By now the news has been released that I’ve retweaked my hamstring a third time. Although this is the least severe of the three, this third injury has been a hard one to deal with mentally. There’s something so draining about the yo-yo effect of going from injured to healthy to injured to healthy that in some ways it would have been easier to have an injury where I knew from the beginning I would be out for a long, set amount of time.
There are few things more humbling for an athlete than an injury. They are a reminder that as much as we would like to be, we are not in control of our lives and careers. Cheering from the sidelines and being limited to only using my speech, instead of my body, has shown me how I’ve taken my health for granted.
People may ask if I rushed back. I can confidently say I didn’t. I checked every single check box that needed to be checked before returning and progressed carefully through my rehabs. The reality is that even when we plan for things to go a certain way, sometimes God has other plans.
Of course I have all the natural emotions that comes with an injury. Some moments I feel super motivated. Some moments I feel defeated. Some moments I want to yell at God in frustration. Why now? Why not when I was a backup point guard the last 4 years? All the hard work I put into training, developing a new shot, regaining my confidence, having my desired role, the right coach and the right system. A year of my prime down the drain. These are the natural thoughts that float into my mind, get kicked out, and float back in.
But I’ve been here before. I’ve faced lows and seen how God has led me out of them. I’m quicker to gain perspective and remember His sovereignty and ability to turn my setbacks into life lessons and opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, injuries still suck. There’s nothing more I want than to be on the court, fighting with my team. Losing is hard. Wearing blazers every night gets old.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently of Ava Bright Lee, a little girl I had the privilege of getting to know who went to be with God this year after a long battle with cancer. My situation is NOTHING like hers, yet she lived with supernatural joy through adversity. Her mom, Esther, writes beautifully and honestly about their journey. Of Ava’s life she wrote this:
“She had scar upon scar, procedure upon procedure, pain upon pain, and she faced it all…with a smile. Since the day she was born she began teaching me truths about living and loving and hoping. It’s not because she was perfect. No, there were hard times of learning for her as she stretched the boundaries and tested the waters like any other kid. But there is no doubt that she was a precious gift given to us from the most loving Being of all.
So if our little girl could rise up out of her circumstances to still praise God, then why not us too?”
In only 8 short years, Ava understood what’s taken me so many more years to stubbornly begin to learn. We don’t get to control what happens to us and we won’t always like our circumstances. But we can choose to lie down and give up or we can pick ourselves up and try to joyfully make the most of what we’ve been given. Whatever setbacks you are facing right now, I hope we can all be like Ava and choose the latter.
Proverbs 16:3 — Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans