This weekend I watched bull riding, Professional Bull Riding (PBR). One rider, J.B. Mauney, has had a difficult year. He has had personal issues as well as riding issues. He has suffered with injuries, which is fairly common in bull riding, and he seems, according to commentators, to be having a mental attitude problem. As the season comes to a close, he is ranked eleventh. He finished last year ranked third. Many hoped that this would win the world championship this year.
I imagine J.B. feels that in someway he has let people down. While we are not all world ranked bull riders, we do know the feeling. We know the feeling of letting ourselves down when our lives do not live up to a personal expectations. We know how painful it is when we have to face our family when we fail. And we know the humiliation of not getting the job done. We all have a desire to do well, and it is a disappointment when we do not do well.
Sometimes we try to avoid the negative feelings, the looks, and the disappointment by avoiding those we have let down. We stop going to family events because we are ashamed of our life choices. After all the others in our family are doing so much better than us. How can we go home? We avoid church because God is there. We know how to live as a Christian, and the things in our life are definitely not the way God wants us to live.
Sometimes we try to avoid ourselves. We look for all sorts of ways to distract ourselves from thinking too much. We make sure that the television is always on to distract our minds. We self-medicate so that our brain is in too much of a fog to allow the feelings to rise up. We work constantly so that we never have time to deal with us.
Whatever method we use, avoidance gets us no where. We all disappointment ourselves and others occasionally. We are all human. We make mistakes. We choose different actions than we know to be correct. We sin. We do the very things we hate.
Yet, no matter what we have done or are doing, God loves each one of us. God will forgive those who ask for forgiveness. God is waiting to be invited into your situation to help you change the situation. For God to redeem us and our lives, we need to let go of the guilt and the shame. We need to stop avoiding ourselves and others. We need to move forward from this point, accepting God’s forgiveness and love while we forgive and love ourselves. The feelings of guilt and shame can destroy us if we let them, but God offers us new life. With God all things are possible.
So let us move forward. J.B. Mauney is getting for the world championships. While he does not have the points to win, he can ride well in the event. He can do his personal best, one bull ride at a time. We can do our personal best, one situation at a time. Go with God.