Seeing Spots

A Challenge To Perfectionism (and Another Reason to Get Excited about the Super Bowl)
 
The Falcons are playing in the Super Bowl.
 
How cool is that to read? If you’re not a longtime fan or a wanna-be ATLien like me then you have no idea how much fun that is to type out. In a year of sports that has been headlined by underdogs and comebacks, there might not be a better story than Atlanta’s own Matt Ryan. After taking his team to the NFC Championship in 2012 (and shortly after getting a big contract extension), the Falcons’ starting quarterback went the next four years without leading his team to the playoffs. His level of play began to show some diminishing returns, possibly showing his worst season of his 9-year career in the 2015 season.
 
In case you haven’t followed the Falcons much this year, I’ll give you a brief recap. In 2016, Matt Ryan nearly doubled the number of touchdowns he threw in 2015, cut his interceptions down by more than half, and led the NFL’s number one scoring offense. In addition to steamrolling opponents on the Falcons’ way to Super Bowl LI, he’s also the league MVP. To give you additional perspective on how shocking this is, more people at the beginning of the year placed bets on the Cleveland Browns to win it all than on Ryan’s Falcons.
 
How did things turn around for Matt Ryan, a player who was thought by many to have had his best days behind him going into 2016? Two weeks before the regular season started, ESPN Magazine’s NFL preview had an interesting interview with Ryan in which he detailed the changes he had started to make in his game during the offseason.
 
The story, which at the time it was published was probably buried under another lead about Cam Newton’s latest fashion statement, went unnoticed until halfway through the season when Matt Ryan began being seriously considered for League MVP. Seth Wickersham, a senior writer at ESPN, had this to say of Ryan:
 
“For years, when he discussed his craft, it was fascinating as he delved into the magnitude of responsibility on each play. But it was also a little sad. You could feel the pressure building inside him as he spoke, almost making the game a little more complicated than it needed to be -- the curse of the over-invested.”
 
Sports journalists tend to report on teams and athletes with a bit of a Hollywood flair, pointing out the sort of things that could make it to the big screen. The narratives these writers and anchors carve out can seem a bit contrived but they are good at getting the attention of the casual viewer with gripping headlines of heroism. Imagine then, the disappointment of some of these writers when Matt Ryan, after the worst season of his career, said this:
 
“See spots. That's my thing now. The older I've gotten, the more that's become my thing. Don't worry so much about where defenders should be or where they're supposed to be or all those kinds of things. Just see spots.”
 
What does he mean by “seeing spots?” Almost exactly what it sounds like-- throwing to the guy that’s open. In other words, taking the best shot available. That was his epiphany. He didn’t turn his game around by composing a statistical algorithm, climbing up the monastery steps on a snow-capped mountain or going Whole30. If anything, Matt Ryan’s approach to football became more simple. He just started seeing spots.
 
Most of us will never play a professional sport like Matt Ryan but almost all of us will feel the pressure to be great. Like Ryan, we’ll spend our time planning our next steps disproportionately to the time we spend taking them. Perhaps you’ve put off applying for a job because you want to get your résumé just right. Maybe there are passions God has placed in your heart but you’re waiting for a “sign” before you really go after them. Maybe there are stories you want to write, people you want to reach, events you want to plan, dates you want to go on, or places where you want to live but the fear of failure is simply too much.
 
As a friend of mine once said, you should never let perfection get in the way of what’s good. When speaking on a matter-of-fact level, none us would classify ourselves as perfectionists but the way we live our lives would say otherwise. We do it to ourselves, refusing to exercise the best parts of us because we focus too much on the ways we come up short. We do it with God, denying ourselves to him because of our shame.
 
If we’re serious about doing good and beating perfectionism we have to start at being okay with failure. There have been a number of books written on this but it’s also a biblical principle (read Proverbs 24:16 if you want a nice zinger about failure). If you are not afraid of getting rejected for a job interview, how many more would you apply for? How many projects, creative or otherwise, would you undertake once you decided to do it for yourself and not for the approval of others?
 
Let’s start “seeing the spots” in our own lives.
 
