I have a desire to be bold.
I have always wanted to live a life that pursues God in every direction, but more importantly, one that embodies boldness. I began to seek God at an early age, and eventually I realized how much I needed Him in my sport. No amount of support from a teammate, parent, coach, or friend group could fill the void in my life where I desperately needed the Lord’s intervention. He is our true source of strength, our calm in the storm, our light in the darkness.
In volleyball, my personal goal has always been to seek first the Kingdom of God when all things go south. Easy, right? Well, we are human. We often become forgetful, distracted, and preoccupied. We can fall short in our submission to God and lose sight of who is ultimately in control. Additionally, things like fear creep in. Our hearts and minds can wander in our sport when fear penetrates our thoughts. Let’s face it, this world can be critical and quick to judge. As Christian athletes, this is where God calls us to be BOLD.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I desire boldness to share the Gospel.
Not only do I have a mission to remain obedient to God in my sport but I want to find ways to share the greatest news of all time with teammates. Hmm, like practice getting cancelled? NO… the gospel!!! This means speaking up and sharing with your teammates, the ones you don’t really know yet and the ones you’re already close with. To name a few doubts that have flooded my mind… Will they even like what I have to say? Will they think I’m weird? Or, I don’t want to be rejected.
At a school like Northwestern, religion isn’t a popular topic. Trust me, in my first two years these doubts crept in constantly. But I can assure you that there is beauty in boldness. Beauty in setting those discouraging thoughts aside and sharing your faith and your testimony… because we are commanded to be His ambassadors and to proclaim the gospel to all of creation. Do we need a better reason than Jesus’ words in the Mark?
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
My First Step Towards Boldness: Knowing that my confidence is in the Lord, not my performance.
Throughout my time at Northwestern, I have encountered challenges in my faith. I have dealt with anxiety in the midst of trials but am continually reminded that there is no other way to cope with the anxieties of this world than through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. My confidence needs to come from our Almighty God, not my stats or others say. So often we catch ourselves doubting our abilities, doubting our influence, and doubting our value. I did that again and again my first two years of college and it only left me feeling empty.
Not only did this tank my self-esteem, but it created so much negative self-talk, distanced me from God, and caused me to be silent rather than bold. I desperately needed a change. I had to break these tendencies, and begin putting my confidence wholeheartedly in Jesus. I’ve learned that putting it anywhere else will fail us in the end. Stand firm. Start practicing and playing with the confidence that comes from above— gain Godfidence that allows you to compete boldly. When I am feeling insecure as a player and a teammate, I lack boldness. But when I am confident in the Lord, no matter what is happening on the court, I can stand firm!
My Next Step Towards Boldness: Practice being bold in my relationships, regardless of what others might think.
I truly value relationships. I love getting to know my teammates deeply, asking genuine questions, and being there for them when they need me. But I can definitely say I have always regretted not being more BOLD in them. Although I desire to be bold in conversation, love, and honesty, I still catch myself being timid. My freshman and sophomore years were tough. I was new to this college life, nervous to be bold, and scared to share my faith openly. I was so distracted with what I thought everybody else would think, rather than putting God’s perspective first.
Ladies, we are emotional and critical thinkers. We might carefully consider certain things, but when it comes to sharing what ETERNITY looks like with our Father, there should be no room for silly intermission. This also means that an invitation can be our most effective tool. Over the last 2 years, I have been pretty hesitant to ask my teammates to come to bible study, retreats, or church with me. The fear of rejection and clouds of doubt were constantly holding me back from sharing Jesus. I became so frustrated with my inability to do this, that I prayed for the Lord to change my heart, to make me bold, and to grant me strength to invite my teammates to learn about the One who changed my life forever.
A few weeks ago, I felt God tugging at me to fill my car with more than just myself on that Sunday morning. I asked 5 teammates, who I drove to treatment that morning, to join me at church. The first few years of my college career, I was so timid with this kind of thing. But this day felt different. I asked with boldness, sincerity, and love. I had been praying again and again for this courage. With that said, I got 5 YES’s from these girls that morning!! As I became overwhelmed with joy in the front seat of my car, I knew this service would be something beautiful for them.
Some girls admitted that they haven’t gone to church in years. They have had bad experiences with religion and church. One teammate said she never did anything like this growing up, so it was never of interest to her. God is so good, you guys! One of those teammates then came up to me the following week and said that she and the girls wanted to go again. They wanted to experience more. They wanted to hear more about Jesus. As I type this holding back tears, I am forever thankful for the Lord’s work in my heart. I pray that I can continue increasing this number and that I continue to live this life in BOLDESS. Why? Because beautiful things can happen.
My Final Charge for You: Be Courageous.
FAM, have courage, practice what you preach, and take risks!!! You can bet your bottom dollar the Lord is smiling down on us when he sees us do this without hesitation. You will see God open doors when you explore life outside your comfort zones on and off the court. This includes our actions in and out of performance. We are not defined by our wins and losses in our sport but the BIG DUB that we achieve when we completely surrender to God and humble ourselves before him. Our strength, our confidence, our abilities come from Him. As I once read, “No life is more secure than a life fully surrendered to God.”
Invite that teammate that is struggling with season to bible study or church. Have coffee with that teammate who needs a listening ear about what is going on at home. Call up that teammate that’s in need comfort, love, and hope. If we just take off the blinders and open our eyes, the Lord has prepared so many divine appointments for us. Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, and prepare to stand in awe of how our God will work.
· Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Hey FAM! I am a junior volleyball player at Northwestern University studying Human Development and Psychological Services. I have a huge passion for helping and serving others and I hope to pursue a career in law enforcement someday. Coffee, country music, and chick flicks make me happy! My philosophy is to spread love and kindness around like confetti. Additionally, love like Jesus. We love others best when we love God most.