I love sports—one of my absolute favorite times of the sporting year is the NCAA tournament. It’s true, my favorite teams are a combined 16-22 all-time in the tourney (Florida State, 16-15; Belmont, 0-7), yet every season, I still look forward to witnessing the madness of each game regardless of if my schools competed or had advanced.

Of the 347 colleges and universities that compete in NCAA Division 1 basketball, only 68 of them make it to the tournament—only 32 of those receive an automatic bid by virtue of winning their conference title. Of those teams that qualify, how many of them do you think played during the regular season with an attitude of, “Hey, let’s wait to fight really hard and enjoy the process once we finally make it to the tournament?” None.

MercyMe, CCM Magazine - image

The May 1, 2017 edition of CCM Magazine

Over the course of a long, four-month season, week in and week out, those select teams pour into every practice, every period of every game, and every post-game film session and team meeting—creating and living in defining moments along the way. This can be a great metaphor for our lives. Too often—and I feel, much too often as a community of believers—we resort to believing, “I’ll finally enjoy my life when I meet the ‘right one,’” or, “I’ll be more family-driven after I have kids,” etc.

Yeah, I’ve bought into this a time or two, but they couldn’t be further from God’s design for us. He truly wants us to enjoy the good times and to celebrate our victories—guilt shouldn’t accompany our positive, shining moments. Read close into the featured stories of this edition of CCM Magazine from MercyMe (overcoming guilt and false expectations to celebrate their most ambitious recording to date), Kim Walker-Smith (coming into her own as a new mother and experiencing success in new career pursuits), Selah (taking in twenty years of making music and selling millions of albums), and Matty Mullins (confidently following his passions).

Kevin Sparkman, CCM Magazine - image

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