This year I have had the wonderful privilege of coaching middle school wrestling. It's been a blast to give back to the sport that gave me so many good memories and a great work ethic.
I have rejoiced with kids as they conquered and triumphed, hurt with them as they got injured, and wept with them when they took tough losses.
No matter how many years it's been since my glory days I have noticed that one thing remains the same: more often than not, a wrestling match is won or lost in the mind.
A kid with all the physical gifts anyone could ever want will never reach their full potential if they are not headstrong.
You see this demonstrated in various ways. In conditioning, some kids quit mentally before their bodies have even reached a fraction of its potential output.
In competition, kids will often go into a match already defeated because they have heard about how good their opponent is.
Often I have even seen a wrestler struggle and struggle to escape from the bottom position when the person on top wasn't even putting any weight on them or in one case the person on top wasn't even holding on to them! They were convinced they would never get off bottom in their mind and their body was content to oblige.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 that if we are tired, weary, or overburdened to turn to him and that we will find great rest for our souls. He goes on to say that although life brings heaviness, he brings a lightness that can only be found in him.
We so often struggle and struggle with pressures of life: not being a good enough parent, not providing a good enough life for our families, not feeling any significance in the grand scheme of things, not getting enough daylight etc... We carry burdens of guilt or regret from our past and present and are content to lay on the mat and struggle like the kid with nobody holding on to him.
I feel a strong desire to encourage anyone reading this that may find themselves in this position right now to stand up and run to the wonderful grace and peace that only Jesus can provide--there has already been an escape provided through him.
His ways are easy, and his burdens are light. As Jesus says in John 16, life will bring us trouble but take courage, he has overcome the world.
Nick Higgins is the Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life Assembly located on the Kenai Spur Highway with services on Sundays at 9 and 10:30 a.m.