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Pure joy.

The struggle is real, but I love what I do. No pain, no gain.

Last Thursday, I posted an article titled "Losing sucks."

It felt good to get some of my thoughts and frustrations typed down in some organized format. I hate losing. I am determined to do what it takes to win. I did not intend for the article to sound like a complaining sessoin (which rarely helps anyone) but more of a transparent look into where we are right now. I feel like sometimes we only focus on the bangers of the hobby and not the reality of ups and downs. I am fully aware that the Brothers In Cards Family is a real thing. The encouragement we have received since then has been amazing - thank you!

In a conversation with a close friend, I was reminded of a verse that has brought me great motivation in difficult times (James 1:2-4).

"Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing."

It seems like every single time this verse comes up in my life I am not going through a joyful season. However, I know that God's Word is meant to be used as a sword in hard situations, and I believe this verse to have deep truth.

Growing up, we had these awkward bushy trees in our backyard. I treated them like receivers. No matter how hard I threw at them, the ball stuck right where it hit. When I got the motivation to go throw, I went outside with a football and got to work. Short throws, deep throws. Rollouts, scrambles, awkward throws - those bushy trees caught all of them.

As many athletes do, I would constantly run through game situations in my head. I don't ever remember thinking "1st and 10, up 21-0 vs some crummy team". No. "4th & 8, 10 seconds left, down 6 in the State Championship" was much more likely to be what I uttered to those bushy trees.

Easy wins don't excite me. But hard fought, those are pure joy. I may not be winning right now, but I believe these challenging times are setting me up for a hard fought win. I have learned a lot in the last few months. I will keep learning. "Let perseverance finish its work" - honestly, that does not sound like fun. But I definitely want to be "lacking in nothing" when 4th & 8 does come around. I'll put the work in for that.

My faith can be tested by anything this world has to offer - I know who my King is. Jesus has been actively leading me since I was young, but the best thing He ever did for me was lay down His own life. If He can do that, I can handle some drops in sales. I can persevere through so much more. That empty grave power is in me too.