Growing up, I played a lot of sports. I was a big competitor and always desired to be the best at anything I tried. As I got deeper into the sports world, I noticed that it kept getting harder to receive praise or that I was doing a good job. The more teams I played on, the more I noticed that my standing and worth on my teams seemed to be directly affected to how I performed on the field or court. Because I was so involved in that culture, I began to apply that to other areas of my life as well.

I started to view God similar to that of the coaches I had. I felt like God needed me to not just attempt to be faithful, but I needed to achieve things in my walk with Him. I started to look around at the things I was involved in or the people I was surrounded by, and I judged my faith by that. If I wasn't proclaiming the Gospel "enough," then I would get down on myself because I would tell myself that I was disappointing God. I felt like I was a bench player on the JV team of the Body of Christ. The more times I messed up, the more guilt and shame would come over me.

During those times of guilt, I would tell myself that it was okay because I masked it as being convicted. However, God's love and conviction does not beat us down, but calls us to higher things. It says that we are better than the way we've been acting and to get up and keep walking with God. God reminds me of this all the time as I am still learning how to break free from that mindset. Every time I am reminded I hear that I am worthy of His love before I have done anything for God, and that God is pleased with me because He loves who I am. I then have to be reminded that I am not what I do so I don't have to strive in my relationship with God.

Hearing this from God has taken a huge load off my shoulders that I am honestly still figuring how to walk through. It is still easy for me to slip in the mindset of me achieving things for God. In those times, God shows me that He can do things with and without me. I just have to be willing to be used and listen for His voice. The pressure is off and hallelujah we have a good God.

- Daniel Bailey