“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18

There tends to be a variety of emotions that we experience before our games. While there is excitement about playing and the opportunity to compete, there are undoubtedly nerves, fears, and anxiety as well. You might be thinking about who’s in the stands or feeling pressure to prove yourself. Others of you might be worried about not playing at all. Unfortunately, athletes rarely discuss their fear with other teammates because it might reveal weakness and, consequently, fear continues to wreak havoc.

The world tells us to combat fear with belief and confidence in ourselves. This solution might help for a time, especially if you experience success, but what happens when you hit a slump or the ball doesn’t bounce your way? Ultimately, this solution leads to covering your fear with pride, but covering the problem doesn’t solve it. Besides, pride has a hard time handling failure anyway. The reality is, on our own, we don’t have any solutions to defeat fear.

Thankfully, the Bible gives us a solution: God’s perfect love. We know that when Jesus took our place on the cross and rose from the grave, God’s love defeated death and rendered fear powerless. When we only identify ourselves by the sport we play, our identity becomes a product of outcomes which is why we greatly fear failure. However, when we place our identity in God’s love, who we are is consistent because the outcomes do not affect our identity. Furthermore, think about how much more confident and free we play when we know people love and support us? The same principle applies, but even more so because we have the infinite love and support of our Heavenly Father. Therefore, do not combat your fear with pride, but rather allow God to defeat your fear with His love — His never-ending, never-changing love.

  • Prayerfully reflect on God’s love for you.
  • Confess your pride and fear to Him.
  • Pray that He would defeat your fear with His love.

Pre-Game Playlist: