When Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz went into quarantine like the rest of the world this spring, he found himself challenged to realign his thinking regarding the unknown: What would training camp look like this summer? Would training camp even exist this year? What about the NFL season?
No matter the outcome, Wentz remained removed from worry. He knew those outcomes were out of his hands and handed over his future to the God who has all control. Instead of fretting, he focused time with family, digging deeper into Scripture and making himself available for teammates and his foundation, Audience of One (AO1).
The All-Pro quarterback from North Dakota State stays rooted in the Word because for him, it’s an absolute necessity. In the sports world, where both praise and criticism can be detrimental if susceptible to the sway of comments, Wentz makes absolutely certain that who he is as a man is not based on what he does or how he performs, but solely on the basis of Christ.
“My identity is a follower of Christ,” he said. “I'm not an athlete who follows Jesus. I'm a follower of Jesus who's an athlete.”
It’s this faith-first attitude that sets Wentz on solid ground in the athletic world, leaning on Scripture and always asking God to see what He wants to show and teach. It’s not an easy road; one, in fact, he walks daily.
“If I’m not grounded and rooted in the Word, it's so easy for my identity to be consumed with my sport, because that's what the world is telling you,” Wentz said. “That's still something that you have to combat every day.”
The temptation to take a closer look at stats and stories in the media can often plague an athlete, especially when you’re part of a team that has a Super Bowl under their belt and are in the top-ten quarterback list of 2020. But Wentz does his best to not look inwardly but be outward focused, surrendered to God to serve his wife and daughter, his teammates and all those impacted by AO1.
“I'm not living my life for myself,” he said, “I'm living it for the Lord first, and for others second.” Since getting married a few years ago and now becoming a father, Wentz recognized just how strong the pull of self can be.
“It's sometimes hard because you get wrapped up in your own little world. It [marriage] made me realize my selfishness; it's not about just me anymore. Hopefully, I can keep growing and being challenged in that, because I know ultimately why God put us here is not for ourselves.”
Further fueled by this selfless identity in Christ, Wentz finds a multitude of ways to serve the world around him. Though injured throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons, (the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018), Wentz used his time on the sidelines to serve his teammates however he could to help them flourish on the field and through the remainder of the seasons.
For Wentz, it’s a “surrender self to serve” mentality, being 100% committed to Christ as His follower, a family man, and a football player. He lives by the truth that God asks for a sold-out commitment, not just a pick-and-choose faith.
“To ultimately just surrender and say, ‘God, You have control. I'm giving it to You,’ that is where you'll find the perfect peace, but that is the hardest place to get to at the same time.”
Wentz finds an intriguing discussion in the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10, in which the man asks Jesus what he must do to enter the Kingdom of God, and Jesus tells him to sell all he has and to follow Him. The young man walked away disappointed because he couldn’t bring himself to give 100% of himself to Jesus.
“[Jesus is saying] where you put your value, you have to get rid of that. For us it's a challenge because it's not just, ‘Okay, God, I can surrender this area of my life, but I'm going to hold onto this one a while. I want to have control over this one, but this one you can have’.
“It's not a 60% surrender--God wants a 100% surrender from us.”
Wentz believes a one hundred percent surrender to serve begins with an open, available and teachable heart.
“There are so many different outlets to still be the hands and feet of God. It's really about praying and saying, Holy spirit, will you guide me? Will you show me and give me wisdom during these times? It has to be a continual growth.”
Wentz never wants to stop growing. He doesn’t want to stop hungering for a life lived relentlessly for the Lord. In every area of his life--as a child of God, a husband, a father, a professional athlete--a heartbeat of sacrifice runs through his veins, and he’ll compete against complacency to go one hundred percent. He’s making the most of this time, eyes trained on God’s movement to lead the quarterback to even greater acts of service.
Take time to explore what it means to be a 100% coach and athlete with our latest articles on FCA.org:
The 100% Coach
The 100% Athlete
Photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles