Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”-2 Timothy 1:7
How do you find the courage to drop your captain and your megastar player from your starting team? Ask Eric Ten Hag, coach of Manchester United. He seemed to have made a decision that boldness and bravery would be the qualities that defined his team’s preparation to play fierce rivals Liverpool earlier this week.
Consider his words as reported by BBC Sport: “It is not always about what we said, I said we had to act and not talk a lot, make sure you are a team, battle and also be brave.” Part of his rallying cry to a team which sat at the bottom of the table before the game, was to “battle and be brave.” He wanted to see bravery. His desire was for his players to be bold. If they put up a fight, then the results would not matter as much.
His thinking was underscored by manutd.com in these words: “What I demand is that players bring the top spirit every day. Every day, they have to bring it to the club.” It has to be a way of life and I hope they understand. It’s only working – high performance, high level – if you have that spirit and have that focus.” Not only were the players expected to work hard but their spirit had to be right. Outward talent and inner drive needed to come together. The result was a satisfying 2-1 victory for Manchester United over a team that scored nine unanswered goals against them last season.
In New Testament times, the apostle Paul reminded Timothy that God’s children were given the gifts of power, boldness, self-discipline and love through the Holy Spirit. While some translations of the above passage above state “spirit” rather than “Spirit”, the idea is the same. Those who have chosen to live in submission to God’s principles have graciously been given the tools for living a life of courage, impact and significance. That is very encouraging news.
Bold, brave choices often produce brilliant results. Go for it.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.