Do you ever wonder what goes on in the locker room during halftime of a football game? I have heard all kinds of reports. It often depends on how the first half has gone. If the other team is ahead, then the coach may be very animated [nice word for really mad] and may be telling players what they did wrong. If their team is ahead, the coach may be a bit excited, but more positive in affirming those who made great plays. Either way, there is usually an evaluation of how the game is going and what strategy is needed for the second half. There is a lot of chalk on the board with “x’s” and “o’s.”
In many “halftimes” of life, we need an evaluation of how things have gone, what worked what did not go so well, and what changes [if any] need to be incorporated to ensure victory.
- Career – in our professional life we often re-evaluate our progress. Sometimes this is something we do on our own and at times others or circumstances do this for us. Seeing where we have been and what worked in our work can give some great clues as to where our energy should be placed [i.e. retraining, more education, open to fresh ideas, focusing on strengths rather than a position that uses few of our God given abilities].
- Family – Families are dynamic, which means they grow and change. Evaluation times are needed to ensure that we are moving to our goal and that requires new approaches for new situations [i.e. as children grow, new rules and activities are needed]. There are things that we may regret leaving behind [the cuddling of an infant] but there is also the fresh adventure of new challenges [the creativity of a Kindergartener].
- Personal Goals – Living a healthy well-balanced life takes time and effort, but it also requires a good evaluation, occasionally. If we just keep going without a halftime game plan, we may be stuck in discouraging defeat, or miss out on ways to be even more successful. As members of First Place reach or struggle with personal goals, there are many ways to make improvements. The power of the weekly meeting is to encourage, learn and gain insight.
“…No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:62]
Perhaps the best time to check how straight a row is being plowed is not to keep looking over the shoulder, but at the end of the row see if it is straight and if so, follow that track – if not, make adjustment.
The goal is not to over-evaluate but do a good overview of progress. Some can’t make progress, because they are too concerned with the past and how things were [could seem too terrible to overcome or too good to duplicate]. Halftime does not tell the final score. No matter how far the other team is ahead, if they scored that many points in a half, so can we!
Evaluate for the purpose of reaching the goal.
- Be clear what the goal is [i.e. set reasonable weight goals]
- Be sure what plan you are working [and stick with the plan that is working].
- Make adjustments that are sound [don’t go it alone – the group can be your coach].
- Get back in the game [the break is not the end but a purposeful pause].
- The band has played; the fans are cheering; now get on the pads and make the play.
Dr. Bill Heston
Howard Payne University
Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.