“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” — Romans 12:2
When I was 13 years old, I qualified as an alternate to run for the Nova Scotia provincial track team at the Legion National Championships. The night before the team was set to leave, the runner who had finished with the best time in certain events during trials was dealing with some neurological issues that made him unable to compete. My parents got the last-minute call about me competing at the championships and scrambled to make sure I got to the airport in time the next day.
When I arrived I was a little overwhelmed. Then one of the coaches pulled me aside to let me know that I would be running the 1500-meter race, the 800m and anchor the medley relay (which consists of one 400m leg, two 200m legs, finished by me doing an 800m leg). The medley event threw me off and I asked my coach if my roommate could run it, as he had a better 800m time. But since I was replacing the top runner as an alternate, I had to run everything he was scheduled to run. I recognized how big the shoes were that I had to fill.
The closer I got to the relay the more anxious I got. I started thinking of worst-case scenarios, and imposter syndrome started to kick in big time. During the relay, we gained a bigger lead each leg, putting more pressure on me. Our 400m runner continued to build on our lead as he came down the stretch to hand me the baton for the final leg.
By this point, all my mind could think was, “You’re gonna blow it! You’re gonna blow it!” As my teammate handed me the baton, I dropped it. Then kicked it as I went to pick it up. Then fumbled it again. Our team went from leading the race to being at the back of the pack, all because of me. By the end of the race I was so far back I ended up receiving the “sympathy clap” from the crowd. All the worst-case scenarios I had worried about happened worse than I could have imagined.
I later confessed to the coach how I had psyched myself out during the race by being so convinced I was going to blow it one way or another. I remember my coach saying, “Well, no wonder you dropped the baton! You had yourself mentally convinced you would lose the race before you even started.”
The mind is a very powerful thing and we can easily find ourselves in a pattern of negative thought. Life situations, harmful words or actions by others, past negative experiences, stressful life situations, and sin in our lives can all become things we obsess over and can overwhelm us.
The apostle Paul encourages us to not conform to the patterns of the world, but let God renew our mind by changing the way we think (Romans 12:2). That can mean reminding ourselves of the following truths:
— God is ultimately in control of the world, your life and your situation. He also has your best interests in mind (Romans 8:28).
— God loves and values you more than any sport or person could (Matthew 10:28-31).
— God cares for you when you’re anxious or depressed (1 Peter 5:7).
— God’s Kingdom is our ultimate goal (Matthew 13:44-46).
I would also encourage you to memorize and meditate on Romans 12:2. What are the perspectives and ways of thinking you need God to help you change? I pray God will change your mindset through the power of the Holy Spirit.
— Andrew Pepper, Halifax Mooseheads chaplain
If you would like to submit a devotional, please email all submissions to