Playing for God's Glory
I grew up in a Christian home, going to a little church in my hometown. I was the kind of kid growing up that did good things like praying every night and every morning. But between that, anything was game.
I really never understand what a personal relationship with Christ was until I got to college and started going to Athletes in Action. That first semester was hard: I was away from home for the first time, missed my family, my church and my friends. I had to be redshirted and have shoulder surgery as well, so I went from being a top dog in football to not playing.
My roommate went to AIA, but I tried to avoid it. But I came to a point where I felt like nothing good was happening; my grades weren’t good, I didn’t have football, and I needed to come back to the Lord. I needed to come back to who I really was. I finally went to an AIA meeting in the spring of my freshman year, and it all changed from there. I really began a relationship with God then.
I went on the winter retreat, and really started trying to change who I was. That summer at the Ultimate Training Camp, I came back with a whole new mindset. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and the Principles really stuck with me. The biggest transformation for me came in taking away a focal point – something that would remind me to keep God first during my playing and practice. I still wear the “Audience of One” wristband we got at camp every day, and it reminds me of that mindset before I go on the field and through my day.
Playing to give glory rather than get glory is something I never knew before, and that completely changed everything. Playing for the fans and coaches means you get let down so much. You get caught up trying to please people and playing the sport for the wrong reason. But God put me on that pedestal for one reason: to play as hard as I can and give glory to Him. The focal point has helped me do that.
A relationship with God is like any other relationship. If you’re dating but you say you’re in love with something else or someone else or only spend 30 minutes a week together, it’s not going to work. That’s what we’re doing with idols in our lives. If I spend eight hours a week in football but only an hour reading the Bible, how awful is that? I spend so much time preparing for football or studying for class, and I’m also supposed to be bettering my relationship with my Savior.
I went from doing nothing for Christ in college to devoting much of my time to AIA, Bible study and prayer. I spend regular time in the Word and recognize that there are still idols. I pray and ask forgiveness immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the day.