5th Grade Teacher
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach
I am so excited to introduce you all to this week’s FEARLESS guest! Today I have the pleasure of introducing my sweet friend and former teammate Mackenzie! Y’all, this girl… God knew I needed a Mackenzie Puckett in my life! She is full of personality, full of passion, and full of Jesus. I had the great honor of playing basketball at Maryville College with Mackenzie for two years. If only it was more!
Have you ever met someone at just the right place and just the right time in your life? You know, those moments where it is like God just sent you a breath of fresh air to say, “I see you”?! Even though she was younger than me, Mackenzie was just that. In a time where I was stale and too comfortable in “religion”, but didn’t even know it. I saw Mackenzie’s passion and fearlessness, the ability to make a complete stranger feel known, and it made this introvert want to be more than just a good girl in a church pew. When I look back on who all has challenged me to become brave enough to make myself uncomfortable, Mackenzie is on that list!
I hope you all are as blessed by Mackenzie’s Q&A as I was! And I thank God for whoever it is out there tonight that needed to read her answers!
1. WHAT DOES THE WORD FEARLESS MEAN TO YOU?
Fearless is a really powerful word, and one that I have rarely been able to apply to myself. I am about as cautious of a person as you can get. By definition, “fearless” means to be lacking fear. Fearless, to me, means to live without fear of the future, to live without worry or anxiety, and live FREELY. I so often entrap myself into this box because of fear. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fearless means living free in the power of Jesus. Fearless means keeping God outside of a box I so often want to put Him in because it’s comfortable. In fact, fearless is out of my comfort zone.
2. PSALM 138:3 SAYS, “IN THE DAY WHEN I CRIED OUT, YOU ANSWERED ME; YOU MADE ME BOLD WITH STRENGTH IN MY SOUL.” TELL US ABOUT A TIME THAT GOD GAVE YOU THE COURAGE TO BE BOLD.
There are a few situations that come to mind, but the greatest one took place in college. As I said before, I am a very cautious person; however, there is one thing in my life that I never feared. I played basketball my whole life, and I had the incredible opportunity to play basketball at Maryville College. I LOVE basketball. It has consumed so much of my life, and that’s how I want it. This game brought me so many opportunities to witness to my teammates, and build relationships with so many people that I wouldn’t have normally had the honor to meet. It also brought me a lot of hurt. When I was a sophomore in college, I was having the most fun playing basketball as I have ever had. In fact, I was playing at the highest level I had ever played. I was fearless on the court. And then… like many female athletes have experienced… I got shoved while shooting a left handed lay-up. In that moment, I tore my ACL. That moment was one that broke me physically, but would later cause the most pain in my heart that I have ever felt.
That was the first time in my life that I had no choice but to be broken. I didn’t let it stop me. I finished the season, which had a month to go, in a brace. Then came surgery, and recovery. Still, I didn’t accept the fact that my heart was broken.
Fast forward to November of my Junior year. I was playing again, and slowly getting my confidence back. Then, boom. I got hit in the same knee in practice and tore my meniscus. My worst nightmare came true. I was slowed down, once again. I don’t do well with slow, which led to my decision to play on my knee anyways. I braced it up, and played the rest of the season. Now, you might be inclined to say that playing on an injured knee that gave out, and was VERY painful, is not my bold moment. Some people might describe it as a stupid moment 🙂 The boldness came after months of pain, pretending, and internal suffering. Many nights, I cried myself to sleep. When people asked how I was doing, I always said, “Oh I’m making it!” or “Good! It’s going alright!”. In reality, I was angry. I felt like God stabbed me in the back. I did what I was supposed to during the first injury. I learned my lesson. God is strongest when I am weak. What more does He want me to learn?! My moment of boldness came slowly. When I finally admitted to God and to myself that I was hurt. When I began to allow God to soften my heart. My boldness came when I recognized that I was broken, scared, and in need of the Savior that I had so much anger towards. That is when God swept in and gave me the strength to forgive, and to accept that my plan wasn’t what was best. He answered all of my cries of pain and hurt with love and understanding. He was my constant, even when my life felt out of control.
3. WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOUR NEED FOR JESUS?
The first time I realized my need for Jesus was when I was 8 years old. It was after school, mom was doing the dishes in the kitchen, and I began to hear a voice tell me that I was ready. He told me that I needed to follow him. I knew that I needed to follow Jesus. He was my Savior, and I couldn’t keep living without a relationship with Him. That was the best decision I have ever made. I often “forget” or “ignore” my need for Jesus. God so often graciously calls me back and reminds me of my need for my Savior Jesus Christ.
4. WHO HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCES IN YOUR LIFE?
I have the best family in the world. My parents and my brothers have definitely been the biggest influences in my life. My mom is my best friend. She has always been the greatest example of a Christ follower, a wonderful wife, and an incredibly selfless mother. She taught me how to enjoy the simple things. She also taught me how to be dedicated to her family by first being dedicated to Jesus. My dad is the wisest person I know. He also thinks he is the funniest person in the world. He exudes Jesus in his every day life. He has taught me to be dedicated to serving in church. He has shown me what good music is, and how to use the talents we have been blessed with for the Lord. My brothers have shown me how to meet people where they are. They have always let me be me. They have loved me through all stages of annoying, and also pushed me to be the best version of myself. They also toughened me up a bit.
5. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT YOU STAY GOD FOCUSED IN TODAY’S WORLD?
One way that I stay focused on God is first singing to Him. There is something about praising our God that makes everything else seem so insignificant. When I sing to my King and exalt Him, I am properly humbled and surrendered. Another way is by staying in contact with Him. Now, I love to talk. I have no issues with carrying a conversation. Because of that, I love to pray. I still have to work on the whole listening thing, but praying keeps me in conversation with God. It pushes him to the front of my mind, keeping Him in view at all times.
Another way that is so often overlooked is to stay in community. I go to a church where I serve, and am known. I have a mentor that loves me, and teaches me so much about who Christ is and how I can know him more. Church is a place to serve and not be served. Even church culture can often take away from it’s own purpose. We are called to serve in a church by serving others and being known by others. Doing that keeps me connected to God in so many ways that I don’t even see yet.
6. WE HAVE SOME YOUNGER READERS. WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I could go on and on with this question, so I am going to stick with some bullet points.
– Control is overrated. God is Sovereign, so you don’t have to try to be.
– Doing the right thing is awesome! Doing the right thing does not save you. Jesus dying on the cross is what saves you. It’s already been done.
– As a follower of Jesus, you are called to be different. Worry more about who Jesus has made you to be, not who you wish you were.
7. WHAT IS YOUR “LIFE VERSE”?
Reading other posts, this verse has already been used. But it’s my life verse, so I’ll stick to what I know 🙂
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
This verse is what I memorized, but its actually the context of this verse that gives it power to me. This verse is within the exodus of the Israelite’s out of Egypt. Before verse 14, we see that the Israelite’s were just set free from slavery in Egypt. Moses is leading them out when Pharaoh’s heart was hardened yet again and began pursuing them. The Israelite’s found themselves trapped. The Egyptians were behind them, and the Red Sea was before them. They began to cry out to Moses.
(Exodus 14:11-12) “They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
God just saved them from slavery, but they already lost their faith in Him to come through. This is when verse 14 comes in to play. God tells them to chill, and that He is the one that will save them. He will do the hard part. He will fight for them. And sure enough, HE PARTS AN ENTIRE SEA, ALLOWS THEM TO CROSS IT, AND THEN OVERCOMES THE EGYPTIAN ARMY. I see myself in the Israelite’s. When life gets hard, scary, uncertain, I get mad at God. I doubt His greatness and power. Then, even though I doubt, He comes through. That is who God is and what He does. He comes through for His people. After all, He sent Jesus! That is why I find so much power in that verse.
SEE MORE FROM THE FEARLESS SERIES HERE!
WE WOULD LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK ON THE NEW SERIES!
Which questions did you like the most? Do you have any suggested questions for future guests? Do you have any suggested guests? You are welcome to leave any comments or suggestions below or email me at email@example.com!
The stories shared here are precious and every guest is bold in sharing. We ask that you share the up most respect for both the guest and their story! We do not all have to agree, but we ask that all conversation is done respectfully. Thank you so much for your love and support!