In the Red Zone

Are you in the "Red Zone"? You need know it, if you are. You need to learn how to play through the pressure. You are "this close" to your objective. The opposition becomes close and personal. This season of life has come down to these few yards - some single decision or diagnosis or dilemma, or simply a series of final months or days between you and your outcome. You either play it all the way through, or quit and exit the field. There is no room left for your enemies - always more than one - to put any distance between them and you, so you can now see the very whites of their eyes. Every play counts, every down counts, every breath you draw counts.

Yeah...I'm a football fan. I see a lot of metaphors in the game.

I heard something today that gave me pause. A well-known commentator, and a former football player himself, said, "When you get to the Red Zone, it becomes all about attitude. The Red Zone is a mindset. The best plays, the cleverest plans, won't do a thing for you. You need a play. You need a plan. But more often than not, you end up having to trash it, because the Red Zone is an emergency. You have to be determined to break through, by any means. Any team without this determination will fail in the Red Zone."

Where, in life, are you "this close"? Are you about to graduate from college? Very close to graduating your last child from high school? Is the wedding a mere week away? Is the chemo almost over? The project near completion? Is your job about to take a turn for the better? Is your career one achievement away from taking off? Is that prodigal just one year away from coming home? (I can smell the BBQ already...and you'd better invite me to the party!)

Don't stop praying. Don't stop believing God. By any means, just don't stop what you are doing.

Life in the Red Zone is no longer so much about well-laid plans, as it is about being determined to break through and finish what was begun. It is the most physical, most draining, yet also the most exhilarating and exciting part. Dig in. Set your face like a flint. Move forward, no matter what.

The only thing worse than quitting in the Red Zone, would be to not know you are in it.

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