As I wrote in my last post, life has admittedly come at me tough.
I’ve had my ups and downs, and to be completely transparent, still to this day wrestle with my inner demons. Am I confident today? Will I make it to my goals? Are my goals still my goals? Am I staying true to God’s path for me? Is it okay to give up? Am I a failure?
All perfectly normal questions that we might ask ourselves in times of duress. Let’s face it, when your back is to the wall, you have either two options: fight, or flight, and in either of those options your mind still wants to hypothesize; it still wants to try to guess the end result. There’s something that is worth embracing in these moments though, and it’s often tough to think about when haymakers are being thrown at your face every second:
“Not never, later.”
Dirk Nowitzki, a long road
I like to make allusions to athletes. Many of the greats in their respective disciplines are truly inspiring testaments to a number of characteristics that are pivotal for every day success: work ethic, determination, perseverance, a sound mindset. It’s no wonder that they’re able to accomplish amazing feats of glory while still dealing with the annoyances of fans, press and media exploitation. If you’ve ever watched the NBA (American professional basketball), you probably know of some of the all-timers. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James—all of these usually come to mind for the casual, or less than casual, NBA fan because they’ve reached the mountain top.
But I want to call attention to a star player for a moment that is a future Hall of Famer, but isn’t as status heavy with his name: Dirk Nowitzki.
Dirk Nowitzki was drafted to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, and then traded to his now staple team, the Dallas Mavericks. He was, to some, a random German player that seemed to be really good, but was drafted 9th overall; that was behind the likes of Antwan Jamison and Vince Carter. There was certainly promise for him, and he was certainly talented enough. But fast forward to the 1999 season, in a game against the Seattle Supersonics, and Dirk only finished with a measly two points for the whole game.
And those were free throws, by the way.
This guy would go on to have trouble figuring out the US postal system, learning how to pay bills, and how to write a check! That doesn’t exactly inspire the confidence from—well, anyone really, to go on to win an NBA championship. That just screams tough times, and a lot of humility.
How long, exactly, did it take Dirk to win his one and only NBA championship?
4,510 days. Twelve years.
I don’t think Dirk Nowitzki, even in his first season as an NBA player only scoring two points in his debut game, said, “Nah, an NBA championship isn’t in the cards.”
He put his pride to the side, strove for perfection while lifting his teammates up, and took a “Not never, later” approach!
What it means to put your pride aside
The “Not never, later” approach doesn’t mean give up. On the contrary, it means stay strong! Often times our hearts and our flesh want specific things for us. At a specific time. On our terms, exactly how we want them to be. We constantly plan ahead, try to predict beyond our capacity, and fall short. And then, once that happens, Satan lets the doubt creep in.
“Guess you weren’t good enough, huh?” “All that planning for nothing.” “Well that was a failure, why did you try that?”
Then you quit on things—possibly things God had for you—because it didn’t pan out exactly the way you liked it at exactly that time. You put your head down and drag your feet, to find something “tolerable” instead of what was intended of you.
But that is not how we’re called to live—a doubtful, pride-filled, me-first-and-only type of life! Sometimes, when we think we know it all, and it doesn’t work out, that’s a good thing. It’s those moments where God is giving you a heart check. Were you trying to push that goal of yours through now, at this moment, because you felt God wasn’t giving it to you quick enough? Maybe you weren’t even considering God’s timing at all—you were just so focused on your end game that the purpose He put in it seemed to be put on the back-burner.
Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary—and called for by God—to say, “Not never, later.” Not because he wants to see you fail, or that He doesn’t want you to be happy with your passions and dreams. He wants you to be successful for Him!
He just might need you to remember for who and why you’re doing it for.
Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach