Finding God's Winning Spirit

Perspective Peace and Pressure

March 31, 2014 | Greg Smith | Focus

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In my view the key to performing under pressure is not trying to minimize it – just don't exacerbate it. I tell athletes that the 3-foot putt for a championship is not harder mechanically than the 3-foot putt in practice – it is harder because of what it represents.

The Christian athlete plays with a sense of peace and purpose that does not depend on a particular play, shot or putt. They are complete and content because of God's love.  They have all they need or better yet, have nothing to lose.

One way to look at this is to say once we are at peace with God we have a better perspective on everything else. Once we are safe and content (at peace) we are then free to live life from a new perspective – a position of strength, joy and a winning spirit (1 John 14: 26-27).

Living our lives under the watchful eye of a loving God fills us with joy and peace. We, like the sheep in Psalms 23, are content. This contentment comes from feeling safe and protected and enables us to negotiate the stress and pressure of everyday life. This constant sense of well-being allows us to rest and recover emotionally and physically. Feeling safe and secure allows us, and athletes, to focus on God's purpose and increases our ability to perform.

Athletes talk about this state of peace in the midst of performance and call it “being in the zone”.  It is the ability to perform at one’s highest level with no fear or distraction – just playing the game; being one with their sport. This is what happens when we become in tune with our God- given gifts and His call to use such gifts.

Once again we can use sports to teach us about living the Christian life. The way to handle the pressure of everyday life is not by denying it or avoiding it – we simply need to defeat it. Knowing that God has promised to always protect us and never leave us gives us confidence which brings a sense of peace, which gives us perspective, which allows us to defuse stress and anxiety.

God does not want us to live with stress, worry or fear. He wants us healthy, focused, confident and content. He wants us to win!

 

(Excerpt from Sports Theology: Finding God’s Winning Spirit)

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