“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” —2 Timothy 1:7
Sometimes competition provokes fear. Will I get cut from the team? Will the coach yell at me? However, if you look up fear in the dictionary it will say it’s “an emotion aroused by impending danger.” But if that’s really what fear is, then why do we fear things that aren’t really impendingly dangerous? For example, we might fear what people think of us, financial security and gossip.
Great athletes must understand what fear is and retreat from it. I define healthy fear as, “The emotion we give to someone who’s qualified to master our thoughts, actions and destiny – God – which then turns into awe, the accurate fear of the Lord.” The only thing worth fearing is the One who holds all things in the palm of His hand! But with fear of the Lord comes comfort in knowing of His great love for us.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1.
Unhealthy fear is an emotion we get from someone or something that’s unqualified to master our thoughts, actions and destiny, such as money, failure or a coach. A Christian athlete should walk into each practice with a healthy fear and say, “I’m here to practice today, Coach. I’ll give it all I’ve got.”
Athletics truly teach us what healthy fear is (that which helps us play better) and what unhealthy fear is (that which paralyzes us). Choose to resist the fear that paralyzes and embrace the challenge of potential growth.
—Jack Easterby, Chaplain for the New England Patriots
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