Wednesday, July 27, 2005


“Let us be always seeking the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another.” --Romans 14:19

The coach gave his team one last reminder before sending them out: “Just shoot. For now, don’t worry about how close you come. Just get that ball and shoot.”

Those eight-year old boys took his pep talk seriously. They charged up and down the court with wide eyes and tongues poking out of corners of mouths as they fought to get their hands on that basketball. Once a teammate had a hold of it, the others waved their skinny arms and set up a chorus of “Gimmee!” and “Over here!” and “I’m open!”

Those who managed to grab the ball did just what the coach had asked: they shot--regardless of how close they were to the basket. Regardless of their aim. It was a shooting frenzy out there. Most had figured out that the only chance to make it was to try.

Except for one small boy. He loitered near the edge of the court, watching the action and trying hard to keep out of the fray. His little toothpick arms never lifted--not once. I never heard him yell for the ball or beg for a pass or try in any way to remind the others that he was still there, still wearing that too-big jersey, still part of the team. He just stood and watched.

About halfway through the game, the boy backed into one corner of the court, directly in front of me, and I heard him muttering in a string of all-together words: “Don’tgivemetheball … don’tgivemetheball … don’tgivemetheball.”

My heart went out to him. He looked terrified, but of what? I wondered. What’s the worse that could happen--he’d miss? The other boys were missing shots all around him. He’d be in good company.

I wanted to encourage him, but before I could say a word, a teammate sidled up next to him and did it for me. “You can do it. You can do it--don’t be scared.”

Those few words made a difference. A mere minute later, someone tossed the ball toward that small boy. He looked down at the orange orb in his hands, chucked it at the basket … missed by a mile … and grinned at his own courage.

We're all just a bunch of skinny, eight-year old kids on some level. Our tasks sometimes back us into a corner. Our legs sometimes struggle to keep us standing. We're afraid of trying because we're afraid of failing. And like all frightened kids everywhere, we need a nudge to get us past our fear. Life can be lonely, frightening, and downright difficult if we don’t have loving nudgers walking alongside us, whispering words of encouragement. As Paul reminded us in Philippians 1:30a, “We are in this fight together.” (NLT) Maybe today you need to be a cheerleader for someone. Or maybe today, you need a cheer.

Don't be afraid. Keep trying. You can do it!

12 Comment:

At 7/27/2005 9:57 AM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

Shannon, I think it is one of the most rewarding things to see a child or teen or even an adult finally break free from the "don'tgivemetheball' feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness and begin to soar like the eagles. And as you pointed out so well, sometimes it just takes a little encouragement and recognition from someone.
Your illustration should be reminder to us all.....in our homes, churches and neighborhoods.

At 7/27/2005 10:17 AM, Blogger gary had this to say ...

That's a sweet story :) (I found your site through blogexplosion)

At 7/27/2005 10:21 AM, Blogger La Jonquille had this to say ...

What a lovely story to begin my day with. I read your blog daily, and you never fail to insire me or make me smile. Thanks!

La Jonquille

At 7/27/2005 10:28 AM, Blogger whaaaat! had this to say ...

For me it was always standing in right field saying "don'thitittome".
How many examples we have of ordinary people that God used to do great things. I'm sure all of them needed an encourager to help get them going and trusting in God.

At 7/27/2005 2:26 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

I agree, Jimmy. We all need to be reminded. Just the tiniest bit of encouragement can make all the difference in the world to someone feeling overwhelmed.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Gary--and thanks for letting me know Blog Explosion sent you. :)

Hello La Jonquille! I love your name. Is that your real name? Very pretty. Thanks for your comment. :)

You made me smile, T. I can see you out in that field.

At 7/28/2005 12:14 AM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

I loved this post. You should put these posts into a devotional or something. :)

At 7/28/2005 10:46 AM, Blogger steve had this to say ...

Good stuff!

At 7/28/2005 11:54 AM, Blogger La Jonquille had this to say ...

Hello La Jonquille! I love your name. Is that your real name? Very pretty. Thanks for your comment. :)

You've welcome! =)

It's not my real name; but since I'm 13 I can't give out my real one on the web. I chose this one because jonquils always cheer me up.

Anyway, thanks again for this blog. Kim is right; you should host a devotional. I would certainly subscribe to yours! You are an amazing writer, and you're using your talent to reach out to people and touch them with the word of God.



At 7/28/2005 6:55 PM, Anonymous OldGuy had this to say ...

Quite true Shannon, sometimes it takes a push or an encouraging word to help us see that we can do something or that we should at least try.

Lovely post as always.

At 7/29/2005 2:00 AM, Blogger purple_kangaroo had this to say ...

Awww, what a great post.

At 7/29/2005 9:08 AM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Life can be lonely, frightening, and downright difficult if we don’t have loving nudgers walking alongside us, whispering words of encouragement.

Shannon, this should be carved in stone.

At 8/03/2005 11:06 PM, Blogger supermom had this to say ...

I am soo happy that I came across your blog. This is exactly what I love to do: to edify, encoursge and empower others to be all the Lord desires them to be. It is imperative that people understand that we are not here just for ourselves, but to touch others lives in a way that will change them for the better... for eternity. Thank you for your beautiful poetic words. It was a pleasure visiting your site. Be blessed.


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