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We are doing an excellent Bible study on Sunday mornings
called, “When the Game’s Over, It All Goes Back in the Box.” The session this
week was about score keeping. In a God-incidence, the teacher, John Ortberg,
talked about the game of tennis being won in our minds.

This weekend I started getting nervous thinking about
playing in the tennis league again today. I practiced serving over and over on
Saturday and felt like I would be hopeless come Monday morning! I realized in
Bible study that my problem is I never stop keeping score. I constantly compare
myself to others and end up feeling like a superior winner or like an inferior

I’m afraid I’m not alone in my score-keeping habit. My Facebook
news list is more than halfway filled with people’s game scores. I started off
making a list of all the ways we compete, but I can’t really think of any way
we don’t? Can you?  It’s good-natured
fun, but even when I scrapbook in a group, we compare how many pages we’ve
completed! The problem with score-keeping is it feeds our pride, even if we suffer
for comparison. The emphasis in competition is always on “me.”

This morning I was determined to be anxiety-free playing
tennis. I was reassured reading an online article about the mental game of
tennis that explained improvement. It seems we often expect tennis mastery to
proceed in a linear fashion when like so many other things, it involves steps
backward and plateaus. I also considered my thoughts about playing. I realized
that the world wouldn’t come to an end if I double faulted every game. The
ladies wouldn’t hate me because I would pull all their scores down equally. I
also decided to have fun. After all, that’s why I had joined the league. Not so
I could claim “best player of the league” status. Who would really care?

So how did I rate? I didn’t win any more games than I won
last week, but I had so much more fun. I wasn’t nervous and noticed that no one
else was serving with blazing speed. I also realized that I was a real boost to
the other ladies’ egos. I’m sure it made the 81-year-old and the
just-had-brain-surgery woman feel great that they could beat a younger gal like
me.  At least I earned a bonus: a good
old-fashioned dose of humility.

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

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