8-10 "Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.’ Then the Philistine said, ‘This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.’"
1 Samuel 17:8-10 (NIV)
I would have run my fastest 40-yard dash to flee the scene.
Israel was terrified when they came up against a confident and intimidating heavyweight in Goliath. He was a skilled and experienced fighter. David was a boy.
Picture Papa Smurf in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Not only did the Philistines think David was a joke, so did the Israelites.
But David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (1 Samuel 17:32) We know the rest of the story.
Imagine if David told himself, “There’s no way this slingshot will work.” That would have affected his performance. What if you say, “There’s no way we can beat the number 5 team in the nation”? That will impact your performance.
Fear can be debilitating and stunt your athletic performance. Fear of what others think and fear of outcomes can defeat you before you play the game.
I played high school basketball at a small school in Nebraska where not many guys could dunk. When I got to college I was intimidated and lost confidence when my teammates were having a dunk contest before practice.
Those dunks destroyed my confidence, thus performance.
I would have performed better if I trusted God, not worried and been confident in the skills He had given me, like David. Faith in God helps us perform close to our highest athletic potential. But, that’s not the reason we trust God, it is a byproduct.
Of course, we can perform well without being mindful of God, but that’s not how we are made to operate. We were not made to operate like the prideful, fallen Goliath who appeared to be confident only in himself and his abilities. But, Jesus our prototype, walked so confidently with His Father in basic trust, and that crowded out worry.
Athlete, when you check the stats and times of your opponents and watch them in warm-ups or summer leagues, don’t lose heart. Don’t worry, God has already taken care of you in the biggest ways. Plus, there is no athlete on the planet with your exact skill set. No one can do what you do the way you do.
Athlete, don’t let fear and worry hinder your athletic performance, and remember you have David’s God.