As you may know from a few articles ago, at the beginning of 2016 I injured myself to the extent that I had to discontinue gymnastics and athletics training; two things that I was so passionate about. Over the last few years, getting back into running has been difficult with a recovering ankle. This has led me to explore different types of exercise that I enjoy, while being a form of cardio exercise. Boxing is something that I have been dabbling with for a few years now and while I’m not training to fight in the ring, I have grown to really appreciate the sport as a new way be active.
Like many things, I have noticed that there are skills and mental frameworks that are foundational to boxing, that can also be applied to other aspects of life. Boxing is not only a physical fight, but also a mental one. Additionally, each one of us also has a unique spiritual battle that we face at different times in our lives. It would be foolish for a boxer to go into a fight completely unprepared. In the same way, we must be prepared for the potential battles that we may face.
Keep your guard up
One thing that is essential in boxing, of course, is to be aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. Your opponent may try and strike at any given time, so you need to be ready for that. In fact, it is guaranteed that you will have to block unpredicted hits and kicks because it is the nature of the sport. But there are strategies that you can adopt so that you are able put yourself in the best position for effective defence. ‘Keeping your guard up’ provides a default place to reset, see what is going on around you and move how you need to. However, it does require conscious effort in order to protect yourself from the opponent.
In our lives, the enemy is much like our opponent in the fight. He is constantly trying to strike and will use different ways, or different punches, in order to try and knock us down. This may sound intimidating, but just like any boxer, it’s important to remember the time and effort that has gone into your ‘training’ for the fight.
You’ve trained for this
Keeping our guard up is having something that we can fall back on whenever we need to prepare, or when we need a place to observe what surrounds us. Our guard may be composed of the people we are close to and the communities we are involved in. Having people in our lives who we can rely on and talk to about challenges that we are facing.
Standing firm in the Word of God equips you! Spending time reading and studying the Word and understanding how it can be applied to your life is a crucial part of your training for the spiritual battles you may face.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians chapter 2, verses 6 to 7)
Jesus exemplifies the importance of this when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew chapter 4, verses 1 to 11 tells the story of how Jesus used Scripture as His defence against the devil. The Bible is the living Word of God that has been given to us that we can use as we face spiritual battles.
As you are training, in between rounds, during the fight; talk to your coach, God. He will guide you. He will support you. He cares about you and He wants the best for you.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans chapter 8, verse 31)
Sometimes we need to hold back
As much as it may look like boxers are simply throwing as many punches as possible, there is strategy that underlines every move. There will be many opportunities to throw a punch, but it may not necessarily be the most effective one in the given situation.
In our lives this may look like promotions at work, the opportunity to move to a new city or to study at university. All of these things can be beneficial, but it is important to base our decisions on what we have learned in training.
‘The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”’ (Psalm chapter 32, verse 8)
Another perspective on this idea is that of the believer’s freedom. As humans with freewill, we are able to do as we please. However, not everything is beneficial for us and it is important that we recognise this. Like in a fight, we could strike if the opportunity arises. However, there is the chance that it could put us in an even more vulnerable position.
‘You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is beneficial.’
(1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 23)
What battles are you facing? Do you feel like you are getting knocked down constantly? Who are you surrounding yourself with to support you during the fight? Maybe you feel like you have just won the last round.
I find that reflecting on these things regularly helps me refocus when facing challenges, and to appreciate all that God has done for me. Knowing that God completely supports me gives me confidence as I fight the battles in His strength.
Brittany Geoghegan is in her final year of International Studies at the University of Queensland. Brittany continues to explore her love for the people and places that God has made. While Brittany has always been a fitness enthusiast, she is excited for the opportunity to write as part of her creative endeavours.