// Justin Patton
#RiseUp

Recent

Archive

 2021

Categories

no categories

Tags

1 Corinthians 1 Kings 1 Peter 2 Corinthians 2 Peter Aaron Vickroy Abba Abiding Abigail Bradley Abundance Accountability Actions Adam Salway Addiction Adoration Adventure Alafia Adeleke Alex Hinton Alignment Andrew Elder Andrew Smith Anger Anna DiCosty Anna Goellner Anointing Ansley Davenport Anxiety Armor of God Ashlyn Williams Ashton Brantley Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Aubrey Gold Authority Autumn Pressley Awakening Bailey Meyne Balance Beauty Becca Johnstone Becca Morgan Being Uncomfortable Being mortal Beloved Benji Johnston Bentley Clark Bethel Black History Month Blessing Body Image Body of Christ Boldness Boundaries Brad Schiebel Bravery Breakthrough Brittany Futch Brokenness Brooke DeLoach Brooklyn Holloway COVID-19 Caitlin Cooper Calling Calvary Cam Pace Caroline Barnes Caroline Beasley Caroline Newton Carolyn McLain Celebration Change Charlie Knox Child-like Chloe Glass Chosen Christina Hensley Christlikeness Christmas Survival Guide Christmas Claire Jordan Clarity Colorado Comfort Commitment Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Confidence Connection Consistency Contentment Control Conviction Correction Counseling Courage Covenants Creativity Cristina Rosiles Dating Decisions Dependency Depth Desperation Devon Radford Disappointment Discernment Discipleship Leadership Blog Discipleship Discipline Distraction Diversity Division Doubt Dreams Dutch Williams Easter Eat the Book El Roi El Shaddai Elders Elijah Elizabeth Sprinkle Ellie Knight Ellyzsa Valencia Emily Baker Emily Goldin Emily Helton Emily Summers Emma Kate Shelton Emma Whitmer Emmanuel Fortuchang Emotions Empathy Emptiness Encountering God Encounter Encouragement Rooms Endurance Enough Environment Envy Erin Gilleland Eternity Evan Correa Evangelism Exodus Expectation Faithfulness Faith Family Fear of the Lord Fear Feeling Lost Feeling Safe Fernanda Lima Forgiveness Fredom Freedom Freely Given Freshley Friendship Fruits of the Spirit Fun Future Garner Gay Generosity Genesis Gentleness Gift Giving Giving Glory of God God as a Father God is Smart God is with us God's Character God's Heart God's Names God's Plans God's Plan God's Power God's Presence God's Promises God's Timing God's Voice God's Will God\'s Character God\'s Heart God\'s Names God\'s Plans God\'s Plan God\'s Power God\'s Presence God\'s Promises God\'s Timing God\'s Voice God\'s Will God\\\'s Character God\\\'s Heart God\\\'s Names God\\\'s Plans God\\\'s Plan God\\\'s Power God\\\'s Presence God\\\'s Promises God\\\'s Voice God\\\'s Will God\\\\\\\'s Character God\\\\\\\'s Presence God\\\\\\\'s Voice Government Grace Gratitude Guatemala Guidance Haley Blanchard Haley Hall Hallie Turner Hannah Cole Healing Heart Posture Heaven Hinds Feet on High Places Hispanic Heritage Month History of Prayer History of Revival History of Wesley Holidays Holiness Holly Avera Holy Spirit Holy Week Home Honor Hope Hospitality Humility Hunger Hunter MacInnis I Am Ian Burkes Identity Idols Image of God Imagination Influence Inheritance Intention Intercession Interning Intimacy Isolation Jake Stephens Jamaica Jamie Cherf Jealousy Jennifer Daniel Jessie Thomas Jesus John Wesley John Joseph Josh DeRamus Journaling Joy Judgment Julia Baughn Justice Justin Patton Kalli Drake Karla Sanchez Tavera Katherine Burnette Katie Courson Katie Pilson Katie Pitner Katy Smith Kelley Losinger Kelly Losinger Kelsey Parham Kennedy Browning Kimberly Klaer Kindness Kingdom Knowing God Knowledge Known Kourtney Axelberg Kristen Fikse Kyle Pickett Language Latinx Heritage Month Lauren Forbes Leadership Legacy Lia Herrera Life Light Lindsey Conway Listening Living Water Living with God Logic Loneliness Longing Los Angeles Loss Love Languages Love Luvlan Lee Mackenzie Wells Maddie Marsh Madeline Current Madelyn Livingston Madison Davis Makinizi Hoover Mariah Foote Mariah Taylor Marlena Sculac Marriage Martin Luther King Jr. Matthew Maturity Melissa Merrick Mental Health Mercy Meredith Ashburn Messiah Michael Weidner Miracles Missions Morgan Attebery Mourning Names Narnia Nashville Natalie Mata Nathan DeYoung New Covenant New Year Obedience Old Covenant Olivia Beals Olivia Ellis Openness Outreach Pain Partnership Passover Past Paul Peace Perfection Perseverance Perspective Peter Pharisees Philippians Power Praise Prayer Guide Prayer Meetings Prayer Pride Processing Prophecy Protection Provision Psalm 23 Psalms Purity Purpose Rachel Dow Rachel Erin Taylor Rachel Henderson Rachel Jones Racial Healing Racial Reconciliation Rebecca Mejia Recipes Reconciliation Red Rising Redemption Refinement Reflection Reform Refreshing Relationship Remedy Repentance Resolutions Resources Responsibility Restoration Rest Resurrection Reverence Revival Rhythm Righteousness Riley Orr Risk Romance Romans 8 Romans Rosalie Vendrell Ruth Sabbath Sacrifice Salvation Sam Adams Sam Carroll Sam Darby Samantha Forbes Samantha Richey Sanctification Sarah Savoie Savannah Shaw Savannah Ugan Scripture Seasons Secrets of the Secret Place Seeking God Selah Self-love Sermon on the Mount Serving Shaking Shame Sidney Counsell Singleness Sin Slowing Solitude Sorrow Sovereignty Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Health Spiritual Themes Spiritual Warfare Status Steadfastness Stephanie Seda Stephanie Stewart Strength Stress Struggles Suffering Summer Survival Guide Summer of Psalms Summer Surrender Temple Temptation Tenderness Tension Testimony Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Church The Cross The Gospel The Law The Lord's Prayer The Lord\'s Prayer The Lord\\\'s Prayer The Prodigal Son The Road to Life The Secret Place The Shack The Ten Commandments The Trinity The Word of God Therapy Tori Kramer Transformation Transition Trust Truth Uncertainty Unity Urgency Values Victory Vision Vulnerability Wandering Wednesday Night Recap Who Am I Wilderness Wisdom Wonder Word for the Year Words Worship Worth