heart.
    When you asked:
    "How many times have I been so caught up in life, in the middle of a crisis, or a loss, or a struggle, or even in the midst of a fabulous time of life, but my head was spinning with everything there was to do. How on earth would I get through it?"
    I'm nodding my head in agreement and saying, 'YES, I have!' I can say I have been through many of them. In fact, I am just coming on the other side of one. I remember praying 'please, Lord, just give me enough light for the next step.' I guess tha would be the same as the first down :)
    He is faithful and true to His word.
    God bless you,

  2. Praying for you Miriam, and yes...He's so faithful and true to His Word! Thanks, friend.

  3. Thank you for that, Tamera. I really needed to hear that. Life is tough right now, but just making that "first down" sometimes seems more doable than trying to make touchdowns.

    Hope God blesses you today in special ways...
    Your sister in Christ,
    Sarah G.

  4. Praying for you, Sarah, and all that's "tough" right now. Step-by-step is how Jesus leads us, and I'm so thankful. He knows the road ahead, every twist and turn and pothole, and will guide us through it all. Asking those special Lord's Day blessings for you too, friend!


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