“Sports teaches life lessons.”
If you have played sports at any time in your life, you have probably heard this quote at some point, and it couldn’t be more true.
From how to overcome difficult situations, to perseverance, teamwork, being coachable, and the list goes on and on.
And as great as those life lessons are, I believe even more so the things we learn from sports apply to our everyday walk with Jesus Christ.
Every day we wake up we are in a battle, between good and evil, flesh and spirit. You could almost say it’s like a game. There are wins and losses, there is time when we need to preserve when we are down 20 at halftime and need to make a big comeback. There is also a great need to be coachable.
If our walk with Christ is like a game, why do we not treat it like one?
I played college basketball at Oklahoma Christian University. On average I probably spent 20-25 hours a week at the basketball facility. Whether it be lifting weights, in the athletic training room, on the court shooting, practicing, watching film, meetings or just hanging out with the team.
Every week we spent over 20 hours preparing for a game. We had to scout our opponent, know our matchups and what they liked to do on the floor. We needed to know their plays and their tricks so that we could have the greatest advantage when the game started.
But at the same time, I was spending less than an hour a week with Christ.
Which was the bigger battle?
Every day is game day in our walk with Christ.
Every day is
Paul warns of this in Ephesians 6:11, he says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
In my Christian walk have I scouted my opponent? Have I spent time in the Word of God? Am I constantly in prayer? Surrounding myself with Christian community and brothers in Christ that will help me on this journey?
Just like basketball was a team sport for me, our Faith is also a team sport. Don’t try to go at it alone.
Unfortunately for me, it took starting a job with FCA and looking back on my athletic career to realize this great parallel between Christ and sports.
Every day is game day, and our enemy is tough, but here’s the great news.
Our God is undefeated.
Gameday is here… are you ready?
I always look back on how I got to where I am today and it sort of amazes me. I never aspired or set out to be a volleyball player at a division one level, but here I am. I didn’t know the plan, but God did and it’s perfect. When I think of what all athletics has done for me from a worldly standpoint, I can very easily say it has set me up nicely, but when I think of what athletics has done for me from a standpoint of spiritual growth as an unworthy, sinful human, I stand in awe of God’s plan.
Most of the lesson’s I have learned about the world, or even myself, have come from volleyball whether it was from teammates, situations, or failed opportunities. God has molded me into the individual I am today through it all.
I’m writing this at a point in my career where I am approaching my last season of volleyball. So while I can reflect on what it has been for me, I can also have hope for what it will continue to do for me for the next 7 months that I value greatly. Volleyball has been a sport of celebration, laughter, joy, pain, success, and failure. It has been something that I have loved as well as something, at times, I have strongly disliked. I’ve had times where I’ve wanted to quit replaced by the days following when I could say it was all worth it. There have been many wins and failures that have not come easy. But,
At the end of the day, I’ve survived and I’m still working hard with a hope for the future.
See, volleyball is not just a sport, it is something that God has used in my life to teach me how to live with Him.
In middle school, He used volleyball to teach me how to balance everything life throws at me.
In high school He used volleyball to teach me to surround myself with believers who would build me up, and that nothing in this world will ever be more important than my relationship with Him, not even volleyball.
My freshman year of college He used volleyball to teach me that I play, and live, for Christ’s approval alone and that I should show that by representing joy in every action.
And now going into my senior year, He is using volleyball to teach me how to accept not being in control of everything, let alone anything.
I stand in a place of memories from the past and hope for my future. While actually being in the sport has given me so many characteristics I could only pray to be blessed with, I cannot even begin to explain the platform God has given me through it.
I am completely humbled at the amount of respect I receive and the amount of people who care about what I have to say simply because I play volleyball at The University of Oklahoma. I think part of me will never get it since I never idolized athletes growing up, but even knowing that just goes to show how much greater God’s plan for us is than our own. The fact that He has placed me on a platform that was not even on my radar shows His magnificence. With it, I have gotten to show God’s love to so many girls who have been broken by the world in the same way I was. There have been many moments to speak to groups of athlete to help them figure out that while athletics is important, it isn’t everything, God is.
While athletics is just looked at as a sport to some, I view it as so much more because it has been so much more than just a game to me. God is a part of who I am because of athletics is a part of who I am. God could have chosen any path on this earth for me to take to find a relationship with Him, but He chose this one. It was His plan for me all along to have the athletic ability I have now and because of that I am extremely thankful for something of the world that has been used to grow my faith just a little bit more than it was the day before.