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My daughter is in her first year of high school, and she has been playing soccer since second grade. Although there have been some injuries along the way, long training hours, and even some tears and suffering, I love seeing her improve every year. When you live in Texas, there are 107-degree temperatures, but she still must perform. I call that suffering.
Yet, she loves the sport, her teammates, and of course, scoring goals. All that hard work has paid off. She was team captain last year and is in great physical condition.
As a mom, I feel very proud of her, but I confess that when she gets hurt, or I feel that the coach is overworking her, “Mama Bear” comes out. I want to baby her because it seems so hard and painful! Thankfully, I have a husband who helps me bring clarity to the situation and reminds me that with that same Mama Bear power, I need to encourage her and speak truth to her. That reminder is also a cue for me to go to the Word, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and implement it. Thank God for His Word, where we can always find that empowerment.
Philippians 3 is one of my to go-to parts of Scripture for empowerment. In this letter from Paul, I find warnings to correct my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. I love how he talks about the success, merits, and credits we can gain through “our own efforts” but at the end of the day, it is suffering that produces endurance. As followers of Christ, our ultimate goal is not to be successful; it’s to be more Christ-like.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)
It is easy for me to “humble-brag” on the achievements of my superstar daughter. She deserves it, as she puts in the arduous work, but I think I could do some damage by encouraging her with my bragging instead of giving her the empowerment and motivation that Paul shares with us. Do the things you are set to do with excellence, regardless of the outcome, and keep pressing on during the big and hard challenges instead of quitting because it is just too hard.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
I’m now mindful when it comes to encouraging my daughter. I pray she continues using the gifts and talents God has granted her and keeps working hard to achieve the things she wants, but also to remember along the way that God is her source of energy and power. I pray she remembers He is using her to show those around her what true faith in Jesus Christ looks like through her challenges, efforts, and successes.
I pray this same encouragement serves us all. May the Lord use our sufferings and successes for others to come to know Christ. May He be glorified by our excellence and sufferings to meet the ultimate goal of eternal life with the Father. Amen.
Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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