No, I am not taking tennis lessons. Jun and I are watching replays of the Australian Tennis Open matches. Jun is the tennis buff in the family; he still enjoys playing singles and doubles at age 70+. I enjoy watching good tennis players and learning from them by observing how they react to the different challenges and situations facing them in every game.

There are several lessons one can learn from watching the players by reading their body language. How they walk across the court, how they stand when receiving serve, how they react after missing an easy ball … you can gauge their “winnability” and “desire to win” by their body language.

Does he get angry at himself? Does he respect his opponent’s skill when he executes a really difficult shot perfectly? Does he lose his composure and concentration after missing a shot and continue to flub his game? Does he react to the crowd’s cheering and jeering? Does he remain focused on his game plan no matter what? Does he angrily confront the chair umpire over a questionable call? Is he able to smile as he shakes hands with the player who beat him? During breaks does he sit with his head down (a sign of losing hope?) or have that far-away look in his eyes (focusing on his next strategy?)? Does he walk and stand confidently between plays? Does he anxiously glance toward his coach whenever he can?

You know, if we stop to think about it, the body language of players in tennis games can be seen in our everyday lives…in how we walk, in how we react and respond to life situations. Do we comment on someone else’s actions with a smile or a bit of humor, a critical glare, or with anger (many times unreasonable anger)? Do we look at life optimistically expectant for good things to happen, or do we see life through dark glasses, pessimistically predicting all the wrong things that might happen? Do we navigate through life confidently or hesitantly? Do we always look anxiously to someone else for approval?

Another scenario: What about our prayer time? What is our body language saying to God? As I praise and thank God for His blessings in my life, are these praises borne out by openness and expectant faith in my body language, or does my body language reflect my fatigue with the world, my unwillingness to listen to my God, or my irritation at having to fulfill my ‘commitment’ to pray when I would rather be doing something else?

Do we see the cup of our life as half full or half empty? Half full of accomplishments and happy, joyful moments, with the expectant anticipation of more wonderful things to come? Or, half full of mistakes and failures that seem to multiply faster than we can deal with them?

Several years ago I read a delightful book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. In other words, don’t let little things in life, especially in your relationships, irritate you and distract you from all the wonderful things happening around you. Keep your focus, respond to every situation with love, and do your best to make your best even better. Walk confidently. Remember that GOOD is not GOOD – if BETTER is expected!

Jeremiah, the prophet, quoted the Lord’s instructions about life: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jer 29:11)

Is your cup half full of the Lord’s wonderful works, with the remaining space waiting to be filled with even more wonderful things? Or, is your cup half filled with woe, unhappiness, tears, and things gone wrong? Mine is half full with the abundance of the Lord’s goodness, and I know that my future is full of hope, as I await with expectant faith for even more wonderful works of the Lord to fill up my cup of blessings.

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