When I was in the seventh grade, I tried out for the basketball team and made it on the team, easy breezy. After playing a lot in the driveway with my brothers and Dad, I was really good at dribbling and decent at making shots.
The coaches decided to let me start as the point guard. I was so excited and felt ready for the challenge! I grew up marveling over Jordan’s impressive art of beautiful passes and footwork. He made it look so easy under pressure.
The ball was tipped off to our opponents and we rushed down the court to play defense. The team immediately scored the first shot with a layup. Dang!
It was my turn to do my dribble job so I caught the inbound pass and proceeded to dribble down the court. And, what?! They were playing man-to-man defense on me as I was attempting to dribble to my side?!
The opponent stole the ball from me and made yet another layup shot!
The next time I made it down the court successfully. Whew! We started passing and somehow in the series of passes, one of my teammates threw the ball to me and it bounced off my head. It bounced off my head?!
I was pulled out and my destiny was set as a benchwarmer for the rest of the season.
David Bowie’s song was ringing in my ears. I have never liked pressure. Everything changed when I experienced pressure. I lost my composure and skills that I had once had as soon as the pressure heated up.
I definitely realized that basketball was not my cup of tea. I tried out for several things that didn’t stick, but thankfully I eventually played varsity tennis in high school and that became my sport since I enjoyed it and I was somewhat decent at it.
Do you thrive or wilt under pressure? Do you like a boot camp crossfit or prefer a non-competitive yoga? Do you prefer team or individual activities?
Stress can be healthy or unhealthy. It depends on how you handle it. It’s good to have goals and accountability in life, but sometimes when the boss is making rash demands for unrealistic outputs, it can be a bear. Or when you’re enrolled in five classes and they all have the same due date for major projects. Aahh!
I have tried to cope with stress at different times in every way. Baking “healthy” cookies (hey, they have oatmeal), running (as if I’m running away from my problems), procrastination in the form of thousand piece jigsaw puzzles, and good ol’ fashioned facing it head-on.
Just because one thing didn’t work out, it’s important to press on. You’ll find that sport/ job/ instrument/ hobby that makes you come alive to experience the good stress in life, the fight over the flight.
God has equipped us with the tools to confront our stress. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The one who has created the moon, the earth, the stars, the mountains, the seas, all creatures says to be still and know who I am. That is incredibly comforting when I think of all the stress, the hurdles, the sickness, the uncertainty that life brings. He knows it all and has always known it all.