Juggling Life Like A.J. Green

Unknown.jpegDo you know what happens when the tires on your car are out-of-balance? First, the car will begin to vibrate when it is driven – literally, it makes for a bumpy ride! But, if the tires stay out of balance for too long the added heat wears on the tread causing the tires to burn down until the eventually burst.

Does this feel like anything you have experienced or are experiencing? Is your life a bumpy ride? Are you burning out? Are you living your life out-of-balance?

I’m speaking from experience when I say life can get out-of-balance. Ensuring an area of my life does not consume a greater amount of my time or energy than other areas is a constant struggle of mine. When one area of life requires greater attention, other areas will be neglected. This is a life out-of-balance…when you feel like you are jumping from one thing to the next!

How is it possible to juggle everything in our lives all at once?

A.J. Green is one of the most talented young men to ever come from my hometown. Without question, Green is the most talented football player to ever come from Summerville, which is saying a lot in the McKissick era!

Green’s stats reveal his efficiency as a wide receiver. He currently has the second most receiving yards in the 2017 season of the NFL at 504 yards through five games. Green has caught over 500 passes for more than 7,600 yards in his six and a half seasons. He surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first five season. He only had 964 receiving yards in sixth season due to an injury. Had he caught the addition 36 yards he would have been only the second person in the history of the NFL to have more 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first six seasons!

Green is super-talented; he is efficient; and, he has proven himself to be a successful receiver.

I do not know Green. He and I met once at a USC game, when he his high school teammate were visiting schools. While I do not know him personally, I have followed his career – from high school to his college career at UGA and now his stint with the Bengals. His talent, efficiency, and success could be chalked up as raw-talent, but his story suggest a much more complicated system of influencers with one unexpected definitive skill.

Green has spoken openly about his early encounter with tragedy. Green lost two primary figures in his life at equally formative times in his life. Green’s older brother and only sibling lost his life in a car accident when the younger Green was only four years old. I would not attempt to suggest the impact the loss of his brother played on his life, but I do recall an E:60 profile of A.J. Green in which he identifies the influence his brother’s death has played on his life.

In June of 2007, nine firefighters were killed while fighting a fire at the Sofa Supper Store on Highway 17-A. Louis Mulkey was among the nine men who lost their lives fighting that fire. Mulkey was a coach at Summerville High School. Mulkey had first coached Green’s JV basketball team, but he was also an assistant football coach and basketball coach. Mulkey was more than Green’s coach, he became a mentor to the younger athlete. The coach and mentor passed the summer before Green’s senior year.

Sidenote – The high school basketball team won the school’s first and only state championship that year with an incredible twist of an ending.

The E:60 profile of A.J. Green addresses these tragedies and the influence they played in his life. Tragedy grounded Green and forged a sense of humility that would define his personality and his play. 

While the instability of tragedy could have redirected the trajectory of Green’s life, a greater influencer brought solidification. Green’s family has a reputation of being well-knit, supportive, and encouraging. His parents and his extended family are known for the sincerity of their faith and their service within their community of faith. Green may have been grounded by tragedy, but his family, his faith community, and the greater community have always sought to lift him up.

Certainly the instability of tragedy contrasted by the sturdiness of faith, family, and friends has influenced Green to be humble, yet determined.

Green, however, attributes one other decision to his talent, efficiency, and success. He joined his elementary schools juggling team when he was in second grade. Juggling would help to develop his hand-eye coordination, which would certainly prove useful as a wide-receiver, but also, this skill would influence his mindset…his attitude.

Green is a juggler!

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I do not know if Green’s life is “in balance,” nor would I take the liberty to infer his life is balanced. I’m certain he has his struggles. There are times when he drops the ball. 

Green’s story intrigues me, because I wonder to what degree juggling has shaped his mindset and his attitude and, therefore, his approach to life and adversity.

One advantage I would assume a juggler has over everyone else is the belief in the possibility for multiple entities to remain in play at any given point. A juggler trusts balance can be achieved.

If you feel like your life is out-of-balance, image what the skill of juggling could do for you. If nothing else, learning to juggle could shape your mindset, attitude, and approach! Juggling suggests maintaining a harmonious balance between multiple entities is a possibility.

Here is the good news. If you are experiencing a bumpy life it probably means you have a full life. When your full life gets a little bumpy it simply means its time for an adjustment; a realignment. Your need for a realignment does not make you unique. Everyone must regularly evaluate the quality of their ride through the complexities of life.

Approach life like a juggler. It is possible to maintain a harmonious balance between multiple entities at any one time.

But…

Keep one thing in mind, there is a limit to how much you can juggle at any one time! There is a video of A.J. green juggling while he is being interviewed. The interviewer asks Green if he can still juggle four balls, and he hands Green an extra tennis ball. Green attempts to add a fourth ball into his rotation and twice he looses balance. He suggests he has forgotten how to juggle four balls and he removes the ball…

There is a limit to what any one person can juggle!

When you push that limit, harmony will be lost and balance will be compromised. “Dropping the ball” does not make you deficient. Nor does it mean you are inadequate or a failure. It means you are human! It means, like everyone else, you have your limits.

Juggling does not simply allow you to approach life with a belief in the possibility of balance. Juggling also teaches you when a ball needs to be removed to maintain harmony.

If life is a little bumpy for you, then seek realignment. Trust it is to maintain a harmonious balance. But also, realize the adjustment necessary to achieve harmony may require you to let go of something so that you can focus your time and energy where it is most necessary.

Sometimes, letting go frees you to move forward.

As I posted earlier this week, there is still more available in this life. Because what is impossible for us is possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Letting go of our obstructions enables us to move forward…to go with the one leading to true life.

Balance is not easily kept. Juggling everything seems impossible. Take comfort in the truth that what is impossible for us is possible with God. A real and balanced life is available to all of us, but it may require letting go of the things proving to be obstructions.

So, juggle in confidence that which matters, but let go of what is obstructive…and, then, go with the one who leads to a real and authentic life.

 

What’s More, Part One (and a reflection upon Las Vegas)

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I woke up yesterday morning to the news of the horrendous attack in Las Vegas. I felt many things as I am sure all of you did. I’m tired of waking up to the news. I am absolutely exhausted of waking up to the breaking news – whether it be a mass casualty shooting; terrorism – foreign or domestic; rallies, marches, and protests utilizing violence or aggression. I, for one, am done! I’m burned out on the hatred on display in America and throughout our world! I’m just plain tired of it all; and, you should be, too! And, if you are not tired of it, then wake upbecause you are already asleep! 

Continue reading

Broken Pieces: The Abundance Beyond Exhaustion

broken-piecesMy high school basketball coach just won his 800th game this past week. He is a remarkable man, whose real impact reaches well beyond the court. While I do not remember all of the plays we ran or the games we played, I do know how his instructions continue to influence my life and my ministry. Continue reading

The Source of the Thought

fontcandy-1Have you ever left your cell phone in the sun? Or, have you ever left your phone in the car on a hot day? If you have, you know your phone will automatically shut off if it overheats. For example, an iPhone will shut off once it reaches 115 degrees. The function protects internal components of the phone.

My brain does the same thing when I overwork it. Continue reading