For such a time as this, when the game stands tall and it’s time to face my giants; may I never give up, and at the end of the game win or lose may all eyes look to you. Amen.
This small phrase might seem insignificant and cheesy to many; however, it has carried me through this past year, especially in times of trial and frustration. Even though there are multiple sport annotations within this statement and it probably seems pretty straight forward, the meaning is far more significant and relatable than one might expect—so let me break-it-down for you. :)
For the past eight years my life has been centered on sports and so I apologize for the obvious theme in a couple of my blog posts haha Prior to starting my senior year at Dordt College, I knew my last basketball season was going to be a unique one—full of many surprises and blessings; disappointments and heartbreak. Was it going to be easy? Definitely not. However, I never fathomed the emotional and physical (in terms of injuries) roller-coaster my team would experience in just a 5 month period. I’m a mental case when it comes to any performance based situation and anybody that knows me on a personal level can attest to this. As a result, before every season I design a network of words that I can focus on when anxiety levels are high and distraught emotions are starting to overwhelm any hope for concentration. This quote or bible verse is typically said repeatedly in my head, whether it’s: during the national anthem, before the jump ball, when there is only 5 seconds on the clock and the game is tied, when I foul out and have to sit the bench the rest of the game, or when I’m about to start my approach for high jump. After much debate, for my final year of college I created the statement above-- and these random words actually ended up consisting of a combination of my favorite movie titles, a short bible verse, and a couple key reminders.
For such a time as this…-- Esther 4:14
Esther is the bomb and is my role model. Enough said. She was a woman of innate wisdom, obedience, integrity, and selflessness. Even though she was fearful, she found strength ingrained in the power of Christ, to carry her through the valley of darkness (In an athlete’s world, valley of darkness= fouling out, season ending injury, losing streak, etc.). She lived in the moment—“for such a time AS THIS”. She found peace with her life or death situation, because she was rooted in a faith that was stronger than any scheme Haman (aka. The devil) could throw at her. Finally, the book of Esther is proof that God has bigger plans than what we intend or currently perceive.
When the game stands tall…
Go see this movie. This film tells the story of the De La Salle Spartans, who held the longest winning streak of 151 football games in American history; however, like most athletes know, no matter the level of discipline or talent, “no team wins forever.” Failure is destined to occur, and it’s those who survive disappointment that make true athletes of character. Success in terms of winning, stats, and records is considered insignificant in the heavenly realms; rather perceived as meaningless titles of worldly status. Athletes of true integrity and humility are developed by the process, not by the outcome.
Time to face my giants…
Jk—Make that two. Just go have a movie night for a party of one and watch both of these movies. :) Facing the Giants is an incredible film—full of inspiration defined through heartbreak and desperation; and God’s promise to never leave nor forsake those he loves. This movie is a fantastic reminder that God is capable of doing the impossible no matter how tall the task may seem. “Giants” in life come in all shapes and sizes—facing them head on takes incredible faith, but God never fails those who fight in his name.
May I never give up…
This can simply be defined as never loosing hope. Never selling yourself short as an athlete or individual by negative thoughts (ex. I’m not good enough.). Never hanging your head after messing up (I definitely need to take my own advice). Never giving up on the plan that God has perfectly laid out for you. There is a reason for everything. God works in such unique ways, one might think he is crazy and just enjoys seeing his people struggle. However, in times of hardship, frustration, or sadness, I encourage you to set aside your disappointment and dig deeper—seek out the mission impossible God has intended for you and let him make you into Tom Cruise.
Win or lose…
It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. Don’t get me wrong, winning all the time would definitely be an appreciated bonus, but it doesn’t define who you are as a team or individual. I'm a very competitive person and this concept has been very difficult for me to comprehend; however, the process of learning to deal with failure, is humbling and helps further develop the person God intends for you to be.
All eyes look to you…
As Christians, we have a duty to present ourselves in a manner that not only glorifies God, but sets us apart from the rest of society. This concept especially applies to athletes, because people are literally watching every move we make—that’s the whole point of competition. Our nation is obsessed with competitive sports and people of all age’s admirer athletes of character and integrity (ex. Stephen Curry). Therefore I ask, why wouldn’t we use this to our advantage? Christian athletes have the perfect opportunity to be a witness to the nations by the way we perform. Now that being said I realize that in the moment, when tensions are high, controlling one’s emotions is difficult, but try to remember the real reason you play the sport. Your #1 fan is cheering from above, so when all eyes turn to you direct them upwards and give him the glory he more than deserves.
The closure. The finale. The last horn. The finish line. The crowning glory. Whatever you want to call it—God has your back. This game/ competition is in the hands of God; now it’s your job to shut up, stop worrying, and play hard— it’s GAME TIME.