Be Strong and Courageous - Matt Mooney

Leading up to last season’s Final Four game against Michigan State, when I was playing for Texas Tech, my friend shared the verse Joshua 1:9 with me. I was meditating on that verse and praying through Scripture. Then another friend reached out and sent me the same verse: Joshua 1:9. 

The day before the game, we had a shootaround at a high school gym. I walked into the locker room and there was a guy with a lacrosse helmet on that said “Joshua 1:9.” Then on the day of the game, I was reading my devotional in the back of my Bible and the Scripture of the day was Joshua 1:9:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Then I thought, “Man, something’s up. God is trying to tell me something.” During that game, I specifically remember an instance when we were about 10 minutes into the game. Michigan State had taken a lead and I hadn’t really done anything. I thought about that verse and thought, “This is your time. Don’t be afraid. Be courageous. Go get it!”

I started making some plays and being aggressive and hitting some shots. During the second half, I hit a hot streak where I hit a couple threes. It was all because I was dwelling on that verse the whole time.

That win put us in the national championship game, but that ended in a pretty tough loss for us. However, you learn more from failures than you do with success. With that final loss, I learned that the sun rises the next day; life goes on. You have to find a way to move on and find gratitude in things even when they don’t go your way. I’m grateful for the journey. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m grateful for such a great season. I’m grateful for my teammates and my coaches. I think when you find things to be grateful for, you quickly forget to dwell on the negative in the situation. 

But to be honest, I’m not great at moving on and accepting the losses. I’ve had some tough ones. I’m still trying to be better at dealing with the losses and adversity. I know in Scripture it says we should rejoice in adversity (James 1:2). It’s a chance to get closer to God. I try to take this verse to heart. 

— Matt Mooney, NBA player

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