Imagine…You are inches away from becoming back-back World Champions. With the eyes of the world on you, you fight to stay fixed in the present moment…The smell of the grass…The electricity in the crowd…The satisfaction of the impending victory after decades of “mastering your craft.”
It seems with each beat of your heart, you sense opposing teams spirit to “deflating.”
In a moment, an outcome you never expected, sucker-punches you right in your gut. Your greatest dream of being on one of the most uncommon teams in world history is snatched right from your hands as you watch the confetti of the opposing teams colors raining down upon you.
Super Bowl 49 was one of those painful moments in my life.
Being in the locker room right after the loss was such a raw moment. Our head coach said a few words to the team, then looked to me asking me to offer a word of prayer for the Seattle Seahawks.
What do you say in a moment like that?
No pressure right?
“Jesus thanks for this chance to be here, but I sure do hope you curse the other team?” I joke about it now, but the truth is, in those painful moments, it can be pretty difficult to walk out God’s command of rejoicing in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
While it is hard for me to revisit, its also taught me something profound about loss and disappointment.
In that moment when Coach Carroll asked me to pray for our team, I felt tempted to say something that would make the moment not be painful for everyone. What I learned, was trying to get people to not feel pain, is actually what is destroying our world. Think about it. Aren’t all of us running from pain? Isn’t that the very reason people turn to drugs, alcohol, pornography, fame, and every other idol which promises relief, but always results in bondage?
What if you could have a new relationship with disappointment?
When Romans 8:1 says God works all things for our good, is there really such a thing as failure? If in James 1, we’re instructed to count it all joy during trials, maybe there’s something we’re missing out on if we continue to numb our emotions.
Playing for the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll taught me so much about this concept of a “process-based” mindset which views setbacks as gifts. The “process,” is the toilsome time between where you are, and where you want to be. If we will lean in during the process, it will help us view our setbacks and hurts as something entirely different.
Instead of a life sentence to pain, it’s actually a training ground of giving us something we otherwise would have never had. Simply put, the pain is what propels us into our destiny if we can create a new relationship with it.
For me, losing Super Bowl 49 hurt. It was agonizing trying to move past that. But it also forged grit and strength in me that I honestly really needed.
We are supposed to rejoice in tough times because God knows what is on the other side of our pain. God allows in His wisdom what He could prevent in His power because He is trying to give us something we otherwise would have never had. If will re-engage with our hurt, and see our situations as God sees them, we will really like who we are on the other side of the storms of life.
My question to you is this… What is your Super Bowl loss?
The disappointment which hurt so bad.
The outcome which keeps you perpetually victimized?
We all have them! Divorce. Addiction. Break-ups. Career endings. Loss of a dream or a loved one. Whatever your Super Bowl loss is, I want to challenge you to lean in. Stop running to the things which give us a temporary sense of relief, but always leave us bound with guilt and shame.
Stay in the moment. Breathe. We are all “Becoming…” something incredible.
Here’s to Loving the Process.
* This post was written by Clint Gresham, former NFL player, and Super Bowl XLVIII winner. Check out Clint’s new book Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness available now on his site and on Amazon.