If you have known me for any length of time at all, you know that I am a huge Oklahoma Sooner football fan, and this year especially, an even bigger Baker Mayfield fan. I just love watching that kid play football. He plays with so much joy and enthusiasm…it’s contagious. I even like that he plays with moxie, swagger, and a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. And talent! He has a serious arm. Can we just go ahead and start working on a new statue for OU’s Heisman Plaza?
So I was listening to an interview he was doing recently and something he said really resonated with me. He said he just believes in himself. And the way he said it was not arrogant or narcissistic. He was just stating a fact. He believes in himself. He just doesn’t accept “no.” He has audacity.
When people told him he was too small to be a quarterback (and he was!), he just kept on throwing bullets. When he showed up for football practice as a Lake Travis freshman, he was only 5”2” and barely 100 pounds. But he had an arm and he had a belief in himself. Even after leading his team to a state championship as a senior, he still got little respect. He wasn’t what the big colleges would consider Division 1 quarterback material. No scholarship? No problem. I’ll just walk on. Win the starting position, but still no scholarship? I’ll walk on somewhere else. Maybe 14-year old Baker Mayfield dreamed of winning a Heisman, but I imagine no one else could see it within his reach at that time. In psychology we call that self-efficacy, and it’s a healthy quality to possess.
Psychologist Albert Bandura has spent much of his career researching how people are able to shape their own futures through human agency, the belief in their own capabilities to produce desired effects by their actions. It is the understanding that I have some degree of control in obtaining a desired outcome and preventing an undesired one.
People with self-efficacy are quick to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, and they find ways to get around obstacles. Baker Mayfield had a big obstacle to get around at Oklahoma. Starting quarterback Trevor Knight had led the Sooners in an “impossible” victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl just a few weeks before Mayfield made his decision to come to Oklahoma. People thought he was crazy. He would have no chance to start. But he just refused to listen to the naysayers, to accept the impossibility of his dream.
Self-efficacy is not the same thing as self-esteem. My sense of self worth is different and independent of my abilities. For example, I can’t dance. I’d love to be able to, but I look like an ironing board with feet on the dance floor. No rhythm. But the fact that I can’t dance does not change my value as a person.
One of the problems I see in my psychology practice is the ways in which people relinquish control over their lives. And they do this without realizing it. I hear it all the time. “I can’t be okay unless Person X does Thing Y.” She needs to apologize. He must stop drinking. They must like and accept me. Maybe all these things should happen, but the reality is they might not. We have no control over the actions of others. We only have control over our own thoughts and behaviors. Waiting for someone else to take some action in order for us to be happy is giving away our power. It is putting our happiness and well being squarely in the hands of someone else.
Then there are some people who have no sense of self-efficacy. “I could never do that.” Maybe someone has told them that or maybe someone has always done things for them. It’s learned helplessness. But just because you have never done it before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you haven’t done it yet.
For me, as a Christian, my sense of self-efficacy begins with my faith in Jesus. That sounds contradictory on its face. Self-efficacy is not the same as self-reliance. I’m totally reliant on Jesus Christ, but I believe He will equip me to do what He calls me to do. When I am walking by faith I am not weighed down by personal doubt and by the “what ifs.” Yes, Jesus still performs miracles, He still delivers. But more often He commands me to take up my mat and walk. And being able to take up my mat and walk is a miracle in itself. The same grace that saved me equips and enables me. So maybe a better term for Believers is spiritual efficacy, the belief that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).
So as I’m writing about Baker Mayfield, I’m remembering another guy who was too small and too young to kill a giant. He didn’t command a lot of respect. But he believed in his ability. He had been training for this day his entire young life. And most importantly he believed in his God. You know how the story goes. Against all odds, David killed the giant with just a slingshot and a stone.
How big are your giants? Maybe God has been preparing you for just this moment. You can do this! How big is your God? With Him, nothing is impossible.
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Jer. 32:27.
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,” 2 Cor. 3:5.
4 thoughts on “BAKER MAYFIELD’S IMPOSSIBLE DREAM”
Well said! I always love your blogs, but this one really hit home.
Many times i was told I couldn’t … because of circumstances in my life, but God assured me He wasn’t through with me. But i had to at least try. Then God stepped in and made things work out- in His time!
We all have choices and it’s up to us individually to never give up, but to keep trying!
Thanks for sharing this blog!
Glad you persevered Dan. You have blessed many lives.
Very good article, self-efficacy sounds like the expression of Faith given by Yaweh! It is the gift, Divinely created within every person to Believe or not to Believe in a Supreme Being and further more get or not get supernatural results and fulfillment in their life!!! Faith is that relational connection each person has the opportunity to explore and experience God’s presence on a personal level!!! That was the whole reason Christ came Earth to reconcile mankind back to his Creator!!! Hebrews 11:1 states Faith so eloquently calling it substance to stand on and evidence of the unseen, “never taking no or what seems impossible for your final answer”!!! Believers in Christ and Non Believers alike express their God given Faith in many facets! But the Faith that connects man back to God through Christ is the greatest because it produces salvation, deliverance, and healing for all eternity in a relationship full of Love(God)!!! That is self-efficacy to me plus all the things you stated in your article!!! God Bless!!!
Thank you for your comment. I was reading Acts this morning and thinking about the bold audacity the apostles had. Of course their strength came from the Holy Spirit, but they needed an audacious confidence to speak out.