Losing things is FRUSTRATING!!!!! Car keys – House keys – Notes – Wallets – Jewelry! How much time is wasted searching for things we lose? Then there is this other thing that happens – we put something away to easily find it later, but then can’t remember where we put it. Some of those things stay lost for a long time! It seems things just vanish, and no matter how hard or long we look, there is nothing!
For example, I lost my car keys one Minnesota winter. I was ready to leave in the morning, went to grab my car keys as usual, only to find them missing from their “spot”. Now THAT is not unusual because I often toss my keys in a purse or briefcase before getting out of the car, or lay them on a table, dresser, or any other myriad of places when I get in the house instead of hanging them in their proper place. So, after looking and not finding them in all my usual drop spots, I began searching the recesses of my brain to remember. Perhaps you’ve done that. It’s like watching a rerun in your mind, reliving the moments or hours before losing something to jog your memory!
Well, it worked! I remembered! The night before, I placed them on top of the car to free up my hands to get something else out. Oh, the relief of remembering where my lost keys were. Eager to get on with my day which was now starting much later than it was supposed to, I hustled out to the car only to find the keys were not on top. What? I KNEW they had to be there. I began to frantically search around the car, freezing my hands as I shoved snow aside and dug into snow banks, looked out in the street, in the mailbox, anywhere, hoping to find them (when you really can’t find something you will look in places it would never be just to make sure you cover all bases).
But still – they were nowhere to be found. I had to resign myself to the fact I hadn’t misplaced them this time, I had lost them. How frustrating to know they HAD to be somewhere since I used them to drive home, yet I couldn’t find them! Perhaps after the snow melted they would appear or the more likely scenario, they were stolen. No, I’m not paranoid or looking to blame someone for my mistake but we’d been robbed so many times at this house it wasn’t far-fetched to think someone saw them on top of my car and took them.
The problem escalated because not only were my car keys with the remote gone, but house, cabin, and church keys as well. This would turn into one of my more expensive losing situations as we had to replace all the keys, get a steering wheel lock for the car, and change all the locks on the house. And just in case you were wondering, no, the keys didn’t show up in the Spring, have never shown up, so they really were whisked away by a person, snowplow, or who knows? They are forever lost!
If you think about it though, in the vast scheme of life, losing objects is no big deal! After all, they are just possessions! We might be frustrated for a short time but life goes on even though we are inconvenienced. However, there are some losing situations that may have a greater impact along with the potential to alter life and relationships. For example: We lose our temper; we lose track of people, we lose our nerve, we lose sight of what’s important, we lose the will to live, we lose consciousness, we lose count, we lose face, we lose out on opportunities, we lose hair, bets, games, jobs, and houses, and we can lose weight.
We say things like: “She’s losing her marbles”, “I’m losing my mind”, “I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached”, “There’s no time to lose”, or “I am losing my train of thought.” We can “Lose sleep over situations”, “Win a few, lose a few”, “Lose touch with reality”, “Stand to lose a lot”, or “Lose our patience”. But ultimately, “You can’t lose what you never had”!
As you can see by these examples, other than losing weight it is tough to find anything good about losing. We want to win, not lose; be winners, not losers. It might be politically incorrect to call someone a “loser” yet we have no problem calling people “winners”. The truth is none of us are winners or losers, we simply win some in life, and lose a lot more. Honestly, losing happens more often than winning. For example, at the end of any sport season, there is ultimately only one team that wins and the rest lose. When there is a job opening, one person gets the position and the rest lose. In any race, one person wins and the rest lose. Spelling bees, debate teams, political races, band contests, and solo auditions all have one thing in common. One person or team wins, everyone else loses.
