Are you tough enough to do something outside of your comfort zone? I thought having six kids was outside my comfort zone. But when my husband first approached me about putting three of our boys in wrestling, he will be the first to attest that I was adamant about not doing it. We were at an impasse.
So, I prayed about it. Perhaps I was hoping my husband would just give up on the whole idea of wrestling and stick to our usual sports. But I also prayed that if my heart was the one that needed to change, then let it be done. So, instead of continuing the back and forth discussion on wrestling that would have led to an unnecessary argument, I shared my thoughts and concerns, prayed, and left it in God’s hands. In 2014 we started our first wrestling season.
When I think back to our first wrestling tournament, it was way outside my comfort zone and it was very different from what I was used to. Wrestling is definitely not a sport for the weak at heart. I sat in amazement as I watched tough boys leaving the mats in tears. Not little tears, I am talking fear, wailing, out of breath, shaking kind of tears. These boys faced defeat that crept down to the very core of their heart.
I remember questioning whether I was tough enough to be a wrestlers’ mom. I prayed for my boys and I went out there and supported my boys with my whole heart. Okay, so I confess that maybe I might have leaped out of the bleachers to the mat side in one step (four months pregnant) when I saw my 6-year old crying after he struggled to get out of a head lock. And perhaps I held back a tear or two when I felt helpless when they got pinned. Alright, so I admit that I might have felt like running to the rescue when I saw them crying because they were afraid to get back on the mat. But I had to be tough. I encouraged them not to quit. I worked hard to get them back out on the mat and keep trying. Yep, that sure toughened me up…it was a toughness I didn’t know I would need later, believe it or not.
Now we are at the end of our second wrestling season and God used wrestling to teach me a thing or two. It may sound silly, but it is true. With a changed heart toward wrestling, He was able to use tournaments to bring me closer to my boys, my husband, and bring us closer together as a family. I spent time encouraging my boys mat side and off the mat teaching them valuable lessons about not quitting even when things are tough. My husband and I partnered up before, during, and after tournaments to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. My daughter and I worked together to prepare meals and activities to do on the road trips and during the long stretches at tournaments. And as a family, we traveled near and far (even to the top of the nation) enjoying family time in the car, in the gym, and celebrating victories big and small.
Finding myself in a situation that has hit me like a ton of bricks and working to come to terms with it, I can say that through my experience with wrestling God has prepared me to be tough enough for something that I didn’t even know was coming. And because I know He will continue to be faithful, I believe through Him I will be tough enough to survive and thrive through the difficult journey ahead.
Often when we are faced with a decision that includes others’ opinions, we may argue until we get our way. It isn’t easy to be the one who has to “give in” to a situation. But if we see it as an opportunity rather than being defeated, there is a lot of JOY that can come out of it. Our hearts may need to be changed and from that change God can prepare us and use us for His purpose because we are a willing vessel.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
When you bring your requests before the Lord, examine your heart. Be willing to change, according to God’s will, if you are the one that needs to change. Alternatively, be willing to act in kindness and love if it is the other person that needs a changed heart. God is faithful. Open your heart to Him and experience the JOY that can come out of even the toughest circumstances in your life.
Can you remember a time you were willing to step out of your comfort zone? How did things turn out? Was God able to prepare you or use you for something that was going to happen?