“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” – Proverbs 3:27
At the beginning of most sports seasons, there’s a tryout where players compete to earn their spot on the team. Tryouts are a stressful time as athletes face thoughts of comparison, fear of failure, worry over what the evaluators think, and anxiety over whether they’ll achieve their dream of making the team.
One challenging dynamic throughout the tryout process is rationalizing how to help other people when, by doing so, they might end up on the team and you might not. The world tells us to keep our heads down and fight for ourselves, but God teaches us otherwise.
The first time I tried out for the Olympic team (in 2010), I wrestled with this very dynamic and saw God’s powerful truth come to light. These were some scenarios that came up: When someone had a bad game, we inevitably thought, “At least that wasn’t me!” Or if a player had an injury, it was, “Bummer for her, but now I’m that much closer to making the team!” Or we judged our competition while inflating our ego, thinking, “That player really struggles breaking the puck out, so I know I have a leg up on her.”
Any time those thoughts surfaced in my mind, the Lord would constantly bring me back to Proverbs 3:27. God reminded me over and over that He wants us to share good with others, not withhold it. The Lord instructs us to verbally encourage someone when they had a bad game, not inwardly rejoice at their failures. We’re called to come alongside players who get injured by helping them with their rehab and reminding them how valuable they are to the team. When a teammate is struggling breaking the puck out, offer to stay after practice and help them turn a weakness into a strength.
I can’t control who’ll make the Olympic team, but I can control how I treat people. Next time we’re trying out for a team, I pray that we obey the Lord’s call in Proverbs 3:27 by flooding our teammates with love, encouragement and support in every situation.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” —Luke 12:22-26
— Gigi Marvin, USA Hockey player
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