Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: martial arts

3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching Owen, my fiance, practice karate. He’s a black belt, which absolutely blows me away. His passion for martial arts and learning new things is so inspiring, and I felt honored to be able to watch him in his element.

Although some people may consider me graceful, athleticism is not something the Lord has gifted me in. So I was in awe watching Owen and his friends as they showed off their skills.

There are several lessons I’ve learned from watching just that one hour of practice. There were moments when the teacher (called a sensei) corrected his students or gave them some karate wisdom. However, I found that most of this wisdom reflected Godly principles on humility, perseverance, and focus.

Overcoming Failure With Humility

Even though Owen is a black belt, there were a few instances when he messed up a kick or got hit while sparring. Even the sensei messed up at times! It didn’t surprise me that these awesome people failed, but rather, how gracefully they handled each failure.

Each student was humble enough to acknowledge his mistake and accept correction. They were humble and open to receiving wisdom.

This is the posture we need to have towards God. None of us are perfect, but when we mess up or sin, we must be willing to humbly repent and receive forgiveness and instruction in order to live righteously.

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:9-10 NIV)

When we take the posture of humility like David from the Bible, God will honor us and lift us up into victory.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 NIV)

Pressing on Through Trials

Owen helped his sensei teach a newer student different kinds of kicks, and although it was harder for the student to grasp, he never gave up trying.

Perseverance is one of the core values that makes faith possible. The things we want to achieve often take more time and effort than expected. The things we want God to do often take longer than we want them to.

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3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

However, when we learn to persevere, we find that it builds our character and strengthens our faith. If life came easily and we got everything we wanted immediately, then there would be no reason to have faith or hope. But there is beauty in pressing on toward the things we are hopeful for.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

A Karate Focus  

One thing that surprised me as I was watching Owen’s karate practice was the way the instructor often told the newer student to stop overthinking.

When the student was sparring, he was trying so hard to predict his opponent’s next move that he failed to recognize the opportunities for attack right in front of him.

This is so common in my faith walk, and I know I’m not alone. Often times I get so worried or caught up in my own thoughts that I lose sight of Jesus.

Life is exciting, challenging, and surprising. There are so many distractions the enemy hurls at us to take our focus away from God and fill us with anxiety and temptation instead.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)

When we are so focused on trying to figure out our next move and how to win at this life, we open up a target for the devil to attack. The only way to win this spiritual battle is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is sovereign and is the only one who will never fail us.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2 NIV)

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to watch my future husband practice such an incredible sport. It’s amazing how, if we have our hearts turned toward the Lord, we can find Godly wisdom in everything around us. When our focus is on the only One who truly matters, it changes our perspective on everything.  


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(Photography by Jason Briscoe and Luke Stackpoole)

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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Part 5

Hello lovely readers and followers! Welcome to part 5 of my series, Slaying Shadows with God’s ArmorPlease don’t forget to check out Part 4 here.  This series will be focusing on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Ryan gasped as he hit the floor, not allowing one second to pass before he hopped to his feet. No matter how hard his opponent tried, he would always try harder.

It was his promise.

After regaining his footing, Ryan struck his opponent with a hard kick, whipping his leg around in a blur. It was enough to take him down.

After practicing drills and forms, Ryan made it to the locker room and sat down on the bench, running a hand across his sweaty brow as he smiled with pride.

After practicing martial arts for over three years, he’d finally earned his black belt. In three days he would fight in one of the most difficult tournaments of his life.

“You ready for the big day?” Alex, a buddy from class, called from the other end of the locker room.

Ryan shrugged. Was he ready? Could he take first place?

“Yeah, I’m ready,” he said as he slammed his locker door in defiance. He had to be ready. He’d do anything to keep his promise.

After saying goodbye to Alex and showering off, Ryan looked in the mirror. His jaw was set like rigid stone, and his dark eyes pierced against his almond skin. His muscles held taut beneath his t-shirt.

On the outside, he looked like a fighter. But on the inside, he was shaking.

When Ryan hoisted his duffel bag over his shoulder, he noticed something fall to the floor. He winced as he picked up the photo–the one of his father right before he died.

A wave of darkness enveloped Ryan as he thought about his last words to his father. He had made him a promise that he would always do his best. That he would win. He wanted his father to know that before the cancer took hold of his final breaths.

Ryan shuffled over to his locker, suddenly nauseous at the oath he’d made. What if he failed? What would he become?

Nothing.

The room was silent–the kind of silence that gave him the chills. Everything looked darker, as if he were consumed by a giant shadow.

When Ryan opened his locker, he frowned. The solid, yet lightweight, chest guard that he sometimes used in practice drills was gone–and in its place was an embossed metal shield with a note attached.

“What?” Ryan whispered as he grabbed and unfolded the note. This must’ve been a prank.

My Dear Ryan, 

I alone know what you are up against. You’re afraid of failing and letting your father down. But you don’t have to fight alone. Take My shield of faith into all of your battles. My armor will never let you down. I am your Heavenly Father, and you can always count on Me. 

Love, Jesus. 

Ryan stood there, frozen. This couldn’t be a prank. No one knew about the promise he’d made to his dad. Tears welled in his eyes as he slumped down on the bench.

Was Jesus real? He’d always been searching for the right religion–for something to believe in. Was this a sign?

As if in perfect response, suddenly the lights flickered and died out. Ryan shot up from the bench. There, glowing in his locker like a flame, was the new shield.

His armor.

Ryan swallowed as the darkness closed in, compressing the air from his lungs with lies of failure and danger.

Without another thought, Ryan grabbed the shield. He held it close to his chest and followed the light that radiated from its metal core.

Ryan didn’t know where he was going as he ran out of the back exit of the gym. All he knew was that he felt free. He wasn’t strong enough, but maybe God was.

I am Your Heavenly Father, and you can always count on me. 

Ryan kept running, following the trail of light that blazed through the fresh blanket of wet snow. Shadows filled the night around him as he cut across the alley.

Ryan stopped when he found himself in the parking lot of a small apartment complex. Four other people stood on the concrete, glowing from the inside out.

“Who are you?” Ryan asked. Logically, he should’ve been afraid. But somehow, he wasn’t.

Looking for something? 

It was not the response he expected. The voice swept through the wind like a whisper. Ryan gasped and dropped to his knees.

God was real. And he believed.


In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16 NIV)

Thanks for reading and supporting! What do you think of the series so far? Click here for the conclusion of Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor!

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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts!

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