Game on, fear off

We all have to face a dragon of one kind or another in our lives. To me, dragon is just another word for fear, and I've found that eliminating fear is the fundamental key in any healing experience. Fear tries to draw us away from our spiritual freedom and dominion, given to us by God. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy talked about eliminating fear, an illusion at its core, by advising, "Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious—as Life eternally is—can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not" (p. 495).

I'm a high school football coach at a school for Christian Scientists. And last fall, our team had a great challenge in facing fear. The year before, we'd played a team (whose mascot is coincidently the Dragons!) that was two size classifications higher than us, had more than double our team numbers, and outweighed us by over 100 pounds per player on the line of scrimmage. They'd easily beaten us before by over three touchdowns, and we all were looking for ways not to have to play them again. But we'd signed a two-year contract and had to meet our obligation.

The week before the game, our team prepared well physically and mentally to face this tough opponent. Our mental preparation always includes prayer and metaphysical discussions before each game. This preparation is not to ensure a win on the scoreboard but instead to establish that "the objects we pursue and the spirit we manifest reveal our standpoint, and show what we are winning" (Science and Health, p. 239).

For this game, what we wanted to "win" was a victory over fear. We specifically addressed fear in our pre-game team meeting and agreed that we could play our best game of football if we established a God-given "clear sense and calm trust." And we talked about how to establish a clear sense by concentrating on our objective of expressing qualities of God. We discussed examples of love for the game, brotherly love for each other, and love for the opportunity to play our opponent. A calm trust was in fact established through this input and support among the team; we talked about God's law of protection and how "perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18).

In practices, we'd constantly talked about how to play aggressively without any antagonism toward our opponent. We defined "aggressive" as playing wholeheartedly and with our full effort. A specific example of how we continue to play wholeheartedly without any antagonism is hitting our opponent with perfect form and full effort, and then going out of our way to offer a hand to help the player up after the play is over. This example quickly sets a great tone for our game, encourages respect for our opponent, and dissipates fear and animosity on both sides.

So on the day of this particular game, our team arrived at the other school very well focused. When the opposing team displayed their great size and numbers by marching by our bus, our players displayed clear sense and calm trust by not staring out the windows or being impressed by the show of physical power. When I observed this focused thought, I knew our team was ready to play our best football ever, fearlessly, and with complete freedom.

During that game, our players expressed great joy and dominion that came as a result of their mental preparation. Instead of being impressed with the other players' sizes, I saw how each player was focused on winning each moment to the best of his ability. Instead of allowing animosity to creep into their game, our players established a respectful atmosphere by offering a hand to help the other guys up. Prior to the game, each member of our team had agreed to express unique qualities of thought; they were clearly unified as a team, backed by powerful principles of sportsmanship. This unity of high-minded thinking not only made us more effective in executing football plays together, it gave great assurance to each player.

Through our clear focus and concentration on expressing our prayers in action, we had an almost perfect game! In fact, we scored over 50 points and won by more than a 30-point margin. But what we really won was increased understanding and confidence in how to handle fear through a focused thought, free from distraction.

Our expression of spiritual qualities on the field won us great respect from the opposing players and coaches. And we even received a letter of commendation for the great character that the players expressed during the game—from a fan who'd rooted for the opposing team.

We can effectively slay the dragon of fear with a perfect sense of love, calm trust, and clear sense of reflecting God's goodness. When we stand up to the dragon with the power of Truth, the dragon is defeated. There is no greater victory than destroying something that tries to limit our God-given potential. CSS

August 9, 2010

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