Corn Hole, Gravy, and Neuroplasticity… Together At Last!

driversBY:  JOHN DRIVER

E-MAIL ADDRESS:  john@lifeassembly.com

BIBLE TEXT:  Colossians 2:6 NLT- And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”

PERSONAL REFLECTION:  Occasionally I have the opportunity to join with a few friends at Life and enjoy a rousing game of corn hole. Not sure who came up with the name, but I guess no one asked me. I suppose it is just a hair better than the game I once invented called Gravy Slurp… merely a hair better, but keep your hair away from my gravy straw.

That’s just gross.

Regardless, I have noticed something quite interesting about the patterns of throwing corn hole beanbags. If either myself or my opponent next to me happen to make a good throw, the odds of the next throw from either one of us being a good throw exponentially increases. I have my theories, but I think it has to do with the fact that when you see a good throw, your brain processes its trajectory and landing spot, thus forming an invisible mental pathway for your next throw. You may have heard me say it a few times, but the study of pathways in the brain is called neuroplasticity. This refers to mental and physical repetition that produces mental pathways one instinctively follows, usually without being aware of it.

In fact, I often yell “neuroplasticity!” (true story) as a hurl my beanbag through the air, much to the obvious delight of my generally masculine opponents. Dudes who just came to watch the big game on a big screen love it when you trash talk with big six-syllable words most normal people chose to ignore the first time they heard it in their 8:00 A.M. freshman college psychology class. Nice throw, Professor Beanbag… all you’re missing is those nifty patches on your “off-brown” (yes, with certain professors, “off-brown” is a thing) corduroy blazer.

I’m just kidding, I could never throw a corn hole bag in my corduroy blazer… believe me, I’ve tried. That’s what four summers at Corduroy Camp will get you. I bet you can relate. Well, I’m really just shooting in the dark on that bet… maybe your blazer is different color altogether. As my millennial friends say, it’s “what evs.” You should probably read the Personal Application now.

PERSONAL APPLICATION:  I believe that our spirits follow pathways as well. As this verse references, it is possible to follow Jesus initially, but perhaps miss opportunities to continue following Him. Continuing is the trick and yes, it is easier said than done. However, the more time we spend being faithful to continue surrendering to Him each day, the most we will blaze a spiritual path that will eventually become second nature to us.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” Simple. Profound. Liberating. If you are feeling lost today in your walk with Jesus, instead of trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe—like how to play Gravy Slurp—instead simply return to where you first started—His love for you—and focus on continuing to follow him from there. Go back to the place of your first love. Then repeat. Then repeat again.

And if need be, you can try yelling, “Neuroplasticity!” while you do so. Works for me.

PRAYER: Father, teach me what it means to continue to follow You in everything I do. I want to become constant in my surrender to You… so much so that the daily path illuminated by Your words becomes second nature to my spiritual feet. In Jesus’s name.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

When I am not working as the teaching pastor at Life Assembly, I am a covert agent for the CIA. Past missions include extracting hostile, yet crucial young assets from the Chic-Fil-A playground before they were ready to leave. They really needed a bath before bed. I have also found myself many times vacuuming crumbs off my bed with a full-sized vacuum cleaner and wondering what planet I was on. I thought I saved the world once, but it was really just a turtle crossing the street. I like yelling at people when I drive; it gives me many chances to pray later. I like writing ridiculous bios about myself just to see who really reads far enough to find the ridiculous part. My wife has endured me for thirteen years and I reward her with my mediocre appearance and many distractions and projects. I cheer for the Vols when they are good and bad. They rarely cheer back. I like music. Oh yeah, and I write books.

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