When my children were young, a neighbor told us about our town’s park department soccer program. Having little experience with soccer in 1994, I was a little nervous about signing my kids up to play a sport that I was not familiar with. A few years after my decision to take a chance on the opportunity, I was glad I got over my apprehensiveness and introduced my daughters to a sport that has providing them with a lifetime of memories and friends. Soccer is now my favorite sport.
Not long after my conversion to soccer enthusiast, I kept hearing about this woman soccer player who was just amazing. Everyone was talking about Mia Hamm, a forward on the U.S. Women’s World Cup team, but I hadn’t seen her play. I was working a lot of hours during those years and had little time to seek out televised soccer matches.
By the time I finally found a spare moment to sit down and watch Mia Hamm play soccer, which was when the U.S. women’s soccer team was preparing for the Women’s World Cup tournament in 1999, I expected to see this woman dominate the rest of the players on the field. What I saw, on May 16, 1999, was the famous soccer forward being knocked down just about every time she went for the ball. The crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago roared in anger every time a Dutch defender sent Mia Hamm crashing to the ground.
I wasn’t impressed with Mia Hamm through most of the match with Holland on that day. Minute after minute ticked by, and I kept wondering when this much talked about phenomenon was going to deliver the goods I expected. But with each slide tackle or hip check that sent this woman soaring through the air like a rag doll, I began to notice something; she never got mad. Hamm got up as fast as her aches and bruises would let her, and she started running again. Each time she got back up I began to see the reason people admired and respected her ability; she was not a quitter.
Mia Hamm eventually scored a goal in that game, proving that perseverance pays off. She knew that every collision with a Dutch defender was a necessary part of the struggle, and that if she kept her mind and body focused on the eventual reward, she would have a much better chance at not only playing through the pain but would continue to dispel any doubt within her own mind that success was out of her reach. A positive attitude combined with focused perseverance is a formula for unstoppable success.
God wants us to have that same type of never say quit attitude as we go about our daily routines while maintaining and exercising our faith. We should not let our souls be bogged down with Satan’s daggers of doubt and worry.
James 1:12 (NIV) says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Do you have spiritual perseverance concerning your faith? If not, try setting a goal year after year to become the Mia Hamm of spiritual commitment and action. And hopefully, you’ll reach that GOOOOOOOAL!