Mental toughness is a significant component of success in sports. Athletes and teams that can push through discomfort, obstacles, and adversity are well on their way to excelling. In the last few devotions, we’ve been considering how to lead your players in developing mental toughness. As a coach who is a follower of Christ, you have a big advantage in this. Why?
Before answering, here’s a quick review of the dimensions of mental toughness already covered. First, clarify what glorifies God in your present situation. A clear mental picture of what could be as you stay mentally tough and push through obstacles to pursue what God desires for you serves as the overriding motivation. Second, honestly evaluate your current state. Consider the current emotions, thoughts, and actions that hinder you from moving toward what would glorify God in your present situation. Third, identify the steps needed to go from your current state to what glorifies God. Break down into clear, concrete steps the path that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.
This leads to the final dimension of mental toughness: Leverage the resources God provides to take the needed steps. Here’s where the rubber meets the road for mental toughness – and where followers of Christ have a significant advantage. You’ve determined the steps needed to push forward from where you are to where God wants you to be. You’ve resolved to take these steps even when you don’t feel like it because glorifying God is your driving motivation. Now do it! What’s incredible about this “just do it” dimension for you as a follower of Christ is this: you’re not on your own to make it happen.
Back to 2 Peter 1, which we looked at in the last devotion: Listen to the promise that’s ours and the charge we’re given, all in the span of just a couple of verses: “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him… In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises” (v. 3, 5). God gives us every resource we need to follow Christ as we continue to grow in our relationship with him. He gives us his power, grace, wisdom, the confidence of his presence with us, the ability to persevere in the midst of adversity, and so much more. Now it’s up to us to trust God, leverage these resources, and take action.
In those moments in sports when it’s tough and so tempting to stop short of doing what you know would glorify God, you can be sure of this: the Lord will give you what you need to keep pushing and keep pursuing what he wants for you as you look to him. So trust him and get after it. Keep trusting him and keep getting after it. That’s the essence of mental toughness.
Through your relationship with Christ, you have access to everything you need to develop the mental toughness that leads to glorifying God in sports and in life. You also have access to everything needed to coach the kind of mental toughness that honors the Lord. Look to him and his Word to get a clear vision of what glorifies God. Honestly assess your current state. Identify the steps needed in those challenging moments to move from where you are toward where God wants you to be. By God’s power and grace, keep doing what’s needed.
May you reap the rewards of coaching God-honoring mental toughness!
For reflection: Take a few minutes to reflect on the promise of 2 Peter 1:3 – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Thank God for his generous provision of the resources we need. Ask him to help you grow in trusting him and leveraging these resources.