In the 1929 Rose Bowl, Georgia Tech played the University of California. Toward the end of the first half, UC defensive player Roy Riegels recovered a fumble but was disoriented and began to run the wrong direction for 65 yards. His own teammate chased and stopped him just before he scored for the other team. At half time, all Roy could do was hide in the corner with a blanket over him and cry. He was embarrassed and couldn’t imagine returning to the field and facing the fans or his fellow teammates. His coach put a hand on his shoulder and told him, “You are playing. Get up and go back out there. The game is only half over.” People remarked that they’ve never watched someone play football as hard as Roy did that second half.
There are moments in our life where we’ve all experienced the disappointment or pain from our poor choices or things we’ve done. Maybe we pursued our dreams, but they now lay shattered on the floor. When we mess up it’s hard to forgive ourselves and overcome the guilt or face the ones our actions impacted.
Many times we hold ourselves hostage as blunders continually replay in our minds. I love the quote by Charles Kettering: “You may not be able to reclaim the loss, undo the damage, or reverse the consequences, but you can make a new start—wiser, more sensitive, renewed by the Holy Spirit, and more determined to do right.” How beneficial if we could learn to cast off the mistake and begin anew.
Probably the biggest known failure in the Bible is attributed to Peter. The disciple who emphatically exclaimed to Jesus that he would follow him anywhere, even to death, is the same man who denied him three times around a fire on the night of Jesus’ arrest. Peter could have abandoned his faith and lived a life of regret and sorrow, but our gracious God who is quick to forgive restored him. Peter chose to not let that one night define him and became a leader that changed the world.
The difference is how we perceive ourselves. If you fail, admit you failed, but don’t classify yourself as a failure. It is not who you are. If Roy would have stayed hunkered in that locker room, he would have been remembered as the guy who ran the wrong way and gave up. But he received encouragement from his coach and the crowd witnessed Roy’s second half play and an example of how to overcome failure.
What can be implemented to encourage you to press on:
1. Find someone who can speak the truth to you like Roy’s coach.
2. Write down lessons learned from the experience.
3. Recognize any negative, defeating thoughts and replace them with the truth of God’s Word.
4. Decide the first step to take to get you moving forward.
5. Pray and listen to where God leads you.
Remember, the game is only half over.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/