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On Saturday afternoon, I was invited to attend a Little Dribblers basketball game of one of our 5th graders. As I headed over to the small, old gym with hard, wooden seats, I'm not sure what I was expecting to see when I watched the game. I think I planned on them barely being able to dribble, struggling to shoot, and just being a fun game to watch. That was hardly what I saw! These girls, just like our JV and Varsity basketball girls, were intense! Full court press, never let the other team figure out what to do with the ball, and lots of layups! I was very impressed with how great they were!
During the game, there were a couple times I watched the girls on both team second-guess their decisions. They had appeared so confident running down the court with the ball, but when they got to a certain spot on the court, something in their face changed. You could see their eyes intently thinking, their mouth turn into a frown, and they wondered if they could make a layup after all. So they stopped and planted their feet, waiting for others to get down the court to help them. There were other times where they weren't sure if they could shoot from that far away or if they could really steal a ball from the other team.
For as many times as I saw their self-doubt, I saw something equally important--they were much stronger than they knew. There were girls who overthrew the basket several times. I saw a ref have to shake out his arm after a girl threw him the ball. I watched in awe as some girls threw the ball to the basket and it somehow made it in the goal even though it clearly wanted to go through the backboard. These girls, for as strong as they are, did not know their strength.
I started to wonder when the switch happens for us, the moment where we start to question ourselves and our abilities. As young children, we don't often have that fear of being wrong. We just go through life confidently, doing our best. By the time you get to the end of elementary school, though, you are well aware of the concept of being wrong, of being embarrassed about yourself and the way you look or the way you talk or walk, and you're constantly second-guessing yourself. Perhaps adults can mask those feelings better than children, but if we are honest with ourselves, we feel those things, too.
Perhaps, in spite of all the self-doubt, fear of embarrassment, and wondering if people will like us, we are truly stronger than we know. There is something unique, special, and purposeful in all of us--after all, God created each and every one of us perfectly. What if we celebrated who we were and stood firm in our identity as Christians? Perhaps we would no longer be stronger than we knew...we would be strong and know we are strong. And we'd encourage and inspire others to be strong, too. Let's celebrate who we are (instead of focusing on what we are not), strongly, boldly, and courageously doing what God has called each of us to do.