Keeping The Joy Of The Game

Keeping The Joy Of The Game

Oklahoma University’s softball team is going viral, not for their win over Florida State in the Women's College World Series, but for their postgame interview about, none other than — the King of Kings, Jesus.

I don’t follow softball and didn’t know who these girls were before this, but they out here makin’ Jesus famous and I’m here for it! In the postgame interview, ESPN asked them, “how do you keep the joy of the game?” Here’s what they had to say.


Real Joy

The only way that you can have a joy that doesn't fade away is from the Lord. — Grace Lyons

Grace nailed this! Because of a lot us don’t understand the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is circumstantial. It can change by the time or situation. But joy comes from within. Our joy [in Christ] is attached to something and Someone so much greater than a circumstance or fleeting moment (Romans 15.13).

What does this joy look like? It’s the joy of knowing that we are saved in Christ (from eternal penalty and destruction from our sin). It’s the joy of knowing that when this life passes away, we’ll be with Him forever and ever with no more pain or suffering. It’s the joy that every enemy we could ever face has been defeated by His power. It’s the joy from knowing that no matter what we’ve said or done, God’s love for us is relentless and unmatched. It’s the joy of knowing that we are perfectly loved, and that in Him, we are enough.

I was so happy that we won the college series but I didn't feel joy. I didn't know what to do the next day. I didn't know what to do that following week. I didn't feel filled, and I had to find Christ in that. — Jayda Coleman

I think one of the reasons we often lose our fire for Jesus (or never get it) is because we allow happiness to compete with our joy. The only way we can be fulfilled and stay relentless for Jesus is by making sure our joy is in the right place and Person.

Eyes Up!

"You can't find fulfillment in an outcome, whether it's good or bad.” — Alyssa Brito

"Fixing our eyes on Christ," as Alyssa shared, is the founding principle here at Keepin’ It Jesus, that is, keeping our eyes to Him. Keeping the main thing, the main thing (Jesus), amid a noisy world that wants us to look at and follow any and everything else but Him. It also means that, like Jesus, we operate with the eternal in mind.

God has given us many things to enjoy but even a good thing can become a bad thing if used outside of its proper time, way, and place; including and especially anything that we elevate above God or put into His place (idolatry).

All too often, and even with good intentions, we become fixed on an outcome because of what it’ll bring or who it’ll help. And sometimes we can focus so much on an outcome that we can’t be fulfilled without it. So the outcome becomes a source of fulfillment for us, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently. But outcomes, like happiness, are situational. They can change for or against us in an instant. And even if we get the outcome we want, we’re soon onto the next one for our next fulfillment.

It’s not wrong or bad to want or expect a desired outcome. It’s good to have something to look forward to. We all need that every day. But it’s not Christ-centered to place an unhealthy amount of hope and our ultimate fulfillment in a circumstantial outcome.

One of the things God has been working with me on is learning to trust Him in all outcomes vs. trusting Him just for an outcome. Why? Because He’s Lord over all the outcomes — good or bad. He holds them all in His hands! And when we place our trust in Him for more than just a singular outcome, He takes care of the outcome and takes care of us no matter how it turns out.

Making Jesus famous

We know this game is giving us the opportunity to glorify God. Once we figured that out and that was our purpose and everyone was all in with that, it's really changed so much for us. … Once I turned to Jesus and I realized how He had changed my outlook on life, not just softball, but understanding how much I have to live for. And that's living to exemplify the Kingdom. And I think that brings so much freedom. — Alyssa Brito

As followers of Jesus, we don’t have a stage to make it about us. We have a platform, a place to reflect the ways of God. It’s not for your fame, it’s for His glory! Oh how often we miss this… And the freedom that comes with it. Truth is, when God is in His proper place in our lives, we don’t have to perform for acceptance and validation. He loves us where we are and brings us up to where He is (Ephesians 2.6).

There’s lots of ways to go viral or become famous today, and many people dedicate ridiculous amounts of time to just be seen. It’s exhausting tbh. But the only way to make Jesus famous is to not just give Him the credit on platforms He’s given us, but to live by His character and ways — exemplifying the Kingdom, publicly and privately. We’re human and we’re broken, and we won’t always get it right. But we have to keep Jesus the main thing!

Jesus said (speaking about the cross), that if He be lifted up, He would draw all people unto Him (John 12.32). That’s true as well for when we lift Him up on our platforms, conversations, and spaces. If we wear Him well, people will see God for who He really is.

If we even care about making Jesus famous at all, we often do not, making Him infamous instead, by the ways we live. But making Jesus famous starts by living by His standards, through the character, ways, and mission of God.

The Great Opportunity

How awesome it is to play for something bigger. Yes, I live in the moment, but this isn't my home. — Alyssa Brito

This right here! 🔥 Life begins when we realize that God has invited us into something much bigger. We’re playing for something and Someone so much greater than ourselves or anything that this world could offer, because we realize, this is not our home (Hebrews 13.14). This is the mission field. This is the Great Opportunity. We fulfill purpose through what we do (our vocation and time spent) but our purpose is so much more than *just* what we do or a fixed outcome.

May we always remember the true joy of the game. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Eyes to Jesus. ☝🏽👑