Before you read this article, I am providing you with a warning. I know there are people out there with an anti-Christian agenda who wish to express their hatred toward people like me who boldly profess their faith in Jesus. If you are one of those people, then either be prepared to be offended or don’t bother to read the body of this article. That said, I am just one contributing writer for this blog. My views do not necessarily express those of the other contributing writers or the creator of this blog, so it would be completely unfounded to send your hateful comments to anybody other than myself alone for what I write. But just know that no matter what anybody does say to me, I shall never be ashamed of my God, and I refuse to back down from professing my faith in Him. As for the non-haters, enjoy!
We women cagefighters get asked this question a lot: “Why did you decide to do MMA?” I personally answer with the usual, “I wanted to test myself and push myself to be a better martial artist.” That was my initial, basic goal.
Upon realizing just how much performance anxiety affected me in my first fight, my coach and I decided that I just needed to get used to competing in front of people. In the effort to get as much experience doing this as I could, I ended up fighting seven times in a year. I learned a lot and improved immensely during that year (especially about fighting through nervousness), but I later realized how much I’d actually lost sight of that initial goal…
A few months ago, as I was looking to schedule my next fight, God gave me a revelation of this. See, I had originally thought of MMA as an endeavor both extremely challenging and enjoyable at the same time. Then I had somehow allowed myself over the course of that year to harbor and build up insecurity, self-doubt, stress to perform, fear of losing and disappointing others, bitterness due to loss, etc. The proof that I had indeed done this showed in my increasing reluctance to take on more challenging fights.
When the Lord opened my eyes to this, it lit a whole new fire under me. I remembered that I’m a fighter, and I decided that I would no longer allow fighting to take the fight out of me! If my aims really are to challenge myself, improve as a martial artist, and be a good, strong role model (especially in the MMA world), then I need to willingly take on the tough opponents and to compete with focus, determination, appreciation, and zeal.
As soon as I received this revelation and got truly excited about competing again, the enemy (Satan) tried to take it all away from me through a series of events that happened over the course of about six weeks. By relentless faith and by the grace of God, however, all of the enemy’s efforts only resulted in glorifying the Lord and His goodness. I won’t go into the specifics of what exactly happened, although there are some people who already know. Regardless, the point is I had a life-changing experience that taught me several things: 1) No fighter will ever face a tougher situation in the cage than some of the situations of life. 2) Whether inside the cage or outside the cage, it is not really flesh and blood that we battle against. It is actually a spiritual war that we fight – against the enemy, insecurity, doubt, stress, fear, bitterness, and so on. 3) Every opportunity to compete (along with God’s other blessings) should be properly appreciated as much as possible.
Now, when I compete, prepare to see a whole new fighter in the cage. My husband and I have finally agreed on a fight name for myself – “The Phoenix” – because God has raised me from the ashes. Praise Him!