Goals and Paths

We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.

— Robert Brault —

It was a hot day in late spring of 2000. The heat was even hotter in 70-year-old Schmidt Fieldhouse, an old rickety structure with little to no airflow. Schmidt had served as the home of the Xavier Musketeer basketball team from the late 1920’s to the early 1980’s.

I was at Schmidt Fieldhouse with my son Jason, as he was preparing to go through his first personal workout led by a former “X” and NBA basketball player, Larry Sykes.

It was the summer before Jason’s junior year of high school and because he had a strong desire to play collegiate basketball at the Division I level, we thought it would be good to train with a former Division I basketball player. We signed up for 8 sessions with Larry and each session was two hours long.

Jason grew as a basketball player during those 8 sessions with Larry, but he grew even more as a person. In fact, during the very first session Larry taught Jason a very valuable lesson about life. About halfway through workout, during a full-court catch and shoot exercise, Jason was exhausted and needed a rest so he ‘conveniently’ threw the ball over Larry’s head, thinking it would give him a moment to catch his breath while walking to retrieve it.

Instead of catching a break, Mr. Sykes looked at Jason and said with a stoic face, “Jason, stop walking, sprint after the ball, you’ve just added 5 minutes to this workout because of that bad pass.”

Larry knew what Jason had done and he found a perfect moment to teach him a valuable lesson…There’s no time for taking it easy when you’re on the road to success.

The opening quote reminded me of this moment with my son many years ago.

How many of us never reach our goals because we choose an easier, softer way?

The road to success is full of sweat, tears, potholes, hills, valleys, challenges and setbacks. The road to mediocrity is a smooth road with minimal challenges.

Which road are you traveling?

Which road is God calling you to travel?

James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

Heavenly Father, please give me the willingness, courage and strength to stay on the path you’ve set before me no matter how challenging it may be. Take away my desires to walk the easier, softer path when I know it is not the path you created for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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