We have “softened” the idea of losing by saying we are runners-up, second place, third place, honorable mention, or simply a participant. But everyone knows the facts – you didn’t win! And if you don’t win – you lose! I know, we’re all winners as long as we take part, make a good attempt, get up when we fall down, and all the other feel good scenarios we can paint. But let’s face it! We all know what it feels like to come in anything other than first – we look at the person who “won” and immediately know we “lost”. No matter how good we and others try to make us feel, we still lost. Sure, we can be proud of our effort, our trying, our finishing, but eventually we are struck with the reality we didn’t win!
The exception could be when “we” are our only competition. It would seem then we can’t lose, though we still often manage to. We had this funny situation happen to us. My husband was pursued for a new position and there was a “vote” to accept or reject him for the position. When the results were in, we got the phone call with the news, “He won”, along with being told the margin of “victory”. Our family gave him the proper triumphal applause along with the hoots and howls that come with celebration. What makes it so funny? He was the only one on the ballot. I guess he could have “lost” but is that really a loss if you aren’t running against someone else? In a way, yes, because he would “lose out” but seriously, how humiliating if you’re the only one on the ticket and you still lose? Anyway, it just adds more fun into the topic of “losing”.
The truth is the majority of people lose often. So, you’re in the majority if you lose a lot! In fact, there is much more losing than winning going on, so much so that losing wins by a landslide! Most people lose more than they are even willing to admit. We shouldn’t take it personally though because remember, losing doesn’t make us losers, and losing doesn’t have to be a losing situation. In fact, losing can actually motivate us to work harder as we strive to win. The problem is when people get so tired of losing, they stop trying to win. Losing is not a reflection of our identity but something that happens as we live and try to win. We need not be discouraged with losing but encouraged by the fact we are alive and trying!
Because we experience much more losing than winning in life, we ought to be quite familiar with it and see the role losing plays in our lives. In reality, losing is just part of the winning process. The great basketball player, Michael Jordan, once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
It is only through losing a lot that we can win. Embracing this truth will motivate us to lose the one thing we MUST lose in this lifetime to win. That one thing is us! We must lose ourselves to find ourselves in Christ! This is the winningest losing proposition ever! (I know, that isn’t a word!)
Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Almost sounds like a riddle doesn’t it? Let’s break it down: Finding my life = Losing my life; Losing my life for Jesus’ sake = Finding my life. The truth about losing is never more critical than in this scenario.
Finding our life here on earth means we strive to win in the ways of man which will always result in losing our true life in Jesus. When we try to make a way for ourselves, consumed with the pleasures of this world, getting to know and “be” who “we” are, getting ahead, and fulfilling the desires of our flesh we will experience some level of joy and satisfaction in this lifetime, but we will lose it all, physically and eternally.
Instead we can choose to lose all those things that make up our life here for Jesus’ sake, lose our own selfish ambitions and goals, and find our lives completely absorbed into His, seeking Him and His plans to prosper and not to harm us, knowing He gives us hope and a future.
To see what this looks like we have only to turn to the Word of God and look at the life of Jesus. Honestly, it appears Jesus lost a lot, especially towards the end of His life. He suffered emotionally and physically. He was mocked, humiliated, beaten, taunted, whipped, and hung on a cross to die. He spent years being wrongly accused, set up, hated, and misunderstood. Some might have called him a loser! Yet, it was in His losing, His willingness to lose His own life for us that He found His own as He won! And by freely losing His life, He made a way for all of us to find life!
We are to model our lives after Jesus. Maybe we feel like we lose way too much. We keep trying to get ahead, time after time, but always end up with the short end of the stick, losing out so to speak. Maybe we invest everything into a relationship and still lose out on the love we expected in return. Maybe we go for promotions at work and lose out to someone else every time. Maybe we tell others about Jesus yet just keep losing friends. Maybe we suffer emotionally and physically, are mocked, teased, and abused. Maybe people call us losers! Yet in our losing, in our willingness to lose our lives, we win! By freely losing our lives, we find our freedom in His life. When we lose ourselves…we find ourselves!
The next time you lose, remember, in Jesus, losing is a winning proposition every time!