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DIARY OF A
STUDENT-ATHLETE (Part 5)
April 18, 2018
When I started playing Tennis, I viewed it as a hobby, as something to do to pass time. But when I started to play at a competitive level (especially when I was in high school), God began to make me realize that this is a God-given talent. From then on, my mindset changed. At first, I didn't know that God cared about me playing Tennis, I didn't think it was important for me to pray for my Tennis career, I didn't see the bigger picture neither did I perceive this talent like God does. I look back today and I realize that all that I did in the past was to sideline God when it comes to my Tennis career. Isn't it like us that we would invite God and partner with Him in all aspects of our lives except for that one thing? That we would pray to Him to bring us out of our financial struggles, to give us good health, to protect us, and forget to mention that one thing to Him. Well, for me it was Tennis.
Every now and then I sit down to evaluate myself with an objective of finding out if I have been growing or maturing or have I been stagnant. During the self- evaluation, if I find an area of my life that seems to be stagnant I would find out the root cause and address it from the root, it could be academics, my spiritual life or my finances. It was during my self-evaluation time that God led me to evaluate my Tennis life and that is when I realized that I never made God the center of it all. From then, I realized that the only way to succeed with joy in Tennis is when I allow God to be the center of my Tennis life. Since then every day has been a learning journey. My mindset as a Christian student-athlete has changed.
To me Tennis is not just a sport, it is an act of honor to God. I have made it a point to submit to God both on and off the court. To show my gratitude to Him for such great talent He has blessed me with. I give it my all on the court not to impress anyone but to show God that this talent is not going to waste. My sweat speaks volume because it is an offering to Him and my soreness is a sacrifice to Him. I have seen tremendous success when I trust and partner with God. I rely solely on God. I urge you all to make God the center of every aspect of your life. God cares about EVERY area of your life.
DIARY OF A STUDENT-ATHLETE (Part 4)
April 11, 2018
As an athlete, I have had days where I felt like quitting and pursuing a different path. Days where it felt like I am wasting my time. Days where I compared myself to my friends who are not into sports, my former classmates and my peers in general. I remember when I was in high school, I would wish I had the luxury of time like my classmates did because I spent all of my time at the Tennis courts practicing hard. I would ask myself questions like "is this really worth it?" Many questions popped in my mind especially when I was injured and not performing to the best of my ability. I have realized that it was just pain speaking. Oh yes, pain does speak!
My body has never felt so much pain like it was due to Tennis. I have had various injuries like muscle strains; I have had sprained ankle many times and shoulder injuries. The pain was excruciating. My body felt the weight of pain. Part of me wanted to give up and part of me wanted to keep pushing through the pain and get up and keep playing Tennis. It was during those times where I realized that I was going through a "collision of two worlds". I had a season of passion versus pain. My passion to keep playing Tennis was burning in my heart and on the other hand, my body was exhausted from too much pain that it has experienced. Through it all, passion triumphed.
Throughout my Tennis life, I had to learn to be the best I can be even when I was in pain. To think positively even when there was too much negativity going on around me. To choose to be joyful even when I had every reason to be sorrowful. To be at peace even when everything wasn't working out my way. I did (and still do) all this because it is part of life. I find the beauty of life to be in us having the ability to choose (even though it is not always easy). I have shared all this to make you realize that there will always be a collision of two worlds in your life. It is up to you to choose which world to go with. And never allow pain to speak louder than your passion. Never allow fear to speak louder than faith.
DIARY OF A STUDENT-ATHLETE (Part 3)
March 21, 2018
Many of us have gone through certain things in life that we never thought we could conquer. We have been challenged in every way. We have had health attacks, mental breakdown, went through depression, losing loved ones, and went through a series of doubting ourselves. Some of us have even considered quitting and letting go of everything. It doesn't matter who you are, your career or who you are related to, at some point you will feel the "heat of life" and how you handle it is what matters the most. During that season, how you conduct or behave says a lot about who you are and what or who you believe in.
Like any other person, student-athletes experience the "heat of life" of which sometimes feels like double of what everyone else feels. The lifestyle of a student-athlete is a fun one because you are living your dream and you are doing what you enjoy and are passionate about. You are building the foundation of what may possibly turn into your career in the near future (which is if you intend on turning into a professional athlete.) On the other side of the coin, this student-athlete lifestyle has its "refining touch." It is through this lifestyle that many have found what they are capable of, how far they can go, how strong they are physical; mentally and even spiritually, and above all finding their anchor.
