Walls that Come Tumbling Down
            As a lover of sports, I often wonder what drives an athlete to be successful at their chosen sport. What gives a football player the stamina and endurance to play for four 15-minute quarters without stopping? What gives a soccer player the strength and energy to run an average of six miles during just one game?
            What can honestly give a human being strength, determination, attitude, and perseverance to keep pushing even when their bodies, thoughts, or circumstances tell them they cannot go on any longer?
            Nadia Nadim, a soccer player who was born in Afghanistan then moved to Denmark, plays for Fortuna Hjorring at the professional level and she is also a member of Denmark’s national team. Nadim spent the first 12 years of her life in Afghanistan, where she secretly learned to play soccer inside a walled-off garden. Her father would teach her how to handle the ball even though it was not acceptable for girls to participate in sports.
            The walls would soon become a common trend in Nadim’s life, always serving as a barrier of some kind. But she learned from a young age that a wall can only define her life in a negative way if she lets it. After she fled Afghanistan and arrived in Denmark, she and her sisters would play pick-up games of soccer where the only concern was being able to enjoy themselves. Soccer became their outlet. On the field, no walls existed for Nadim and her sisters because the obstacles the walls once represented were surmounted. They found joy in playing soccer. And her carefree style of playing comes across in every match she plays.
            In the same way, we cannot allow our flaws and imperfections to keep us walled in. When our hearts, our lives, our circumstances remind us of how flawed we truly are, and they put us inside our own minds and we become trapped by everything the devil himself wants us to believe. At this point, we have forgotten that God never meant for us to be perfect. We must remember that sometimes our flaws are the only things that can effectively make us fall into the arms of Jesus in realization that we cannot handle anything on our own.
            In the same way that Nadim overcame her walls, choosing to let them shape her care-free style and learn to enjoy every second of playing, we must overcome our walls as we choose to let them be the one thing that can effectively remind us of just how much we are in need of a Savior.
            But back to my original questions. What makes an athlete, an imperfect human, so capable of pressing forward beyond any obstacle? In some ways, it is similar to what gives us as Christians the strength to overcome our challenges: the knowledge that we can either let our obstacles and challenges hold us back, or we can choose to let them push us forward. Pushing us either to a goal on the soccer field, or into the loving arms of Jesus.

Uttermost Summer Intern