Learning to Lose

My kids have started learning how to play Chess at the library. They’ve gotten pretty good at playing too. It’s almost hard to believe that 3 months ago they didn’t know how to play.

Their Chess teacher sent them home with a board and pieces about a month ago. My older three play so much, that my younger children (who do not go to Chess) probably know how to play better than I do.

It’s fun to watch them play. It’s neat to see them develop strategy and get better.

But my kids are learning something else during all these friendly Chess matches between siblings. They are learning how to lose. Learning to lose well is quite a challenge for my kids. But let’s be real-it’s a challenge for everyone.

No one like to lose. Especially not my kids. It’s all fun and enjoyable until someone gets emotional. They get mad that they can’t break a rule. They get mad that the other person moved a certain way. They get mad that they never get to be white (because white always goes first in Chess.) Suddenly the game that brought them to the table with smiles is now horrible.

It’s hard to explain to an emotional child that when two people are playing a game, someone will win. This means that someone else will lose. Since no one wants to lose, whoever doesn’t win will not exactly like that. But we can lose well.

We can acknowledge that the other person made some good moves. We can say good game. And it’s ok to not be happy that we lost. However, it is NOT ok to act out of emotion and say or do things that make others feel bad.

So yes, I- mom- want them to lose. I want them to practice losing. And I want them to grow. I feel it’s important teach our kids it’s ok to lose, to lose well, and still celebrate the winner. I want them to experience disappointments but know how to control those emotions. I want to help build character. But I especially do not want them to be bad sports.

No one likes to lose. Not games. Not sporting events. Not bets. Not arguments.

But losing is part of life. We must learn to lose.

Sometimes you have to lose to win.

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But have you ever thought about losing to yourself…losing to your flesh… Let me explain. We are constantly at war with ourselves. Our flesh tells us to sin. “Go ahead tell that juicy story. Look at that man/women and wish you could be with them. No body is looking, so just take it you wont get caught.” BUT our Spirit is right there saying, “NO STOP!! THIS IS SIN AND AGAINST GOD!! DON’T DO IT!!”

This battle is a daily one, and it is necessary for us to grow to be more like Jesus. We call it the process of sanctification. We have to die to ourselves. We have to lose to our flesh so that our Spirit (which is what bears the image of God) can continue to get stronger and grow.

When I was younger, I listened to who the world said I was.

I was not the smartest kid in my class… I was just an average student.

I was not the prettiest girl in my school… I was just average.

I was creative, but not the best at art… I was crafty.

I was friendly but not necessarily popular… I was a good friend.

I was good at sports… I was an athlete.

I let my interest, talents, and relationships define who I was.

When I came to know Christ, I had built up MY identity. I chose who I was, how people perceived me, what I did for a living, who I hung out with, and who I let influence my identity.

As I started to grow in relationship with Christ, I slowly lost all of that. I had to die to myself so I could become who He intended for me to be.

I remember it as clear as day, the desire to quit working and stay at home with my kids. But it was more than just that. I now desired to have a large family and homeschool.

Guys, trust me when I say, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of six. But I am so glad this was God’s plan!!! I could not imagine it any other way.

I had to submit. I had to lose. I had to let go of the image, identity, that I let define me.

But in losing I really lost nothing. I gained. I gained peace. I gained comfort. I gained understanding. I gained a better relationship with the people in my life. I gained a new purpose.  I no longer put effort into things God did not call me to, but most importantly I gained a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I now realize just how much higher His ways are than mine and how much better His plans are than mine.

Our human instinct, desire, and our flesh wants to hold onto the things this world tells us should define us. But please hear me when I say lose to yourself.

You may be a teacher… but your job does not define you… you are a child of God.

You may be good at art…  but you are not just an artist… you are a child of God.

You may be a great at sports… but your hobbies do not define your worth… you are a child of God.

Lose to yourself. Lose to the world. Do not let your hobbies, job, interest, and talents tell you who you are. You are a child of God!

Practice losing because…YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!!

 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:24-25

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