In sixth grade, I got excited about playing football, but didn’t know how I could do it. For much of my childhood, I hadn’t been able to participate in sports, because I was hampered by a physical problem. Though my parents had checked in with a doctor about it at one point, there wasn’t a guaranteed medical solution. So our family opted to persist in prayer with the help of a Christian Science practitioner. I had grown accustomed to thinking of this as “my problem” and referred to it this way frequently.
So when the idea came to play football, I was surprised by a quiet thought that arrived on the heels of it: that if everything I was learning in the Christian Science Sunday School was true, why wouldn’t I be able to participate? This didn’t need to be some human process of effort, but rather could be the natural, graceful effect of Truth revealing the truth of my being as whole and free. With the support of my parents and teachers, I started doing sports for the first time. I also made a consistent effort to stop identifying this challenge as my personal problem but, instead, to more consistently identify myself as spiritual—limitless. Within a year and a half, I never experienced this issue again.
Later, when I was a freshman wrestler, my coach noticed that I wasn’t engaging normally in our exercises. Since I’d missed all those years of sports and recess, I’d never learned how to move athletically and didn’t even know how to jump rope. He told me he’d heard about the healing I’d had, and encouraged me to consider that not only was I free from that problem, but I was also free from the label of being athletically delayed. That was a Friday, and on Monday, after praying about this fuller, spiritual sense of identity, I was able to jump rope flawlessly and even double jump. My athletic performance progressed normally from that point on.
In my study of Christian Science, I came across this wonderful statement by Mary Baker Eddy that struck me as a great description of what happened: “We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 264). I had stopped identifying myself as a sick, delayed person, and instead I was walking with the conviction that the truth about me and my freedom really was true. I wasn’t “faking it till I made it.” I had come to understand that what God knew about me as perfect and unlimited was more valid than any other testimony about my identity. And this brought freedom.