I worked with a young tennis player who loved to practice and work on her game but was overcome with pretournament anxiety when it came to playing singles (she felt little angst before and during her doubles matches). Her angst was so high that she thought about quitting the game she loved; often her parents wouldn’t even tell her about the tournament until the day before to limit her anxiety-filled days.
I felt her pain. But I didn’t give her a way to fix it. Instead, I pointed her in a different direction.
I reminded her that although it looks like the tournament is causing her nervousness, her anxiety actually is a by-product of a habitual thought storm prior to tournaments—and not the tournament itself.
My client suffered from an all-too-common misunderstanding. She believed the external has power over the internal.
We don’t work out to in.
We are not victims to circumstances.
I explained how no person always reacts the same way to identical situations. I shared how some days when I am cut off on the interstate I am furious and want to ram my car into the other car; other days, I offer grace and pray that the other driver gets to wherever he or she is going safely.
Same event. Different response.
If the act of hitting a ball over the net had the power to cause angst, then it would cause angst in practice and in doubles as well as singles matches.
Events do no dictate our feelings, emotions, or reactions.
The moment you see this is the moment your life changes. Instantly.
May you have eyes to see and ears to hear this simple but transformational truth at work in your life.
Grace and peace.