Wow! The Urban Project – Los Angeles (UP-LA) has been nothing short of a blessing. From the love you are greeted with when you first touch down to the house, to the love felt during the multiple, heart-touching prayers everyday; this group of strangers has quickly became a close group of friends – all because of the common factor: our love for God. I think being around community where everyone you 24/7 is on a mission to grow in their relationship with God is a powerful, powerful feeling that it is hard to explain.
The five AIA Principles of Competition of we learned during UP-LA week one are: Audience of One (Ao1): Who or what do I worship? (Knowing that God is our most important audience) Inside game: What motivates me? (Knowing the truth of what God says about you rather than the world’s view), Holy Sweat/Wholly Surrender: How do I grow? (Using God and all He has done for us as your power source/motivation), Hurtin’ for Certain: How do I deal with suffering? (Knowing that nothing in the world is not filtered through God’s loving hands for our greater good; Romans 8:28), and Victory Beyond Competition: How do I live for God’s kingdom instead of my kingdom?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that these principles apply to competition and sports, but ultimately can be applied in our everyday lives. Sports is not the main purpose of our life, but it is a part of many purposes of our lives.
Bright and ugly Friday at 4:30am, we had a short, but intense boot camp-type workout at Playa Del Rey on the shore of the Pacific. The workout was a small way to help us incorporate and apply the Principles we learned in a setting that was physically demanding.
One of the concepts we were taught is that “Down time is His time.” In a volleyball sense (my sport), this simply means taking advantage of the natural breaks during games to re-focus and keep my motivation and intensity at a constant. This morning my “Rest in Him” time was while I was encouraging my teammates during relays as well as in between them. I repeated Romans 8:31, which says, “So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can stand against us. And He is with us.” The truth in this verse really came out to me this morning. How blessed, humbled, refreshing, affirming it is to know that I have been chosen to be part of His Kingdom and to live a new life full of sufferings that in the end become beautiful…it is hard to put in words. It really hit home that there are many, many people out here that are struggling with things, people, mental limitations, physical limitations, situations, downfalls in life that are constantly trying to stop us and make us feel inferior to our passions. The only difference between me and them is that I have been chosen to know that I have a greater good. I know the truth that our loving, forgiving, patient, understanding, all-knowing God is GREATER than anything/anyone the enemy chooses to send against me. Something I struggle with is understanding that “Jesus is the answer, the power, and the savior…I am not.” Knowing this truth helps me to acknowledge how important prayer is and how overlooked and underestimated the power of it is. The biggest thing UP-LA has taught me is the power of prayer. I pray that the world learns this same value of prayer.
Kentucky State University