My teenagers had a day off of school, so on that -9-degree morning, we headed to a nearby training facility. While my teens were working out, professional football players were also training on the same field and the same equipment, just with a different trainer.
Obviously, we played it cool. But you know we were watching them.
What surprised us is that my high school athletes’ workout was not that much different from the NFL players’ workout. The trainers used the same warm-ups, core strength exercises, and weight lifting. Paid athletes receive guidance, just like the teenagers who do it for the sheer love of the sport.
I guess I had expected that professionals would do something drastically different, as if there is a secret workout that “normal people” don’t do. Sure, they did a few additional movements and obviously heavier weights. But, overall, I got to see that the famous (and not so famous) athletes do the basics—over and over and over—with discipline and commitment, even when it’s cold out, when the workouts are hard, and their muscles are getting fatigued.
That got me thinking about “amateurs” and “professionals” when it comes to faith. People who are “amateurs” at faith might think that preachers, people who lead Bible studies, people who record encouraging videos about GOD, and maybe even those who write blogs and devotions have some secret formula to their faith.
They don’t. They do the basics. They do these things with discipline when the weather isn’t great, when life is hard, and when their faith muscles feel weak. The more they do this, the more they see God’s goodness and faithfulness, the stronger their faith gets.
If you feel like an amateur, just do the same thing the “pros” are doing:
- Read your Bible. It can be confusing, so ask someone for help. There’s a cool story in the Bible where a man didn’t understand what he was reading, so he invited a man named Philip to explain it. And follow Time of Grace on social media—lots of the materials available help us understand Jesus better.
- Pray. It can be intimidating to talk to the God of the universe, but just start talking. He loves to hear from you.
- Worship with other Christians. It might be overwhelming to walk through a door of a church, but inside you will find people who are tempted by the same struggles you are, people who have been hurt, who are grieving, who are tired. All of you together need to hear that Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Do these over and over (and over and over), and you’ll be a pro in no time.
P.S. If you’ve been a believer for a long time and have these habits ingrained in you, please be gentle to those who don’t. There’s a Bible story of when the church had just gotten started after Jesus went back to heaven and many people were joining The Way. The people who had been followers of rituals and habits wanted the new people to follow them too. James spoke up and said, “we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19). We shouldn’t either.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor, not a professional athlete.