How To Know For Sure That You Belong (No Matter What the Scoreboard Says)

July 19, 2013 | 37 comments

We played six-on-six girls’ basketball when I was a kid. It meant that you could only dribble twice before you had to pass the ball to one of the three teammates on your half of the court.

I usually played forward, which meant that my job was to score, or to pass to someone more likely to put the ball through the net.

I was a full head shorter than most kids my age, and was more likely to trip over my own shoelaces than to score a basket.

But if I was bad as a forward, you should have seen me as a guard.

But for some reason, the coach put me that day as a guard. Maybe she thought I’d be less dangerous there, seeing how my only job was to prevent the forwards on my side of the half-court line from scoring.

That afternoon, with shoes squeaking against the junior-high gymnasium floor in a room smelling like sweat and popcorn, I got hold of the ball. Behold: I stole it! That was a modern-day miracle, I tell you.

But that’s where the miracle unravels.

After my steal, I turned straight around and shot a basket.

It sailed through the net. A clean shot.

Trouble was, I had just scored for the wrong team.

I was mortified. My coach laughed. My teammates laughed. The boys laughed … for weeks afterward. And worse? I could even see the referee stifling laughter behind his whistle.

If you were a kid like that, you might still be standing wherever you are — right now — saying, “I ‘ll mess this one up today.” You might just figure you don’t belong wherever you are. Like you’re a complete disaster on the wrong side of whatever court you’re standing in.

You might just want to run for the hills … or at least the bathroom stall in the locker room.

For you? It could be worse than some silly basketball game.

Maybe you grew up hearing words from a parent like, “You’ll never amount to much.” Or … “You always mess it up.” And all these years later, you’ve got the rejection letters and the finger-pointers to prove it.

But friend? These are the make-or-break moments for me … and for you. These are the moments you might need to evangelize your own self for the sake of your one precious life, and for your kingdom call.

You belong. Not because of the scoreboard, or the whistle-blower, or the guys in the bleachers.

You belong because you have God Capital. Value in Christ. He says you matter — not because of your performance, but because of His Son’s performance.

***

Submitted as part of Lisa-Jo’s Five-Minute Friday challenge to write in five minutes flat.  This week’s word prompt: BELONG.

 

by | July 19, 2013 | 37 comments

37 Comments

  1. Lisa-Jo Baker (@lisajobaker)

    “You belong. Not because of the scoreboard, or the whistle-blower, or the guys in the bleachers” Amen – preach on preacher.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh you. You’re here. On your party tonight! We’re celebrating with you today, Lisa-Jo! You’re a gift to so many. You truly belong. Waving a flag for you. And His banner over us? Love, love, love… xo

      Reply
  2. Shandra

    Truly Lovely and inspirational. Touches a soft spot full of memories of ‘scoring for the wrong team”. Thankful to be on the Right side of the court now. Shandra

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh yes, Shandra. With you. And our Audience? One. Just one in the bleachers.

      Reply
  3. Dolly@Soulstops

    Jennifer,
    Wow, all that in five minutes…preach on, my friend 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Looks bigger than it is. Big font. Even bigger Jesus. 🙂

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Um-hmmm…. Thanks for being here, Jennifer.

      Reply
  4. Karrilee Aggett

    Oh yes! “You belong because you have God Capital. Value in Christ.” I love this! So glad to see you playing along with Five Minute Friday! Isn’t it great to know – and to remind ourselves and everyone else as well – that we all have Value in Christ – that THIS is what makes us belong?

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Karrilee! I love Five-Minute Friday. When I was still teaching journalism at Dordt College, I would have my students take the FMF challenge. It’s such a great exercise, and a fine community of people over at Lisa-Jo’s place. I haven’t participated in a while, but happened to be on Twitter last night and saw all the chatter about Ann being the guest-poster. I couldn’t resist. I loved the prompt!

      Reply
  5. Jacque Watkins @ Mercy Found Me

    Not because of Your performance, but because of His Son’s…Oh Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Love seeing you here at fmf!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Such fun to be a part! To belong …. Thanks, Jacque. I love the Five-Minute Friday crew, but haven’t participated in a while. Take care, friend.

      Reply
  6. Lori Harris

    Oh, how I look to the scoreboard! And the scoreboard only snuffs out my desire to do the very thing that fans my flame. Thank you Jennifer~ And by the way, your smiling face in the corner of your blog is qo very inviting. =)

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Lori! That scoreboard is a bugger. Let’s keep our eyes fixed elsewhere today, and every day. We belong, in Him! Take care, Lori. Thanks for being here.

      Reply
  7. Lisa notes...

