Faith Played Out: Player's Patience
This post is packed full of practical tips, solid truths, and lots of grace for us as we practice patience on the sports field, or in the boat! We are delighted to share it and hope it will be a blessing to you. Katrina x
I started rowing at University, in my first year at Leeds. It’s been a blast! The adrenaline rush and the ambiance of regatta day totally make up for the hideously dark, early mornings and the torture of the rowing machine.
Rowing holds challenges for Christians. The greatest one I face personally is staying positive at 8.30 in the morning after an hour and a half on the water. It’s so easy to point the finger at everyone else in the boat and say ‘you’re doing it wrong’, or grumble about others not working as hard as you, whilst kidding yourself into thinking you were rowing like the actual Steve Redgrave the entire way. Every time I catch myself doing this I’m reminded of Jesus challenging the disciples;
Why do look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?... You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41-42)
This passage is obviously not talking about rowing, but it can apply to it! I have been challenged lately with what to do when these thoughts creep into my psyche. It’s easy to think, ‘I’m a Christian, so I shouldn’t think these things, therefore I’m going to suppress them and forget all about them’. But this won’t deal with the issue long term. Paul calls us to:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)
So, I am trying to catch myself when I think ‘she’s not working as hard as me’, and realise what the causes are that lead me to this negative thought pattern.
Often it is pride that I am the best, leading me to resent my crew for letting me down (100% not true). Sometimes it’s stress from uni work that makes me rude and impatient. Other times it’s anxiety that the crew aren’t working hard enough so we’ll do badly at our next race and embarrass ourselves.
Once I’ve done this, I can try to turn it around, and remember the truths about God in the Bible that triumph over these lies: I am not created to row, I am created to be a child of God and show his love to everyone around. My identity is not in my scores, or my grades, or where we come in a race. My identity is in Jesus alone. He died for me, and was raised to life! All I should want for my team is for them to get to know Jesus, and if we have a few awesome races on the way, that’s the cherry on top.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Hatty studies, in her words, the longest degree course title you’ve ever heard, at Leeds (History, Philosophy of Science, Religious Studies & Theology)! She also rows quite a lot for the University team. She loves sport, food, singing, and Jesus, and is really enjoying sharing these delights with the people God is bringing into her life!