I’m the type of person who likes to see results. I like to see how much I can improve, what I can accomplish, and what I can do better. In many ways, the culmination of my life was surrounded by what I had accomplished and what I saw myself doing in the future—that is, until I realized that I had it all wrong.
I stayed at a college friend’s house over Thanksgiving this year and had a great weekend, but I felt a little bit off the entire time. Something wasn’t clicking, whether it was my relationship with God, or my own inhibition.
Regardless, my break ended with us bowling with some of his friends in the area, and that’s when I learned something I couldn’t help but share what happened next…
The entire time I was bowling, I had pinpoint accuracy. I was bowling right down the middle, but I couldn’t purchase a strike to any avail. I watched as the people around me were finding strikes with seemingly minimal effort. It felt like I was bowling at the same speed with the exact same accuracy, and yet, I still couldn’t find success.
So, as I went up to bowl, again, after two games of strike-less bowling, I prayed to God and asked Him for strength. Not necessarily because I cared that much about bowling, but because I sensed that this game was heavily connected to my life as a whole in that moment. And when I released the ball, it just felt different. I could really feel God’s presence. I could feel His Strength.
In that moment, despite how irrelevant bowling really was in the scope of things, God spoke to me. He said, “Truly, truly, I tell you, you can’t knock down all the pins by yourself—but you can with my help.” That’s when it hit me: you can appear to succeed on the surface, but true success can only be achieved in Christ and through Christ.
Statistically, I was hitting 9/10 of the pins, but the last pin left me insatiable and seeking more.
You see, I had been trying to knock down the pins of life by myself, under my own power. That’s why I had felt so drained, and why that last pin had always reared its ugly face. I had been trying to juggle a multitude of tasks and a plethora of responsibilities for with no real purpose, and I didn’t want God’s help in doing them, and I was after the wrong things.
It’s about giving to Christ first out of the realization that He is greater, and that we need His help to seek truth and abide by it. This was more than just an epiphany that I need to work harder; it was a time when I came to grips with my death-designating desire to be independent from everything and everyone when all I ever needed was dependence upon God and His Word.
And that’s how I learned one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned through something that would otherwise have been just another ordinary evening.
Hopefully this can serve as inspiration to some of you, or perhaps a caveat to others. Don’t try to knock down the pins yourself—allow God to guide your stride.