Can you imagine playing in the final minute of an NCAA tournament game when it’s back and forth and your team has a chance to win? Factor in the pressure, the crowd, and being 18 years old, and I’m sure the feeling is extremely overwhelming.  

With that said, one of my biggest frustrations in watching the final minutes of close games is the shot selection. From my recliner, I can’t believe guys force up deep 3’s or throw up off-balance shots while fading away.

I have a hard time watching players take unnecessary 3’s when their team is only down one or they have the lead. Words like, “Get a better shot” or “You don’t need that” or “Why did you shoot that? come to mind as I yell at the TV.

Although I understand the atmosphere is intense and the playing is fast, poor shot selection usually reveals a level of impatience, selfishness, and unawareness.

Too often a player quickly comes down to throw up a 3 when he doesn’t need to rush the shot. Or a guy wants to be the hero with the final shot, so he forces it when the defense is all over him.

The other scenario is when a guy dribbles with his head down, and is unaware of his open teammate underneath the basket ready for an easy layup.

Typically, the result of all three situations is a player settling for a bad shot that he ends up missing…and a team losing because of it.

Criticizing these players for their shot selection, reminds me of the moments in our own lives when we settle for “bad shots.” How often do we have a decision that needs to be made, and instead of waiting patiently, we throw up a shot too hastily?

What about the times we desire to be the hero and our pride and selfishness take over, so we force an off-balanced shot? Or how about the times our head is down, and we lack awareness of what is happening around us when an open teammate is hoping we find him under the basket?

Let’s face it, we could all use extra patience, less selfishness, and more awareness for our “shot selections.” When we settle for a “bad shot,” we aren’t experiencing God’s best. There is a better option available, but we choose to force something we want to happen or settle for less than God’s perfect will.

As we wrestle between selecting our impatient and selfish shots, and God’s best, let’s focus on what 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NLT) says about Jesus: “He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”

The closer we follow Jesus and the longer we pursue Him, our lives become less impatient and selfish, and we become more aware of what’s happening around us.

We no longer have to live for ourselves and settle for less than God’s best because we receive a new life. Today, let’s live for Christ and stop taking bad shots. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please continue to remind me of the new life I have in Christ. Show me the right shots to take, and help me not to force anything or settle for something that is less than Your best. Please help me be less impatient and selfish, and much more aware of what’s happening around me. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.