The journey Concludes

"Hunger, habits, humility"

Head Coach Greg Tonagel

As the season wraps up, we find ourselves in a different place.  When I say a different place, I am not referencing the fact a year has passed and we are now older.  As you have read through each unique story, this year produced a lot of growth inside each of us. The “Journey” of 2016-2017 transformed us.  The wins and losses shaped us.  The ups and downs molded us.  The high and lows guided us. The frustration and joy motivated us.  In the end, we find ourselves in a new place spiritually.  Our growth reminds us that God is never done with transforming us, and as a result, we are not the same people as we were yesterday. 


You could say the scouting report to begin the year described our team as apathetic, inconsistent, and inwardly focused.  The narrative of our basketball season reads that God took a team of apathy to a team of hunger.  He took inconsistency and formed habits.  He took inward ambition and redirected it to the benefit of others.  In short, we discovered a new game plan to attack life fearlessly—HUNGER/HABITS/HUMILITY. 


Hunger:  Does your appetite produce comfort or growth in your life?

Proverbs 16:26 says, “it is good for workers to have an appetite: an empty stomach drives them on.” 


Let me just say it simply; comfort is overrated.  It is easy to take the path of least resistance.  It is easy to follow the crowd.  It is easy to skip a rep or a suicide.  Yes, comfort is easy on the front end, but it also never pays up on the back end.  It always leaves us unsatisfied. 


We all have appetites, and thus we all have hunger pangs.  You know, those stomach cramps you get when you are starving and you can smell your favorite food?  It’s your bodies way of telling you it needs to be fed.  In the same way, our hearts have hunger pangs.


You see, we were made in God’s image, sin has marred that image, but through Christ we can see the restoration of that image.  The hunger we experience in life is that cry back to be reimaged.  Next time you think you need more power, possessions, or popularity in order to make your life more comfortable, perhaps you can stop and recognize that what you really hunger for is more of God.  This is where “IAm3” begins. He is the true desire of our hearts and the only one that satisfies.   


God is not our mascot or our good luck charm.  We don’t just ask him to cheer us on and give us victory. No, he is the game in the final analysis.  He coaches us, calls the plays, achieves the victories, and the write-up in the paper the next day is all about him! 


Habits “Do your habits today, match up with your dreams of tomorrow?”


Everybody wants to talk about potential in the recruiting process.  The conversations are often driven by athleticism, length, and talent.  The real marker in realized potential often lies beneath the surface in a person’s habits.  To gauge a person’s potential, I believe you must be privy to their habits. 


Habits are a powerful force that can influence us one way or the other.  Stephen Curry’s story proves the positive influence of habits.  From a scrawny, under recruited high school player to the NBA MVP, we are offered a window into the power of habits.  The deep threes and amazing handles did not come by accident.  They are the result of intentional, disciplined habits. 


Developing the right habits provides influential shaping power over the course of one’s life.  The college years are some of the most trajectory shaping years of a person’s life.   It is true that you must start with a big dream.  However, the habits in pursuing your dream will show up as a major difference 10 years down the road. 


Proverbs 27:7: “One who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.”  This verse tells us that “self-restraint (habits of discipline) increases enjoyment (dreams); whereas, over-indulgence produces apathy. 


You will become what you decide, not what you want to become.  In other words, your life is not shaped by your dreams but by your discipline.  Habits become character become destiny.  The habits of intentional prayer and time in the Word shaped us this year immensely.   


Humility:  Will you become a coach/teammate who takes on the weight of somebody else’s spiritual growth?

“Proverbs 22:4 True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life.”


The natural result of a hungry, driven, and disciplined person will be success.  The question then becomes; what to do with that success?  Was it granted so you can prove everybody wrong?  Was it gained for self-glory?  Does the success actually taste as good as you thought?  Perhaps, what we are really after is fulfillment, not success.


I can tell you there have been times in my own life I have been disappointed with the feeling of success—when not shared in humility.  In our program we define humility as leveraging the gifts you have for the sake of others.   When we take what we have, and point it at others, we find fulfillment while others find theirs too. 


This year proved that being on a team is about more than winning games.  Each player learned this year that they were put on this team for certain purposes, and their own comfort was not one of them.  They were on this team to invest into each other.  They realized that together, they could help each other grow in hunger, habits and humility.


As a result, we all are in a different place.  “The Journey” has transformed us.