    I’m so thankful it’s not our performance that counts! Love this: “You belong because you have God Capital.” Amen. Thanks for sharing these beautiful thoughts, Jennifer. Makes me not want to get out on a basketball court again. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Remarkably, I kept playing basketball after my scoring slip-up. I stayed in basketball through my senior year, and by then, was a starting forward. If at first you don’t succeed ….

      🙂

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      You invest it wisely, Mary, yes you do… Take care, friend.

      Reply
  8. hutch

    Thanks for this. It’s inspirational. I love the “God Capital” phrase and I agree with it for my life. My Dad instilled in me the idea that “I’d never amount to a hill-o-beans”. I was in my 40’s before my God helped me to quit believing that lie. Now I feel called to help fathers get over the guilt and shame of our divorces and find our Kingdom calling. That’s a bit different than someone slated to be less than a “hill-o-beans” (whatever that means).

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hutch, I’m so glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to meet you. And thanks be to God, that He let you know who you really are. May Christ shine through your work as you minister to fathers, spurring them on toward their work in the world. Well done, Hutch!

      Reply
  9. Mia

    Dear Jennifer
    Those are the times when we look for mountains to fall on us as long as we become invisible! But not so with our Lord. In His loving Embrace do we belong.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    Reply
  10. Genevieve Thul @ Turquoise Gates

    Your story reminded me of my first season as a hockey goalie in college. One of my teammates scored on me, and it has stuck with me to this day. Rationally, I believe that my value lies in Christ and it is only in His kingdom belonging matters. But emotionally? All that not belonging from all these years is still ruling my heart and wording my longings.

    Reply
  11. Deanne Moore

    I played six on six too 🙂 The coach switched the forwards to guards, put in the second string, and that included me. I was on the court guarding with all my heart, yelling “hey, hey, hey” with my arms flailing around to stop a pass or a shot in a gym that was filled with mostly squeaking and really no cheering. We were playing the deaf school. I realized that I was yelling at a deaf person who probably thought I was crazy. Everyone got a kick out of it—even the team from the deaf school. Maybe that game represents the awkward way I feel about my place in the world, putting out a lot of effort just to realize that I looked foolish. I want to belong but I never quite fit….

    Reply
  12. Michelle DeRusha (@MichelleDeRusha)

    I need this reminder pretty much daily, Jennifer. {and you know I’m still reading you, too, right – even though I am commenting much less than usual? Summer!}

    Reply
  13. Kathy Schwanke

    The beauty and glory of truth-I am so desperate for daily. I will probably fight this til the day I die and then look back and wonder why…

    Reply
  14. Paula Claunch (@AKAJaneRandom)

    Sigh. I miss basketball. Believe me, I did plenty of stuff just as ridiculous when I was playing! You’re right. Our value is in Christ not in our performance!

    Reply
  15. Floyd

    I appreciate the story and lesson, Jennifer. Those dreaded moments can serve us or own us, the choice is the undervalued concept of our Father’s free will.

    Reply
  16. Amy

    Boy, did this post bring back a slideshow of childhood memories — ones that make me want to cry – and cringe (like when I tried to do a layup during JV basketball tryouts and the boy I crushed on major laughed — I did not make the team). If only there had been someone in my life then to tell me I had God Capitol those experiences might not have cut so deep. This encourages me to take every opportunity to remind the people in my life (young and old) how valued they are in Christ. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  17. seespeakhearmama

    “These are the moments you might need to evangelize your own self for the sake of your one precious life, and for your kingdom call.” This line was all sorts of good. I’m going to copy it and post it and save it for a rainy day lesson for my children. Stopped by from Five Minute Friday!

    Reply
  18. Grace Biskie (@gracebiskie)

    “you might need to evangelize your own self for the sake of your one precious life…” LOVE THIS!!!!

    Reply
  19. Janel

    the words ‘you belong’ resonate deep into my soul. Thank you dear friend. May I heard his whisper resonate throughout me…’You are loved’

    Reply
  20. Nasreen Fynewever

    With you, hearts find safety. Thanks for your message of belonging. So much care to you.

    Reply
  21. Betty Draper

    There is nothing on this earth that makes me want to try again after failing then knowing I belong to the Creator of the universe. And fail we will as we walk this journey of faith. Your words have encouraged me to continue on using the talents and gifts God has given me. Great post.

    Reply
  22. Barbie

    So thankful that in Him I matter and I belong. Thank you for these beautiful words.

    Reply
  23. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for being our cheerleader, Jennifer, for reminding us that when we want to quit, “these are the moments you might need to evangelize your own self for the sake of your one precious life, and for your kingdom call.” I thank God for the other cheerleaders he has brought into my life, because their loud and enthusiastic support helps me press on. I also thank Him for the opportunities to do the same for others.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest