Coincidence or God-Incident that the very next day after God nudged me to consider a couple of defensive maneuvers from Paul’s Playbook, He pummeled me in practice? Coach Father ran me like a Lou Campaneilli press,”Always acknowledge hustle plays in practice.”

I hustled alright.

Like the first days Here, Friday was a day that there was struggle and victory just to stand and hold space.

Our God is an awesome, generous God, and He gifted me not only with extra practice, but also an interactive, fundementals skills clinic. He ran me hard from before breakfast to after dinner. I was continually pommelled with opportunities to Sack Thoughts and execute Thought Interceptions.

I was exhausted by lunch.
By the kids’ bedtime, my calves charley-horsed and my arms quivered.
By the time The Husband got home, my abs were so tight
I didn’t know whether to heave
or curl into a fetal position and suck my own great toe.

Throughout, I learned another play from Paul’s book. It’s called Hold The Line.

Like the Thought Sack and Thought Interception, Hold the Line references football. The line is the imaginary crossbeam that traverses the field’s width, beyond which a team cannot trespass until the next play has begun. This is where the ball sits at the start of each play, beyond which each team attempts to block its opponent’s progress. Also called the Line of Scrimmage, it is the line the defense attempts to hold and the wall the offense tries to penetrate.

Given what we know about Paul’s life and journey of transformation, I have to believe that he experienced days like my Friday.

I’m no Paul or Peyton Manning, but I am smart enough to hear when an audible’s been called on the field and interpret the posture of my opponent.

Friday wanted me to slam me to the turf so hard I’d pee green for a month.

I shoved thoughts back,
I pushed negative ideas behind me,
I grunted with exertion to intercept passes,
I charged down errant worries,
yet despite my individual attempts to
maintain position,
I flailed.

There simply wasn’t enough Me to make a team or hold the line.

Chuck Dlay observed, “Defense doesn’t break down on the help, it breaks down on the recovery.

Self-reliance is only a virtue when it is Faithful, not a reckless, relapse reflex of a lost child relying on her own strength.

AGAIN

That is, of course, because no one Me can make a team, not even in an individual sport.

We are His Team.
We are eachothers’ team.
We are His Body,
His robe of righteousness
our colors.

So I looked Up.
I called up.
I called out.
I called a friend Here.
I called a friend There.
I looked for a way to serve another.
I got to my knees.
When that wasn’t low enough,
I got on my face.

Guess what?
From the vantage point of berber carpet,
Here and There look amazingly similar.

I used my gifts to Hold the Line.
I leveraged your talents to Hold the Line.
I ministered others to Hold the Line.
I held as a stewart,
fed Faithfully by the Faithful.

And then, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work,” (Ephesians 4:16), and the line held.

If we live in the world, we are in constant, competitive contention against a loathsome opponent.

Good teams become great teams when they surrender the Me for the We.

Friday my victory was that I called out for help to hold the line.

Paul was one of the twelve and learned from Jesus himself that,

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

I can be overpowered.
You helped me defend myself.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

A plait tween Thee, Here and There Holds the line well.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!