Friday, April 10, 2009

Perfect Records

Have you ever been the holder of a "perfect record" in anything? There are so many areas where this could happen. Maybe you made a 100% on every spelling test for an entire year in school. You might have worked some job where you never missed a day at work, for any reason. Maybe you shot par on every round for an entire summer. You may have a perfect record of making it to every event of a certain type, such as all of the BeeGee's concerts, etc.

There are all kinds of perfect records and when you are lucky enough to be the holder of a perfect record, it is usually something to be very proud of. You have found yourself in the company of people who have accomplished great deeds.

I just happen to be the holder of two perfect records. As far as I know, I may be the only one to hold both of these records at the same time. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "this must be a very special man!" I am not looking for that kind of a response as I am also one of the most humble people you will find.

So, you ask, just what records do I hold? Well, I will tell you. Both of these go back to my high school years, in the 1960's. I joined the wrestling team for my junior and senior years. I wrestled in several matches over those two years. The first record is that I was never pinned. The second is that I also lost every single match. Now, that is not easy to do. It is common for the wrestler who loses to be flat on the mat for a good part of the six minutes, or up until he gets pinned. That is where I found myself on numerous occasions. If I was lucky, I was face down. If I was not so lucky, I was back down, but not so far down as I would hear a slap on the mat. Some matches, it felt like I worked and bridged for about 90 minutes in order to keep a perfect record going.

This brings me to the point of this post. Confidence is a funny thing. It can be the one thing that makes you or breaks you in certain situations. I had confidence that no one could pin me and no one could. At the same time, I lacked confidence that I would be able to close the deal and have my arm raised at the end of six long minutes. Even in the matches where I led on points, something always happened to change the momentum. I had to shake the hand of every opponent for two years while his other hand was raised by the referee.

Why does this happen? Why can we be so confident in one area and just the opposite in another? I believe it all boils down to a frame of mind - a mental attitude that we have adopted. This is probably based on past experiences - failures and successes, put-downs and encouragement. Confidence is based on one thing, what we believe. It is not based on fact or logic. It is based on a collection of ideas and feelings we have bundled together to form our attitude about a certain ability. If we let them, these bundles will define who we believe we are, what we believe we can and cannot do. Sometimes, they can help us and sometimes, not.

As I went off to college I began to gain confidence in areas of my life. By my senior year I had transferred to ASU and saw that there was going to be an intramural wrestling tournament. I decided to participate and began working with weights and running. I had the confidence that I was going to do well and lose one of my perfect records. I gained over ten pounds in muscle. I felt good and was in great shape by the time the tournament began.

There was motivation to do well as it was a single-elimination tournament. In my very first match, as soon as the whistle blew, my opponent charged me and did a head-butt against my nose. I was awarded a point for his violating the rules but was almost eliminated by the referee due to my having a hard time getting the bleeding to stop. Finally, I was able to continue - I had gauze in both nostrils, was tasting blood and had a headache. Needless to say, I was mad and whipped his butt! No, that was not the case. Yes, I was mad, but he had the advantage and won on points. The good part is that both records still stand.


  1. What a great post. In many ways, what we think about ourselves becomes what we are.

    As it is with Confidence, so it is with Habits (Prov 5:22). The person who keeps doing what he wants to stop doing thinks he is bound by invisible chains, and so cannot be freed. Oftentimes he comes to believe that his problem is because of his parents, biological, or "just the way I am." Solomon calls these imaginary chains "folly" (5:23).

    Instead of allowing ourselves to be shaped by our own imagination and experiences, we need to believe God and His Word. It is there that we are given an accurate picture of what we're like, and told what we need.

    With regard to confidence, If we would take our eyes off of ourselves and our own felt needs, and place them on Him, we would be given a confidence that is truly other-worldly. But that confidence would not then be based on ourselves at all.

    With regard to habits, If we would look to Scripture to see what it is He would have us do, and how it is to be done, we would be stripped of our foolish excuses, and those invisibe chains would be smashed.

  2. Amen! "Invisible chains", I wish I had thought of that. That is a great description of our self-imposed limitations. Feelings and experience do not dictate who we are, they only influence us. Who we are is who God made us to be (period). We can do whatever He has set out for us to do.