In celebration of the NBA season that recently kicked off in October, I decided to release this post which I wrote sometime after my birthday this summer.
As I moved out of my teen years I remember feeling this sense of urgency and responsibility to grow up and walk in my purpose. I started seeing a lot of posts about #Adulting and this weighed quite heavy on me. After thinking about it, I think what scared me the most was the need to make deliberate choices and intentional changes to help steer me towards my goal. This requires constant evaluation and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And guess what, that is extremely HARD.
I’m assuming most people are familiar with the term ‘Jordan Year’ which refers to your 23rd year because it was the jersey number for the Hall of Fame Basketball player, Michael Jordan. It is supposedly meant to mark the year where you make ‘history’ and achieve great feats of success just as Jordan achieved on the basketball court many years ago. After turning 21 this past summer and being a huge NBA fan, I thought why not select a player that reflects what this new age could mean for me. That player is Kevin Garnett.
Kevin Garnett is considered by some as one of the most dominant defenders of his time as well as one of the most passionate players in the history of the National Basketball Association. He was a promising high school basketball star and one of the few to be drafted straight into the professional league in the draft class of 1995 (Yes, he came before the Kobe Bryant and Lebron James of recent years). Kevin showed enormous talent and performed quite well in the league, so much so he won league MVP in the 2003-2004 season. Like all basketball players, he had the dream and hope of one day winning a NBA championship. Unfortunately, that dream seemed like it would never be realized as his team the Minnesota Timberwolves never seemed to advance much in championships. Sadly, he was soon traded to the Boston Celtics by the end of the 2006-2007 NBA season and so began the era of ‘super teams’ in the NBA. The Celtics were renowned as one of the most successful teams in NBA history, apart from that Garnett was surrounded by great talents such as young players like Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo as well as seasoned veterans like Ray Allen. This ensemble was completed with the presence of former player turned coach Doc Rivers, who seemed to be able to coordinate this diverse group of guys perfectly. Now, this seems like such a recipe for success right?
Well, it took a lot of hard work, perseverance and determination. Just by watching clips of that season and seeing interviews with the players, you can get an idea of how badly they wanted to win and how hard they fought to make their dream a reality. It seemed the odds were against them, especially going against the juggernaut from the Western Conference know as the Los Angeles Lakers led by Kobe Bryant (they were historically the more favored team due to their recent championship wins, but are actually almost equal to the Celtics in terms of franchise success in the NBA)
What does this all have to do with me? Well as I celebrated my ‘Garnett’ Year, I kept reading this verse
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent taketh it by force” (Matthew 11:12, KJV).
My initial thought after reading this verse was I need to violently pursue my purpose. No more of this laid back and passive attitude towards life. I mean enough of always talking about things, reading about things and thinking on things, it’s time to act and put things into action. Now, the “violence” referenced here is of the holy kind not the physical kind (#HolyViolence). For me, it means diligently pursuing that thing that can usher you into your purpose. In verse 2 of the same chapter in Matthew 11, John states
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
I wonder where he got the boldness to ask such a blunt question! And I wonder how focused he must have been. He knew of the prophecy (Matthew 3:3) and that he had to fulfill his mission regardless of what might have been occurring around him. I mean at this time, John is imprisoned so he didn’t really have time for hanky panky or pleasantries. Even though, other people were boasting of the miracles and great things Jesus was doing, John went straight to the point and asked ‘Are you the one I’ve been preparing the way for?”.
It can be frustrating feeling like your constantly putting things out but it’s not bearing any fruits, or you don’t feel fulfilled and doubts and dissatisfaction starts to creep in. It is so easy then to either give up or carry on struggling and doing what you’ve been doing before. But, what if instead one stops and evaluates things.
This is when we run to Jesus and surrender our lives to Him so he can direct us and give our life a clear purpose. It is in the little things we find victory. In the daily habits we build. Remember God is a rewarder of those that diligently (fervently/earnestly) seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Honestly, I pray God gives us all that same boldness and focus to fearlessly and violently pursue that task he has given us to complete.
One of the most iconic images from the 2008 NBA Championships is the image of Kevin Garnett standing in the middle of the basketball court, head lifted up to the heavens, arms stretched wide and cameras littered everywhere, screaming to the sky “Anything is Possible!”. What might seem impossible from human perspective is made possible with God (paraphrase of Matthew 19:26)
What ways do you hope to embody this ‘Garnett’ mindset?
We are grateful for where you have brought us from and where we are now. We thank you because we are no longer where we used to be and we thank you for the hope you have given us for our future. We are grateful for the lessons you have taught us and are currently teaching us. We thank you for the peaceful harvest of rightful living that we believe will be our portion even after this season of life (Hebrews 12:11). We commit the rest of this year and the rest of our lives on Earth into your hands. Take control Lord, and grant us renewed strength and a clearer vision to violently and diligently pursue after your purpose for our lives. At the end of it all, let all glory return to you and let your blessings be our portion, in Jesus name.
Mo 🙂 x
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