I went and played disc golf yesterday with my buddy Will Roberts.
For one, it was pretty cold. But it was that kind of annoying cold where, in the sun with no wind, it was comfortably warm. In the shade or with wind, it felt as if we were trapped in a meat locker. Nevertheless, we went and played together. Will has never really played. I’ve played for about 7 years or so. And I’m still pretty average at best. Will was pretty good for his second time ever playing. It was a good time.
There are lots of ways to throw a frisbee. And the hardest way, for me, is to throw it backhand, which would be the normal way you throw any frisbee for most people. I’ve been trying to get that part of my game a little better, but I just have a hard time controlling where I release the disc. I always tend to throw it up (get me a bucket) or I release it on a bad angle. I try to get a clean throw while also trying to absolute bomb the throw and consequently destroy my rotator cuff (at least it feels like that sometimes). But I’m working on it. Honestly, I pretty much know how to fix it. I just don’t listen to this advice. But it’s pretty simple.
Just don’t throw it so hard.
If I try to just absolutely rip it, then it typically is bad. 2/9 will be decent, but it usually isn’t a great throw. I’ve found, though, if I choke it down, I can get a great throw out of it. I will throw it on a flat angle with about 80% power and it flies like a champ. I was trying to explain this concept to Will. And he picked it up really well. But I have to train myself to lower my scope. It’s not the lowering of standards. I want a good, long, accurate throw. It’s the lowering of my perception of my capabilities. I can’t get that off the tee if I throw it as hard as I can. It just won’t happen right now.
This is exactly what spiritual growth is like. Almost 100%.
I know exactly what to do to grow in Christ and in my relationship with Him. I need to read my Bible daily, study it extensively, and take some notes. I need to pray several times a day, and I mean like real prayers. I need to start reading some Christian literature, especially on how to battle sin in my life and how to share the Gospel. I need to be sharing the Gospel with everyone that I can. I also need to study the Word and solidify reasons for, “the hope that [I] have…” says 1 Peter 3:15. I need to spend as much time as I can in Christian community. Guess what I don’t have, though? The ability, desire, knowledge, and strength to do all of that.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We have limitations, especially spiritually. If you have never created a habitual plan for personal growth, you cannot go straight into spending 2 hours a day studying the Bible. It’s not about lowering your standards. Your standard is perfection. You must do everything in your power to reach it. But it is very much about knowing your limitations. Let me give you an example of this. I suck at praying. I really do. I can’t focus on it if I can’t pray out loud. But what I can focus on is the words of a song. Instead of trying to make myself pray in quiet when I know that I can’t do it, I put on a worship song, and I sing the words to the Lord in my head. The longer I do this, the more I am training myself to talk to Christ in my head. Eventually, I will transition it into silent prayer. But I can’t start there now because I know I’m incapable.
You have to know your own limitations. That huge list of things I need to do to grow as effectively as possible is impossible for me to fulfill at this point. I’m not mature enough to do all of that, every day, as it needs to be done. I’m far from that. But I do have a smaller version of that that I stick to (check out the podcast on that here). I will eventually do more. Right now, I’m doing what I know I can do. You have to give yourself the proper environment to grow in order to actually grow. You don’t get stronger by lifting the heaviest weights. You lift a little more each time until you get to that huge max.
I want to be able to come up to the tee and bomb a 350 foot throw out of the gate. I can’t do that right now. What I can do, however, is practice. And choke it down a little. And throw a little softer. Then, the more I do this, the more my mechanics will catch up with my goals, and I’ll be able to throw that long throw that I want.
I want to be able to wake up check my sin at the door. I want to be able to know everything about the Bible and Christ and His will for my life. I want to be a prayer warrior. I want to be a vessel for Christ. I want to feel secure on every single I believe in. I want to spend as much time with Christ as I can. But I can’t do that now. I’m incapable at this point. So, I slow down a little. I stick to my strengths, building a little every so often. It’s not about how you run the race, it’s about finishing the race. I must trust Christ to build me up. I provide for Him the broken pieces. He puts them together.
Know your limitations. We think we need to be Billy Graham, but we’re actually only capable of being us. Know who you are. Put yourself in the spiritual position to succeed.
When I’m playing disc golf, if I want to play well and get better, it’s simple– don’t throw so hard.
When I’m in pursuit of the Cross, I have to remember that it’s not about what I think I have to do eventually. It’s about what I can do right now.
And what we can all do right now is ask Christ to help us grow closer to Him.
Slow down a little. It’s not about quantity of growth. It’s about quality of growth.