Standing in the pocket, without getting sacked
Like a quarterback on an American football team, at times we may feel swarmed by obstacles. Finding our spiritual footing enables us to stay calm and be receptive to inspired solutions.
As the American football season concludes, both fans and players take time to reflect on the season. Being from Boston, I can’t help but think of Tom Brady, one of the National Football League’s all-time most successful quarterbacks, who recently announced his retirement. And one of the things that Mr. Brady has always done so well is to withstand the pressure of the “pocket” and get the job done.
The pocket is the area formed by the offensive linemen to protect the quarterback as the defense rushes him while he attempts to pass the ball. Standing in the pocket, feeling the intensity of the moment, and making a successful play requires calm confidence that no matter what is coming at you, you will be able to persevere without being sacked, or tackled for a loss.
Recently there was a situation at work that made me feel as though I were standing in the pocket, so to speak. I felt under pressure and wondered if I would be able to accomplish what was needed. Doubts, fears, and uncertainties swarmed my thinking, threatening to knock me off balance and take control. To avoid getting mentally “sacked” I needed to find an answer that would enable me to overcome the difficulty.
As I usually do in moments of need, I turned to God in prayer, knowing that God, divine Mind, would help me find a solution. Contrary to how it felt at that juncture, I affirmed that I was not a clueless mortal wracking my brain for a solution to an unyielding problem; rather, I was the loved daughter of God. In fact, each of us is the child, or spiritual idea, of divine Mind and therefore is capable of expressing the intelligence and peace of this omniscient Mind.
This was the spiritual footing I was looking for. It reminded me that I could stand firm without fear that I would fail, because each of us, as the idea of divine Mind, has the capacity to know whatever is needed for the resolution of any problem. Grounding our thinking in divine Mind gives us the confidence to take on whatever comes up.
Divine Mind, the divine Principle of all creation, is communicating whatever insights or intuitions are needed at any given moment. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity” (p. 128).
Divine Mind is the source of all consciousness, and we are the reflection and expression of this one infinite Being. This Mind knows us not as vulnerable mortals, but as the protected and instructed offspring of Spirit, God. Acknowledging this spiritual reality brings the confidence that prayer can reveal whatever is needed to resolve a situation. I thanked my divine Father-Mother that He is in control – not stress.
In the Bible, we read about many individuals finding answers in moments of adversity and pressure. One time the Apostle Paul, under arrest for preaching Christ, was being transported with other prisoners by ship. A major storm arose and threatened to sink them. Morale was low and fear was strong. But Paul spent time in prayer, and discerned that while the ship would be lost, all passengers would be saved. So, even as the storm continued to rage, Paul encouraged the others to eat to regain their strength and keep their spirits up.
Paul’s clear trust in God and his spiritually inspired assurance emboldened the others to follow his lead. Soon the ship ran aground. The initial intention of the soldiers guarding the prisoners was to kill them, including Paul. That decision was reversed by the centurion in charge, and everyone made it safely to land. Paul’s calm confidence and trust in the divine Mind’s presence and direction saved them all (see Acts 27).
While my situation wasn’t nearly as dire, I continued to acknowledge my spiritual footing, affirming that nothing could overwhelm me or knock me down mentally because God, divine Mind, was present and revealing whatever I needed to know. And through prayer I found the inspiration required to complete my work and move forward.
As we remain steadfastly receptive to the answers that divine Mind is revealing, we can confidently stand fast and see God’s good plan for us play out.