These thoughts are to help and inspire people like you and me to reach higher and strive for greater things, to stand for a cause more noble than self serving, seeing the good in others and seeking it for their sake. I unashamedly weave my faith, biblical insight and life experiences into a sporting context to illustrate my personal journey to this point - I hope in a small way, I can help you on your journey to being all you were intended to be....

There are now over 50 posts to check out, tweet, link to facebook or google+ Please feel free to share a link BUT If you use any of the illustrations please acknowledge the source as Phil Manchester, Bradford, England. You can follow me on twitter @philmanchester

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

You've got to be grounded before you can fly

You would have thought kicking a ball would be straightforward. Right? But in the sport of rugby, there are several different techniques and rules that apply to kicking a ball.

One of the techniques is the drop kick. It is used to start and restart play and can be used to score points, by kicking the ball through the uprights of the goal posts. For those familiar with rugby, who can forget the moment when Johnny Wilkinson produced the match winning "drop goal" for England to beat Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.

What is so odd about a drop kick? There is one fundamental difference that marks a drop kick from any other kick from hand. That is, it must be released from hand and strike the ground before it is kicked. In other words, a player has to release the ball, let it ground, before it can be struck into flight.

There is an element of risk in a drop kick. The nature of the kick lends itself to people mis-striking the ball, sending it scudding along the ground. The shape of the ball is probably the biggest difficulty to overcome. With its odd elliptical shape, unless it is grounded properly in the drop - so it comes back slightly towards the kicker - it is more than likely to skew off the kicker's boot in a grotesque hook shot or the kicker will do an "air kick" - the latter is my own speciality, as the ball bobbles off to one side just as my foot is about to boot it into flight.

Unless a ball is grounded properly, its flight wont be true.

The pressure of the occasion can get to players too and the position on the field has to be just right for a skilled player to "drop a goal". Commentators describe a player as being "in the pocket" - in just enough space, within distance, not under too much pressure from the opposition and with enough time to send the ball into flight. But unless you make an attempt, you wont score the points.

In life, its often the case that we want to go flying off toward some goal that we've been set or have set ourselves. We want to force the pace and want a result now, without having to take time.
At other times, we simply have too tight a grip on some things and we wont let them go, to fly toward the target.

Its not easy to let go or to release something or perhaps more significantly someone to fly toward their goal. Releasing our children to the next phase of their life can be difficult for us. It's true in business or in ministry too. If something is our "baby" so to speak, letting go can be hard. But as with the drop kick, we often have to release something to let it fly. But we still have a part to play.

For a kick to have a true flight, it must be grounded correctly - as we have seen. How we prepare and ground something is really important. Foundational principles are so critical to making it in life, sport, business or ministry. What we ourselves are grounded in or how we have been grounded will determine how or even if we will get off the ground and head toward a goal.

The great thinker, writer and communicator Paul the Apostle had some very good advice about being properly grounded. He wrote, in fact he made it a prayer (an intentional, thoughtful, expression or request to God on the behalf of those he was writing to) saying: "I pray that you would be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ" - the man's man. In other words, if you can get an appreciation of the fact that you are really valued as an individual, by Christ who loves you, regardless of your state or status, then you can find a real grounding that will be like a springboard to flight.

God doesn't want to control us, he wants us to be grounded, so that as he releases us to life, our flight can be true and on target for all that life has and we have to offer to life. Who knows, as in the sport, if our flight as a person is based on being properly grounded, we may just be in line to be a game changer - if we don't try we will never fly and if we don't fly, we will live and only die, without realising our potential in life, sport, business or ministry.