Nick Cobb was on his way to achieving everything he had hoped for as a successful high school athlete until a sports injury left him suffocating underneath a pile of standards and expectations.
As an athlete since the age of six, Nick learned early that winning made him feel good. In his mind, he equated happiness and joy with success. The harder that Nick worked, the more he accomplished and the happier he became with himself.
“I was always taught to be humble, but in my head I told myself that I was superior to those around me,” Nick said. “I became consumed with the idea of winning and earning the praise of my peers.”
Heading into his junior year with two wrestling state championships and a spot on the Allen High School Varsity Football Team, Nick knew it was going to be another year of success. However, a few games into the season, Nick suffered a severe ankle sprain.
“I told myself that it was just temporary and that I’d be back in a couple of weeks,” Nick said. “I wasn’t. I began to grow frustrated with the situation and myself for not heeling soon enough.”
The week before he was able to return to the field, the Eagles lost a season ending playoff game. With little time in between to recover from the loss, Nick had to turn his complete focus towards wrestling. Nick began to break mentally under the pressure when he had to get his weight down for wrestling two days after the season ended.
“I figured I could handle it since I had already accomplished so much on my own,” Nick said. “I was being crushed under the weight of the standards I had set for myself as well as the expectations of those around me.”
Nick took an interest in Christianity during his sophomore year, but he pushed it aside when he earned a spot on the varsity football team. What little he had invested in Christianity was soon gone. Not able to logically prove that God existed, Nick told himself that God was not real. Knowing that he could not tell his family and girlfriend his beliefs, Nick went through the motions of attending church and acting like a good Christian, all while the pride he had in himself secretly grew inside.
“Success had become something I basically worshipped, my false idol,” Nick said. “Then God chose my junior year to humble me.”
Lack of faith in God turned into a bitterness and anger towards Him. Late at night, when Nick was alone with his thoughts, ideas of no longer existing and being forgotten filled his mind. He would wake up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and unable to escape immense feeling of helplessness. Winning another state championship in wrestling that year did not feel the void that was suddenly in his life.
“Something began to happen to me at church,” Nick said. “I still didn’t want anything out of the idea of God, but I began being moved to the point of tears almost weekly at church. I was truly struggling to push away whatever these things were I was feeling.”
At the end of the year Nick decided to go to Beach Camp. The promise of good food, hanging out on the beach with his girlfriend and not having to go to wrestling camp may have gotten Nick to camp, but he experienced a lot more while he was there. He resisted the sermons and worship all that he could until he grew tired of fighting the feelings inside.
“I finally saw everything clearly,” Nick said. “I saw how stubborn, how consumed in my pride and how broken I truly was. Despite how I had no desire for him, how I had resented him, Jesus softened my heart and found a way in.”
Once he gave up the fight to resist and gave his life over, the feelings of helplessness and anger were gone. It was the most satisfying feeling he had ever experienced. God lifted the weight of expectations of others and himself off of Nick’s back. In the end, Nick learned two life changing lessons.
“First, no matter how hard you try, you will never be permanently satisfied by worldly things,” Nick said. “Only Jesus will permanently satisfy your soul. Second, give all the glory to God because your success is only a gift from him.”