Soccer is a big sport at my school. Every year we have enough interest to form three full teams and players still have to be cut.
As a junior this year, I made Varsity squad. Before our season began and during the second week of practice, whenever I ran, my ankles felt weak and useless. With most things I do, I am generally happy if know I did well. For me, it’s not whether I tried my hardest, but whether I could have possibly done better. In thinking about things this way, I put a lot of pressure on myself. So when my ankles started giving me trouble, I was frustrated, knowing that I could be playing better if I wasn’t hindered.
I thought about praying, but my first thoughts were that the problem would pass soon and I didn’t need to bother. Twice after practices I iced my ankles, and after a couple days of trying to wrap my ankles with tape, I realized that prayer in Christian Science was the best way to go and could cure this condition.
An article on the teen pages of the Sentinel about running helped me. There was a part in the article that said doing a good activity to express spiritual qualities can’t produce bad results. I tried praying with that idea in the middle of the week, but was always thinking to myself: “What am I doing wrong? This approach has worked for other people. Why not me?”
Discouraged, I called a Christian Science practitioner, who is also my good friend. I decided to work with him and think about the ideas we were sharing as I looked forward to a national DiscoveryBound event in Seattle, focusing on music. (For readers who don’t often visit these teen pages: DiscoveryBound provides year-round fellowship for Christian Scientists and their friends.)
On my call with the practitioner, he told me that sometimes people feel that Christian Science is a burden and that if it’s not working for them they wonder what they’re doing wrong. He then told me: “Take a step back. What does God think about this? What does God think about what you’re doing right now?” That really spoke to me since the practitioner seemed to know exactly how I was feeling.
God wasn't seeing me as separated from happiness and health. God was seeing me as capable of expressing Him in everything I do.
I thought about that throughout the whole weekend and knew that when I was at the DiscoveryBound event expressing happiness and joy, it could only be a positive activity in God’s eyes. God wasn’t seeing me as hurt in some way or separated from happiness and health. God was seeing me as spiritual, loved, and capable of expressing Him in everything I do.
On the last day of the DiscoveryBound event, we had a picnic at a large park. During the picnic there was an ultimate frisbee game going on. I hesitated playing since I was still having trouble with my ankles, but then I remembered to take a step back and ask what God thinks. I knew that expressing strength while playing a game is expressing God’s spiritual qualities.
After a pain-free game with my ankles feeling strong, I returned to my soccer team the following Monday. I not only felt better about how I played, but I went from an inactive player on the bench to a starter in our first game of the season. There were no more ankle problems after that.
Many times, it feels easier to use prayer only when I really need to. With colds and minor injuries, it’s tempting to choose to let things just “play out.” I’m realizing now that prayer can and should be used daily. Christian Science is a way of life, not just a remedy to apply to problems you may have. For example, I don’t think Mary Baker Eddy wrote the “Daily Prayer” (see Church Manual, p. 41) just for when people are hurting. It’s called the “Daily Prayer” for a reason. I now know that practicing Christian Science daily can actually prevent petty injuries from even happening.
Collin Faunt is a junior in high school.
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