Have you ever felt like there was one activity in life that you were totally incompetent at? That if someone insisted you do it, you would automatically reply, “Oh, I can’t do that,” and you wouldn’t even try?
I’ve been that way for 35 years concerning sports. In seventh grade I went out for basketball, but ended up last on the team, a bumbler on court, and ended up resolved to stick to the subjects I excelled at—namely all the academic thinking activities. I never felt much loss for not being engaged with sports, but I also harbored for years and years the belief that “I just couldn’t do it.”
Three years ago I resolved to change that. I started tennis lessons with my wife. Several times I was ready to quit because it was hard work and very demanding on my sense of possibility. Plus, I kept missing the ball! This is not helpful in tennis…
But I stuck to my commitment to destroy once and for all the lie that I was an athletic incompetent.
There was a spiritual victory here that I needed to claim, I felt strongly. God did not make anyone incompetent. We’re all competent, intelligent and able, and have all the resources of Mind to draw upon to demonstrate our God-given capacities.
I had a minor, but to me, major, victory yesterday, that has made my commitment to this ideal worth all the physical and metaphysical effort I’ve put into breaking this lie over the last three years.
I’m captain of a USTA tennis team. A miracle in and of itself! I have eleven devoted and terrific guys in my group. In a tournament, 6 guys play 3 sets of doubles, and 2 guys play singles. Five matches are played at once—team versus team. Whichever team wins the most of the 5 matches, wins the team match. So, as captain, I have to place my team members to maximize our talent and win at least 3 of the matches.
In the past, I’ve always played doubles, never singles, in these tournaments, feeling there was no way I’ll ever be good enough to play singles. But over the last year, I resolved to break that lie too. Even from a physical point of view, there was no reason why I shouldn’t be able to play singles. I had all the right parts! If there was any obstacle, it was purely mental, not physical. And I wanted to conquer the mental barriers that insisted I was limited.
So, I worked hard with my coach over the last several months to prepare for playing singles, and yesterday, in our 2nd match, I felt enough courage to slot myself in at a singles #2.
Again, I was reminded right from the start of the match why I persist in playing tennis, even though I have more than enough work to keep me busy with my healing practice. Tennis has been a healing practice for me. My success with the sport has strengthened my success in understanding how to deal with error and destroy its lies.
Shortly after I started my singles match, I was not feeling normal. My heart was pounding in my chest. Literally! I felt these boom, boom, booms, and I thought this is not normal! I was stressing up inside, which was not typical for me either. It was an out of control feeling and I prayed for a resolution, but engaged with the opponent, it was a challenge to pray as deeply as I would if not engaged.
After several games, and we were neck and neck, point for point, practically, I realized that all the heart pounding and stress was all the lies about me being athletically incompetent and not worthy of playing this match surfacing big time. It was a pent-up force that had been building for 40 years and all of a sudden was erupting right when I had taken a decisive step to prove it unreal.
This is often how error operates. Right when you take a seriously progressive step, it wants to say as loud as it can that, ”You can’t do it! I won’t let you!”
We have to be wise to how mortal mind works in its efforts to stop progress from occurring in order to defeat its attempts to stop our progress. I’ve seen this many times in the healing practice, and I saw that I was smack in the middle of a very aggressive attack.
Now that I had pinpointed the error, I refuted it by knowing I was worthy of playing that match. That it didn’t matter if I won or lost, but it did matter that I accept my worthiness of being on that court. I had practiced hard to get there, and I was capable of performing well for the team.
It was clear that I was not afraid of my opponent. I was afraid of doing poorly and letting the team down. I was afraid that the “whole world” would say, “See, Evan, should not be out there playing singles. He can’t do it right! He’s not athletically competent!”
I knew God would not approve of any of this nonsense coming from mortal mind, and I didn’t need to fear it, and I definitely didn’t need to manifest its symptoms. In between points, I vehemently declared the spiritual truth about my competency as a worthy child of God. The heart pounding ceased. I loosened up, and started to enjoy the match. Victory!!
It doesn’t matter to me what the score was, because I won with Truth, but you’re probably wondering about the final numbers, so I’ll tell you.
I did win the match 7-6, 6-2. But more importantly, I won a major triumph over the lie I’ve tolerated for too long, namely, that I was not worthy of some modicum of success in the sports department.
I love my tennis team. These guys are the greatest, and so supportive of each other. We have one more match this afternoon, but were so successful yesterday that we’ve already secured a high enough ranking to guarantee advancement to the next level, to be played one month from now in Spokane.
So, you’ll probably be hearing more about this on-going adventure soon!