As a boy growing up in the 80s who enjoyed playing basketball, I loved watching Magic Johnson lead the L.A. Lakers to five titles in 9 years. The man was an amazing player, a highlight waiting to happen, and he truly redefined the position of point guard, and the game of basketball. I tried to model my own game after his, in fact, there many (none) who would say Magic and I have a lot in common when it comes to basketball.
For example, he played basketball, and so did I. He dribbled the ball, and so did I. I once saw him make a shot, and so did I.
As you can see, we are practically basketball twins.
I’ve always had a very active imagination. Maybe not quite as active as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (a great movie well worth watching, by the way!) but pretty close. And back in the day, Magic Johnson and I used to play a lot of ball together.
Because I grew up with Swegle Elementary School just a fence-hopping away from my house, the school’s playground became my personal basketball court. I would shoot hoops under the “covered area” for hours a day, rain or shine, and often played in some very intense games against Larry “Legend” Bird and the evil Boston Celtics. And just like real life, my Lakers always came out on top of the Celtics (no, that wasn’t a shot for a buddy of mine who might be a Boston fan and might be reading this blog).
I remember running from one end of the court to other, as if I was playing in front of 20 thousand screaming fans, I was leading the Lakers (ala Magic Johnson) in game 7of the championship series. I would shoot like Cooooooooper from 3-pt range, I’d make passes to myself (I also happened to play a very good James Worthy) off the end wall, and I’d even steal the ball from an unsuspecting Kevin McHale and shoot the “baby hook” to win it all. I could make awesome crowd noise, do the play-by-play announcing and celebrate the championship by running crazy over the playground trying to escape the nutso fans that charged onto the court.
And I could do all of this, day after day, all by myself. I was a one-man basketball game.
Imagination is fun. I also think it’s a powerful tool that God has given us in pursuing His dreams for our lives. In Genesis 15 God was talking to Abraham about God’s big plans for Abraham’s life. But Abraham was frustrated that he was approaching 100 years old and he still didn’t have a kid. (Even back then, 100 year-old-men and women were dropping pups very often!)
God took Abraham out of his little village and had him glance into the night sky. Then God said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your offspring be.” Wow, what a promise! If Abraham could count the stars, then he would be able to count his offspring! How many nights after that, did Abraham take a moment from a late night walk to glance skyward and imagine his children, grandchildren, great-great grandchildren that would one day walk the earth? How did he imagine the dreams God had given him?
Have you ever imagined your life being totally used for God? What would that look like? How would you serve your spouse? How would you raise your children? How would you do your job if you imagined a life totally devoted to God? Have you ever dreamed about doing something remarkable for the Lord? Have you dreamed about doing something extraordinary that would require great faith, patience, love, courage and an awesome community?
I imagined some great basketball games and “played” them with enthusiasm, joy and sometimes a lot of endurance. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had some new imaginations and dreams, some God-sized goals that I’ve gone after with a similar passion, energy and focus. I hope the next 40 years of my life will be filled with great joy as I seek to the live the Overboard Life and watch to see what amazing work God does in and through me. How about you? What dreams are you chasing? What God-given imaginations are you living for?
12 down, 28 to go.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!