Super Bowl 51

Wow! I mean REALLY, WOW!!!

No doubt about this being one of the most memorable Super Bowl games in NFL history. The only Super Bowl game to ever go into overtime in fact.

What made it so spectacular wasn’t just all of the amazing effort and talent on the field (though, how incredible was that?!?). But more than that I was impacted by the lessons this game had for everyday life.

I don’t want this to come across cliched, nor do I want to get preachy. But at the risk being both of those, I wanted to share an observation.

I’m not really a football buff, actually I just started watching the Seahawks, my hometown team, regularly this season, so I have not been paying much attention to the Falcons. That is until they decimated the Seahawks in the post season. They were explosive! The Seahawks started to rally in the 4th quarter but it was too late.

The next game the Falcons played against the Packers was similar. If both games had gone an extra quarter, I think the results may have been very different.

Now for Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons took an early lead and dominated the first 3/4 of the game (28-3). After watching the explosiveness that the Falcons played with against the Seahawks and Packers, I was pretty sure they’d win. The first 42 minutes of the game seemed to confirm that. But then the constant pounding of the veteran machine of the Patriots started to take its toll.

It’s hard to point out when the momentum actually shifted, and until the last 3 minutes, the Patriots didn’t seem to have a chance. But we all know what happened.

The Patriots tied up the game with a two point conversion and seconds left on the board. That’s when the game ended. The Falcons were obviously tired and it was just a matter of time.

So what is the analogy here?

While talking about the power of living in God’s strength, Isaiah observes that “even youths grow weary and tired” (Isaiah 40:3). Now, I don’t know for sure that the Falcons lost because they got tired, but it sure looked like it to me. Is it possible that they did not pace themselves and burned through all of their energy before the game was over?

In every day life, we call this “burn out”. Not pacing yourself. Not creating good boundaries so that you are in good health for the completion of the job you set out to do. This is a mistake I make in small ways on a regular bases, and sometimes in big ways that forces me to remove myself from everything for a while to recover. That’s not how I want to live.

We may not ever be in a situation where we need to pace ourselves to win a big game (and over $100,00), but we face the same type of pressure all the time. Resist the urge to burn yourself out, instead pace yourself so that you can finish well. More importantly, reflect with me and analyze where your efforts are going and in whose strength you are working.

Even young men grow tired, but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.

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