TO CELEBRATE THE OCTOBER RELEASE OF MY BOOK THRASHING ABOUT WITH GOD, AND TO EXPAND THE CONVERSATION BEYOND MYSELF, I HAVE ASKED 31 BRAVE PEOPLE TO SHARE A GUEST POST WITH THE THEME OF #IAMTHRASHING. THESE ARE PEOPLE I HAVE PERSONALLY DIALOGUED WITH, PEOPLE WHO I KNOW HAVE RISKED A LOT TO WRESTLE WITH THE HARD STUFF THAT COMES WITH SPIRITUALITY. OUR FAITH MAY NOT LOOK LIKE YOURS, BUT WE WELCOME YOU TO THE DISCUSSION.
This is my thirtieth year in the sport of wrestling. Thirty years of triumphs and defeats, falling and getting back up. In high school, I prayed in the middle of the circle. I pointed to God after every match, win or lose. It was in his hands. It was all I had ever known. Those matches were the primer for a spiritual match-up, destined to shake me at my core. It is an epic faith battle which still wages inside my heart, my head, my soul.
There have been brief moments in my life where I cast away the singlet, and with it fell my faith. A sport and my religion have always gone hand-in-hand. The sport takes determination, and sometimes that determination has needed a break. So has my faith. It has needed a break for a reboot. I’ve always come out of the break stronger. I find myself in my darkest hour when I am not in pain.
At thirty-five, I lace up the Asics and step on the mat with people half my age. The end result isn’t always pleasant, especially the next morning. I have the same relationship with God. We wrestle. We fight. He wins. I wake up battered. No pain, no gain.
I don’t know myself outside of life as a wrestler. I don’t know myself outside of life as a Christian. I’ve tried to separate myself from both over the years, but in the end, I have always come back. They have both welcomed me back with open arms.
I have been trained to never accept defeat. I have been taught that losing is a step towards a win. Blah, blah, blah, <insert random motivational phrase.> When I wrestle with God, I can’t win. I get pinned over and over again. Maybe, the problem is, I am wrestling the wrong opponent. Maybe, I should wake up and see God for what he is. He is a referee. He enforces the rules. My life is his judgment call. Still, I wrestle.
Gary Kinzer is just a random dude that likes to write occasionally.