As a student-athlete, I have learned that our minds are the greatest battlefield and if you can win the battle in your mind you can definitely win it anywhere. I believe that student-athletes have the mind of Christ. This is the mind of a fighter (Titus 4:7"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.") The mind that thinks positively, the mind of a conqueror and a victor, the mind that sees beyond what everyone sees and above all the mind that sees things through God's lenses. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."(NKJV) When Jesus Christ came bearing the greatest mission of reconciling humanity back to its Creator (God), He saw beyond what many could see. This is what happens when you are a vision bearer, you see beyond what everyone else sees.
As stated above, student-athletes mind is a battlefield, we see beyond our current state. Sometimes though we may not be performing as good as we ought to both academically and in our respective sports, we see beyond that, we see wins in losses, we see victory in what seems like a defeat, we fight through. We do not quit. We push ourselves harder. We keep our head high and lean on the One who is too faithful to fail us, and that is God! I encourage you to be like student-athletes, fight through the pressures of life, and see beyond your current situation. Be persuaded that indeed you have the mind of Christ and nothing can stop you from achieving your goal and becoming the victor and conqueror that you are!
DIARY OF A STUDENT-ATHLETE (Part 2)
March 7, 2018
When I completed high school, my next step was college. My dream has always been to play Tennis at a college level. But I did not achieve that dream right after college (like I wished). I had to go through a season of rejection, a season of doors being shut on my face, a season of empty promises, a season of discouragement, a season full of doubt but two things sustained me; God's faithfulness and passion. After high school, I knew that life was about to get real and rough in terms of transitioning from Botswana to the United States of America on a "college Tennis mission." During my college search years, I realized that one of the most heartbreaking parts of life is to have the passion; dream, faith, talent but have opportunity doors slammed in your face.
So here I was, fresh out of high school, passionate about chasing my dreams but the more passionate I was the harder the journey became. I began to apply to various universities, mind you; I was in Botswana and I had no one to help me every step of the way, so I had to figure out a lot of things by myself. I sent out emails to Tennis coaches almost every day but I received either a rejection or no response at all. During this period, I learned that no rejection has the power to speak you out of pursuing your dream. I used all the rejection I received as fuel for my journey. This applies to you too, always have a mind of a fighter, don't give up on your dream, see beyond your current circumstances and have faith in that God has heard your prayers.
I kept on pushing and pursuing my dream and finally, a door opened! It was better than what I had imagined. I had to take a leap of faith and move from my home country to a "foreign land." Through it all, I had an unexplainable peace in my heart. I did not worry about where I was going, how I was going to live, neither did I worry about how I was going to survive home-sickness (because I have no family here). My heart was full of joy and peace in realizing that I finally have the opportunity to live my dream, God has done it! That season of rejection, discouragement, doubt had passed.
I have said all this to show you that your current season is not there to break you but to build you. You are being prepared for a new season. You are close to the finishing line, you cannot afford to quit now! Your dream will come to pass, it may take longer than you thought but it is worth the wait. Above all, choose to pursue your dreams with a mindset of partnership with God, make God the center of your pursuit because everything you need is in God. And in the process, do everything humanly possible to make your dreams come to pass and God will do everything divinely possible!
DIARY OF A STUDENT-ATHLETE
February 28, 2018
Today I want us to learn a few things from student-athletes. I have observed how people underestimate student-athlete. Very few people understand the pressure that student-athletes go through. I said "we" because I am a student-athlete. Before going in depth, allow me to give you my background. I was born and raised in Gaborone, Botswana. I started playing Tennis when I was in grade 4. How I started playing Tennis is not much of an interesting story, I just happened to find myself at the Tennis courts while I was accompanying my friend who was really committed and passionate about Tennis. So, I have practically been a student-athlete most of my life. What I will be sharing with you in this series of Diary of a Student-Athlete is not something that I have read or heard about but rather it is my journey. The main objective of this series is to impact you to shift your perspective about student-athletes and learn from their life lessons/journey.
When I started committing myself to Tennis, I wasn't sure what I was doing, I played it "just for fun." As time went on, I realized that I was talented in this sport. I started representing my school in regional tournaments of which I was undefeated. Within a period of two years, I began to represent my country in both local and international tournaments. You are probably wondering, what about school? Does that mean you missed classes? How did you cope? Or are you one of those "smart students" who can just miss class and come back and pass with flying colors? Well, yes I missed classes and no I am not one of those students. I consider myself to be a hard-working student, if I don't study for an examination, I already know the probability of me failing are very high.
