You won’t have to spend much time with me to figure out I’m a Baylor girl through and through; especially during football and basketball season.  My dad went to Baylor for his PhD in the 80’s, and it was always my dream to follow in his footsteps… not the PhD, but Baylor University.  While it’s been a loooong time since I graduated from there, I still like to go back at least once a year to catch a football game and especially a men’s basketball game.  Quite a few years back I was able to meet the head assistant coach Jerome Tang after a men’s game.  He was excited that I had come all the way from Atlanta to support the guys.  He introduced me to some players and the head coach, Scott Drew.  I got pictures and told the guys how proud I was of them.  It was such a fun experience.  Every visit after that, I made it a point to stick around to say high to Coach Tang and the players if I could.  Over the years, I’ve been able to send encouraging emails to Coach letting him know how proud I am of them and the legacy they are leaving for their players that will extend much further than their basketball careers.  If you haven’t yet, you need to research what these coaches and staff are instilling in the players that come across their paths.  These men are helping keep the players grounded and growing in their faith.  The past couple of seasons were extremely trying, but also extremely rewarding.  The 2020 season was brought to a devastating halt just as the Big XII championship tournament was starting, with Baylor ranked top in their conference and as legitimate favorites to win the national title.  Despite the devastation and disappointment, they came back for the 2021 season with more purpose, determination, smiles and J.O.Y.  than ever.  Throughout the season you would hear and read about the players living out their motto:  J.O.Y.  Jesus, Others, Yourself.  This motto was a reminder that when you put Jesus and others first, the excitement and joy that follows will carry you through anything; delays and cancellations due to COVID protocol, bad games, bad calls, missed opportunities, personal disappointments.  The players were not ashamed to share this philosophy during their interviews and I could hear it as Coach Tang would share with me a little about their journey.  In case you don’t follow men’s college basketball, the Baylor Men’s Basketball team did, in fact, go on to win the National Title in April of 2021 in dominating fashion, but with hearts of gold.  They truly exhibited Philippians 2:4 which reminds us to not only look out for our own interests but also to look out for the interests of others.  Those guys were excited for each other.  They truly didn’t care who stepped up that night, or who was in the spotlight… they had a genuine team mentality that showed on the court.  

Their culture of J.O.Y. didn’t just influence them or their surrounding community.  I went to Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA a little while after the championship game and Louie Giglio and his team had prepared a sermon series inspired by the Baylor basketball team.  I was so excited to share that with Coach Tang to let him know that they were influencing people all over the country.

Whenever I find myself down and frustrated, it’s usually because I’ve been focusing on myself and whatever problems I’m struggling with.  I know that if I would stop and focus on Jesus, Others, then myself, it would lift my spirits and get my perspective back on track.  If you are struggling today with experiencing true joy, please take a minute to ask God to line up your focus.  Go back and watch one of Louie’s sermons.  Watch a little about the Baylor men and their story and be inspired.  Joy is out there for you to embrace. That is God’s desire for your life.  “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11, ESV).  


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