A while back ago, I wrote a post about my journey to the NFL. This was simply my journey and a few insights that helped me make my dream become a reality. Even though I fulfilled a childhood dream of playing the game, I’m the first person to tell you that by every metric system of the NFL, my career was far below average.
Something drastically had changed, or so it seemed, from playing football at West Point to playing in the NFL. If you don’t know, there was a two year delay between the two. But, like any other professional, I took those two years serious and put myself in the best physical shape I have ever been in.
Physical performance wasn’t the issue.
Something had happened internally, a hijack of some sort, and I needed to know why.
Why, when the pressure got real on the field, did I want to do nothing more than run and hide. Why was it when I was in a team meeting the thought of me getting called on would send me into a panic attack nothing short of me inhaling and exhaling in a brown paper bag. Why was it that I lived in a self imposed prison bound by the shackles of constantly worrying what my teammates thought of me? Why was it when they called me up from practice squad to play on Sunday I wanted to cry when I should be rejoicing?
Because playing it safe on the practice squad, at an arm distance away from failure, was so much more appealing to me.
There was something going on the inside of me that I couldn’t get a grip on and couldn’t make sense of. Trying to identify the root of the issue in the midst of the emotional turmoil was literally like finding a needle in a haystack while bombs were being dropped to the left and right of me.
My every day reality was pure chaos. I was just really good at hiding it.
No matter how many self-confidence mantras I verbalized, no matter how often I walked around like I had it all together, and no matter how many times I tried to delude myself into thinking that I could pull this off strictly by performance, success in this realm was far from a reality.
What I have come to realize over the last several months is that nothing happened to me in those two years. I got bigger, faster, and stronger, but my belief systems were the same before and the same after.
So what had happened?
Pressure. Pressure is a lie detector test that you can’t beat.
You see, we can go about our every day life declaring this and declaring that, but the moment your life meets pressure, the lie that you actually believe is revealed. I found myself face to face with a high pressured situation, a performance that I couldn’t give, and the lie declared itself in my life. It declared itself as a wrecking ball leveling the so called house of life that I had built.
Only to reveal I had built it on sand.
Our realities in life are a direct reflection of the belief systems that we hold in our heart. We spend so much time and energy in our lives trying to bend and shape our external realities when we should be changing what we believe in our hearts. The truth is, the emotional turmoil that I had experienced in the paragraphs above, was an illusion that actually didn’t exist.
It only existed because I perceived it to be the truth based on the lies that I believed in my heart.
And the good news about this? We have the power to change these realities.
I feel like just as God was asking Adam in the Garden of Eden shortly after he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, “who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11) He is asking us the same questions.
Who told you that you were ugly? Who told you that you are not smart? Who told you that you don’t have what it takes? Who told you that you are not good enough? Who told you that your body is ugly? Who told you that nobody loves you? Who told you that you are not accepted?
Who told you these lies? Yes, lies.
I believe that the majority of us want to do something with our lives. We want to better the world. And that is great. I am all about building a mansion of a life. I just want to make sure that the foundation of the house is built on the bedrock of truth and not the sand of lies. And I encourage you to do the same.
What about you? Are there some negative emotions that you are experiencing as a result of encountering high pressured situations? Have you stopped and asked yourself what is actually the truth of the situation?
After all, it is the Truth that sets you free.