I have said all that to share with you one fundamental thing I have learned which is commitment and time management. As a student-athlete, you have two major priorities that you need to give your all in order for you to succeed. This includes school and your respective sport. You would agree with me that sometimes school alone feels like the whole world has been put on your shoulder, it's exhausting being a student; having to attend every class, pass every exam, do all the assignments and submit them on time, it can be too much work. Now imagine when you add sports on top of the schoolwork. Definitely EXHAUSTING! But no matter how exhausting all this may be, they are all good investments because you are being groomed into becoming a committed individual; one who excels, one who follows their dreams and is committed to fulfilling their purpose. Throughout the journey, you learn time management, you invest your energy and time in worthy things.
I urge you to learn from student-athletes. Be committed to fulfilling your life purpose, be a dream chaser and manage your time wisely.
PROTECT WHAT YOU CARRY
February 21, 2018
Have you ever been to a point in life whereby you feel like you do not belong to the environment that you are in? Where you feel like nobody understands you? And it is as though you carry something greater within you and whatever you do doesn't seem to quench the thirst that is deep within you? Well, surely many of us have been to that point, it is part of the growing process. It is a transition from immaturity into maturity which is oftentimes uncomfortable. During the transition stage, you get to realize that there is more to life, the purpose of your existence becomes clearer even though you may not always know where or how to start. But that thought and realization of the significance of your existence is enough to keep you moving.
Your personal persuasion should be a wake-up call for you to protect what you carry. When you look at pregnant women, you would realize that they do not do things that any other woman who is not pregnant does. They conduct themselves in a different manner, they are considerate of what they eat, they cut out bad habits, and they go for prenatal care. The main reason why they do all this is because they know that there is a developing baby inside of their womb whom they have been entrusted with to make sure that the baby develops well and healthily during the pregnancy period. They are protecting what they carry. The interesting part is that some women decides to go through their pregnancy without knowing the baby's gender. So, like a pregnant woman, when you know that you carry something big and peculiar, it is your responsibility to protect it, even though you may not know what it is yet.
Cut down bad habits that may endanger the greatness that you carry because some habits can lead you to the grave before your time or even worse before you fulfil your purpose. Be considerate of how you carry yourself both in private and in public. Be careful of the relationships you keep because some relationships can either pull you away from your destiny or push you to your destiny. Jealously guard what you carry and aim to nurture it and grow it. Protect what you carry!
YOU VS. YOU
February 14, 2018
We are all capable of bringing a shift in our lives. This could be a spiritual shift, emotional shift, physical shift, financial shift and psychological shift. Before expanding on this, let us first determine what the word shift means; shift means a change in something or an adjustment in the way something is done. Surely, everyone has the capacity to bring a shift or change in his or her lives. Nevertheless, how do I become fully aware of my capacity to bring a shift in my life? How do I transition from one point to another? What does it take for me to end up seeing the manifestation of that shift? The answer to these questions is that it takes a decision and being intentional! Could it be that you are still where you are because you have not made a decision to be intentional about seeing change in your life? Or could it be that you have been more preoccupied on what is going on externally than with what is going on in your internal being?
Many of us are focusing on the wrong things and yet we wonder why we are stagnant. We are comparing ourselves with others thus opening a door to jealousy, bitterness and discontentment. You must understand that comparison is a doorway to discontentment. (Shut that door!) The only person you should compare yourself to is YOU! You are your own competition. Your aim in life is to be the better version of yourself on daily basis. You have to make a decision to fight against yourself because the truth is in every one of us there is the immature being that does not want to grow up. There is this little girl in you that does not want to develop into a queen that she has purposed to be, there is this little boy that is stubborn to move out of the way and let the king in you reign. There is the You that grew up from a poor background who has a poverty mentality and is now battling with the You that is trying to succeed and be rich (or wealthy!).All this is to show you that you are at war with yourself, everyday it is you vs you!
Therefore, for you to truly bring a shift in your life, start by giving no room to the old you that is lazy and does not intend to grow up and nurture the YOU that wants to be a better and matured person. Suppress the you that has a negative and poverty mentality and feed the You that is willing and longing for success. Let the little girl in you take a backseat and give the platform to the queen in you. Be intentional about allowing that king in you to reign. You can bring that shift that you have always desired to see in your life if you shift your focus from others to you. Life is all about You vs. You!
BE YOURSELF, EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN!
February 7, 2018
Many of us are not fully
persuaded in the fact that there is nothing wrong with being unique. As an
individual, your daily pursuit should center on being the real you. It is
unfortunate because most of us have been to a point in life where we have
assumed a personality that is not ours. At some point, we behaved like our
siblings, parents, friends, our mentors and even our pastors. Many of us have
even tried to sing like our favorite singer, rap like our favorite rapper,
write like our favorite author and even preach like our favorite preacher.
Because of this, people do not know who you truly are because you have
suppressed the real you and chose to exhibit and exalt "other personalities."
The heartbreaking truth is that, in so doing, you have lost your true identity,
you are a stranger to yourself!
While looking up to the people that inspire you, it is important not to lose yourself in the process. The people that you look up to are not set before you to derail you from being YOU! Rather, they are there to inspire you to be the best you can be, to help you realize your identity and potential and to show you that it is possible to achieve your goals and live your dreams. Imagine how life would be if everyone rapped like Kendrick Lamar, if everyone sang like Beyoncé, if everyone preached like Bishop Noel Jones or if everyone wrote like William Shakespeare... Surely, the beauty and essence of life would be concealed. Because the beauty of life is in our uniqueness.
It is paramount for you to understand that you have been called to be different and be true to who you are. Now is the time that you start to speak up and voice out YOUR opinions, sing that song in YOUR real voice and rap YOUR own lines; preach like YOU and not like Bishop T.D Jakes or any other person. The world is waiting for YOU. Stop hiding that good singer in you, that great author, preacher, great athlete in you. Unveil yourself and walk out of the shadow and walk into the light of the real and true you. The people who have made a great noticeable impact were those who were true to themselves. Be yourself because everyone else is taken.
DON'T LET FEAR CRIPPLE YOU
January 31, 2018
Often times we are introduced to different seasons in our lifetime that demand us to move out of our comfort zone. Taking a step out of our comfort zone is simply an act of faith. A step of faith is never been easy because you are believing something that you have never seen. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen," Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV). When we move out of our comfort zone, we will always be facing questions like: what if I am making a mistake? What if it doesn't work? What if it's not the right time? What if I fail? Will my family and friends support me? Is this really something I am supposed to do? Frankly, there is nothing wrong with all these questions, but there is something wrong if you let all those questions hold you back from stepping out of your comfort zone into the place of becoming who you have been called to be.
The aforementioned questions are a breeding place of fear. If you dwell on them too much, you will remain the same person year after year. You will never grow, you will never experience and live life to the fullest. How about you start asking yourself questions such as: what if this turns out to be the best decision I have ever made? What if I succeed? What if I become the best author, poet, artist, businessman/woman, best coach of my generation? What if my untold life story is what will bring transformation to my peers? In this new year of 2018, choose to let go of the negative "what if's" and break out of that shell of fear of the unknown because you will never know until you try. Don't let fear cripple you!
There is so much that you are entrusted with; you are not here to pass time. You are here to change the world, to bring hope to that friend who is hopeless and to be a smile keeper to someone; however, all this cannot be achieved if you keep letting fear cripple you. Success lies in you knowing and understanding your identity and having victory over fear. You must decide to stop feeding that fear, those negative questions and negative thoughts of failure. Step out of your comfort zone with faith and give fear no room in your life. Don't let fear cripple you!
KNOWING YOUR IDENTITY
January 24, 2018
The path to adulthood is one of the toughest paths in life. It is through it that we are tested in every way: mentally, emotionally and intellectually. Sometimes we are stretched until we feel like we are going to break. It is during this journey that we are demanded to know our identity. One of the major challenges that the youth are facing is an identity crisis. Most of the youth are failing to know who we are, what our purpose is and how to overcome everyday struggles. We are suffering from the "what will people say" syndrome, which is something that will always be our stumbling block to growth.
Identity is knowing who you are, what you stand for, who you are called to be (your purpose), and above all, it is knowing and understanding the greatness in you. We all carry royalty within us; there is a queen in every girl and a king in every boy. The question now becomes "How do we bring out the greatness and royalty that is within us into the world to govern and be an impact?"The first step is self-introspection; look within you and find the king and the queen in you. Give yourself time to YOURSELF! Although it is always good to be around people, sometimes you need a "time-out" to figure out who you are. Search for what sets you apart from all the other youth and when you find it, run with it, develop it and nurture it.
It is a wonderful time as we step out of the shadow and step into the light of the knowledge of our identity. All this starts with us being bold in who we are and what we stand for. Stop letting people dictate to you what you can and cannot do, stop looking for your identity from people, stop giving people power over you because you are the captain of this ship (your life). Everything that you need is WITHIN you! You carry all the answers.