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Your breath stills as you listen to noises coming from every direction. Relatives are still shouting their players’ names, even from the nosebleeds. Whistles are being blown by the referees. The announcers are praising sponsors on the stadium speakers. Players are marking their targets across the field. The band is playing theme songs from the school’s small list of tunes. Coaches are demanding everyone to gather.

You have just ran an exhilarating fifty to sixty yards before a roaring crowd. Yet, one of the most exhilarating parts of this football game is about to happen. Your heart is racing and your muscles are loose. You feel light on your feet and your heart beats like a war drum. The grass is soft to the skin like cotton. Even with your pads feeling like armor, you feel as if you can stretch the limits of your body in this moment.

The sweat drips from your brow down to your chin, but you don’t need to see anything. You only need to hear. It is time. The chosen leader for the day is elevating his voice high above the school band and the shouts from the other team.

They call it a chant, a speech, or a pump-up, but it’s something about sixty to seventy players and coaches surrounding and shouting in response to one man that is invigorating. He shouts, “What time is it!?” and you respond, “Game time!” You shout back and forth until your blood understands the assignment. “What time is it!?” “Game time!” “What time is it!?” “Game time!” “Who’s house!?” “Our house!” “Whose house!?” “Our house!” Back and forth the chants go until it’s time to release the scream. “Ahhhh!” Even the crowd joins as they scream as well. “Win on three! One two three!” “Win!” Now, you’re ready to beat a man.

With leaders like Ray Lewis and Drew Brees, determining to elevate yourself against your opponent was an easy request. You just knew that you were going to let loose against whoever came before you to win. For that moment, it was about winning a game, beating an opponent, and looking good while doing it. Years later, in the shower, it was about restoring my faith in my God and myself.

I won’t lie to you. My showers average thirty minutes at a time. I don’t know when I started doing this, but I know why I can’t stop. The sound of water splashing down on the acrylic tub somehow lulls my mind into daydreams. I think of my life, my hopes, my dreams, my stories, my desires, and on this particular day, my failures.

When you give your life to Christ at a young age, His goodness is all you’ve known. Rebellion is often attached to greater guilt and shame because you knew better and you still sinned. Some things that I have been battled with for years were grilling into my psyche. I felt the devil mocking me as I had to accept the bitter taste of defeat once again. It wasn’t that I was losing the war, but that my ambitions weren’t satisfied with the little gains I had made up to that point.

I wasn’t sad, depressed, or hurt. I was dissatisfied, angry, and feeling bitter. I’m at the point where any win for the devil in any capacity burns me. Most days, the grace of God washes those defeats off like grime washing away during a good shower. But that day, I couldn’t shake it.

The continuous problem with overthinking and perfectionism is the incessant desire to harp on every little mistake. You’ve played the video game too much, you’ve watched too much TV, you’ve failed to read the Bible, you didn’t write enough today, you haven’t called you best friends for a while, you’re still upset about that woman, you’re still struggling with lust, when’s the last time you checked on your family? … You get the point.

They’re all little things that the Lord brushes off, and has taught me to brush off. For some reason, like greasy fat caked and burnt onto a pan, these thoughts just didn’t brush off as easily today. I was determined to let them remain at the forefront of my thoughts even as they sapped my joy, my energy, and my drive. I was drowning in an environment designed to not let me drown.

Suddenly, something in me snapped. I was tired of beating myself, and I was ready to speak something different over myself. What started off like as a few words of encouragement turned into a full-on pre-game speech. What I was preparing myself for is still unknown. However, listen to an example of such a speech, apply it to yourself, and see how you feel about yourself going forward. Some of what I said that day was:

“No. I refuse. I refuse to continue to listen to the lies. I am not inadequate. I am not weak. I am not pitiful. I am not pathetic. I am a child of God. God considered me when He made this earth. I have a purpose. I have a destiny. I have strength, and I have power. The God of this world watches over me. I am His and I am loved. I will not tolerate being torn down and mocked. Whatever you are that stands against me, I consider you, this day, defeated. I will not listen to your judgments nor will I entertain your accusations. I walk in the midst of angels. They cover me on every side and they rock with me harder than anyone else who could ever think to stand against me. I am the son (daughter) of God! His goodness and His mercy walk with me every day. I am royalty! I am blessed! My Lord smiles down on me and cherishes every moment we spend together. He goes before me, walks besides me, and covers everything behind me. I am not defeated! I have been, am, and will always be victorious. I will not be weighed down. My emotions are mine own and I command them to receive joy and peace. I command my body to receive strength and endurance. I command my mind to receive wisdom and contentment. I am blessed! I am treasured! I am adored! There is no thing that can weigh me down. I am strength. I can endure anything that is thrown and me and conquer it. I am a winner. My story will not end on a sour note. I am too blessed, too protected, and too loved to accept anything less than what is greatest for me. The angels cheer me on. They surround me. I am in a group that will not be defeated and I will not disappoint them by acting like I am. I am too confident, too gorgeous, and too fine to be messing around with sorrow. Sorrow, you and all your evil friends can get behind me. In fact, all you negative beings and thoughts can get beneath my feet. Not only my feet but the feet of my family, the feet of my friends, and the feet of anyone I’ve ever cared about. We will put our feet on your necks like Joshua had his soldiers did to the kings trapped in the cavern. Your defeat is inevitable. I will not be among your numbers. Me and mine are good! Better yet, we’re great! We will continue to be great regardless of whatever failed attempt you will try to throw at us. You will watch me strut in my success and dwell in my determination. I will not be stopped by you. My King rides for me and with me. Who will stand against me!? I will not be defeated! You will see my victory! In the name of Jesus! You will see my victory! I’m going to get everything God promised me, from the little to the large. All of it will be mine! You will not stop me and nothing will be withheld from me. My God loves and covers me! You and anybody else who got a problem can kick rocks. You’re still going to see the bottom of my feet as I step over you. I will get over this hump, over these obstacles, and over the wall because there is nothing too powerful to stop me from reaching what was for me in the first place. Whatever it was that had me upset can now go and never come back. I will have my goodness and mercy. I will have my happiness and joy. I will have my peace and my victory. In the name of Jesus. In the mighty name of Jesus. You angels, you demons, you emotions, and you troubles better hear me and hear me good. I will have the gifts God promised me! Bet money, I will get them all. In Jesus’ name.”

Since that day, my emotions have been more laxed, my energy has been greater, and my determination has regathered its strength. My focus has been keener, and I will not allow myself to be upset for more than a moment. I don’t even get upset as often. I’m just moving towards the next part of my life.

It’s amazing what a few words spoken over yourself in earnest can do for you. Sometimes, it motivates you to endure. Other times, it inspires you to want more for yourself. Whatever your reason, speak loudly and clearly over yourself. Speak with passion and determination. Be embolden by your words and dare to elevate yourself about what you previously thought you were capable of. Don’t settle. There’s more life to be lived and it has to be lived by you. Don’t drown in your season, soar into your purpose and dream.

With love,

Dario Augustus


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