Every game is composed of two parts, an outer games and an inner game
So begins The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. I got this book to help me with my nervousness while horse back riding. My brain is my own worst enemy. Gallwey’s book taught me to listen less to my brain and more to my body. It has helped with my riding position, nervousness, and lack of self-confidence. But I have also found that the method has helped me in every aspect of my life—especially my faith. I want to share with you these tools and how it has helped me as both a rider and a person of Christ.
Reflecting on the Mental Side of Faith
In the first chapter, Gallwey explains how he arrived at his theory of the Inner Game. He postulated that players get too much verbal instruction, so he gave a visual example and then watched his player. He noticed that, without saying a word, his player would change and adapt to the visual he had given them. Instead of being caught up in words, players were moving to a picture in their head.
This idea alone helped me in my horse back riding. My brain would spit out a million directions and I would be so caught up in those directions that I would get frustrated. I knew I wasn’t doing it perfectly and got nervous. As I started to visualize what my riding position should look like, my brain slowed down. I felt my body naturally sink into place. As my brain quit barking orders, I as able to relax and not stress out about being perfect. I now take instructions just from my teacher and visualize the things she tells me to change. This method has helped me tremendously.
Gallwey’s point is that we are often over instructed. Both by our teachers and by our selves. Our body knows what to do and, with a mental picture, the body can conform. This is true of faith as well. We are taught by priests, preachers, parents and Sunday school teachers, and everyone has their unique spin on the Gospel. We are given the right ways to live as a Christian from many different people and many different interpretations. Our brains swirl with too much information. But we have the perfect visualization to help us in our faith: Jesus Christ.
The Bible agrees: “The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith,” Galatians 3:24 While the laws are guides to teach us, we must shut our brains off. To do that we must visualize Christ and let our body move with his actions.
You know the feeling that athletes have hen they are “in the zone”? You have to be in the Faith Zone. You have to quiet your brain and let the Holy Spirit dictate what you do. To get in the Faith Zone, we have to let the Holy Spirit roam free
There is a simple trick I used to get into the Faith Zone. When face with a problem or a choice, I pray. I pray that God leads me to the right choice. Then what my gut tells me, I act on. God has not led me astray. Try this exercise out and see if it helps you. I will continue to share the techniques in the book as well as how they have helped me achieve radical things in my life.