A year ago I was in New York City for a week of adventures with my husband. After dragging Kurt from the Museum of Modern Art to the Statue of Liberty, after making him stand outside Studio 1A for my moment with Hoda and the people of the Today Show, after telling him when and where we’d be seeing Hamilton and To Kill a Mockingbird, after walking everywhere on days with a high of 27 and a low of 19, I surprised him with tickets to a NY Knicks-LA Laker game at Madison Square Garden.
The NY Knicks were not a great team. At the time, they were in 13th place—two up from the bottom in the Eastern Conference. I wanted Kurt to see the game, because I knew he’d enjoy seeing LeBron James, a player who will quite possibly go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all time.
I’m not a professional basketball fan, but I was very aware of what it meant to have LeBron on the floor that night. Everyone played better—whether guarding him as he dribbled down the court, whether checking his 3-point shot, whether going for the rebound. At one point I said to Kurt, “I thought New York was not that good…” thinking they didn’t look that bad. “Deanna, they’re playing LA.”
When we’re surrounded by the best, we are all better. LeBron is a guy who walks onto the court each night ready to be his boldest and bravest—no matter the opponent. He takes the shot. He sets up the play. He makes the block.
But Deanna, I’m not LeBron James. I’m not a professional NBA player. I’m not a “name in the lights” professional anyone. No, you’re not, but as we talked about last week, you’re beautifully and wonderfully made, each one of us. You’re unlike anyone who ever was or ever will be. You’re the greatest you of all time. There’s no one who compares to you. Absolutely no one.
The night we watched LeBron play, he did great, but it was not one of his greatest games. He was made 9 of 16 shots from the field. That means he missed 7. He made 1 of 3 free throws, missing 2. He made 2 three-pointers, missing 3. He had 5 assists and 5 steals, but no blocked shots. Anthony Davis had more points. Still everyone on the court and in the stands knew he was there to win a game.
The day LeBron steps out of his sneakers, he will be remembered not only for his personal achievements, but also for what he did as a teammate. Danny Green’s three-pointer? LeBron set it up. That screen for Anthony? LeBron assisted. Dwight Howard’s final shot? LeBron made it happen.
At times we can discount the beauty and wonder in which we’re made and if we’re not careful, we can discount our impact on those around us, too. Every week on Friday morning at 7:45, I have a mini panic attack, a moment in which my prayer goes from, “Dear God, be with me this morning. Help me to encourage the ladies of Fave with your love and faithfulness.” No, at 7:45, I’m calling out to God, “Was there no one else? Really, God? I was your best choice for ‘Morning WOLK with God’? I can’t do this!” Remembering LeBron, I stress. What happens if I miss the shot? What happens if I turn over the ball, metaphorically speaking? What happens if I misquote/misuse God’s Word, like I did one week when I shared the verse from 2nd Samuel?
I think LeBron would be the first to tell us—get over it. After turning the ball over a fourth time that night, he made his 5th assist. I think LeBron would also tell us it’s not just what he does, it’s what they do as a team. They encourage each other. They push each other. They include each other.
Kurt and I had nice seats for the NY Knicks game. We were in a corner section of Madison Square Garden, the 12th row. I paid dearly for the tickets. I may still be paying for them! When God’s calling the shots—whether it’s in New York City or Monroe, whether it’s in your neighborhood or work place, we’re all included. We’ve all got tickets. We’re all sitting courtside, front row, center. Not only did the prophets get priority seating, but you and I did, too. Not only did the disciples get back stage passes, but you and I did, too. We’re all seated together—not alone, but together—because we’re all part of God’s really big story. We’re not just pointing points on the board, we’re putting God’s love, joy, peace, and hope across the board.
One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar who said, “The genius of the biblical story is that, instead of simply giving us ‘seven habits for highly effective people,’ it gives us permission and even direction to take conscious ownership of our own story at every level, every part of life and experience. God will use all of this material, even the negative parts, to bring life and love.”
Life and love have given you wisdom and experience. Mentor someone. Encourage someone.
Wisdom and experience, even the negative parts, have given you insight and perspective. Teach someone. Guide someone.
Insight and perspective have fostered in you creativity and imagination. Inspire someone. Make someone laugh.
Be bold. Be brave. Be you—for you and for those around you.
Let all that you do be done in love.
Speaker | Writer | Author
Before my father died, he reminded me that Mom had asked me to write a book. At the time the boys were in college, and the notion of writing was unfathomable. Writers write books. By the time my boys were adults, I’d run out of excuses. I was also at that age when I could pause and reflect.
Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace was my first publishing endeavor. My second was Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God. Both are collections of stories that tell of God’s love and faithfulness. Both tell of His remarkable grace and mercy.
When not writing, I serve as the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington state. I’m active in my church, serving on the Leadership Team and gathering with a wonderful group of ladies to study and giggle over lattes and chocolate. On my desk is a rock with the words “Choose Joy!” etched in it. It’s my inspiration for each day. As an author, it is my hope that my own words might share that joy we find together as children of God.
With Him, it can be so.
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