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Action in Isolation

Pursuing unity and God’s standard off the field

Published on April 24, 2020

Nevin Rosner

For coaches and athletes, the natural longing for competition and performance does not dissipate even in our current world of what seems to be prolonged isolation. As a matter of fact, it’s during these times that increased focus on mental health and spiritual wellbeing are paramount for growth as a coach, athlete and child of God. 

For US Women’s National Hockey Team member, Gigi Marvin, the opportunity to hit the rink for stick practice or training isn’t something that exists right now. However, that doesn’t stop her from taking action even during a time of isolation. 

“For me, it’s twofold. First and foremost, spend time with the Lord and ask Him to speak into different areas of your life that you know you’ll be confronted with. Secondly, act on it.”, Gigi explained. 

Here are some of the tips that Gigi offered coaches and athletes as they continue to pursue ways to live to God’s standard while they are off the field of play. 

Create focal points

Gigi’s first recommendation is to develop focal points that you can reference throughout your day-to-day. For coaches and athletes, the mind is wired so much so that visually seeing things brings greater impact. These focal points can be catch phrases, Bible verses, quotes or maybe even pictures that you can look at throughout your day.  For Gigi, she creates focal points in her house, her car and on her gear that she can see throughout the day that will center her with the truth of the Gospel. 

“God wants us to be completely free to work with all our hearts and do things to the best of our abilities,” she said. 

Even in a time of isolation, God desires our best. There are so many distractions during this time that could derail us from what God wants for each of us. Our heart, attitude and behavior are truly impacted by our thoughts. For Gigi, the alignment of her thoughts starts with daily time with the Lord. It’s during this time that Gigi asks the Lord to speak into her life for that day. What are things that the Lord wants us to accomplish in a particular? What are some verses that He wants to bring to mind in order to remind us of whose we are?
Not only does Gigi ask God these questions, but she then takes action by creating focal points based on what God reveals to her on a particular day.  

Deliver encouragement

During these times of isolation, encouragement goes a long way. In Mark 12:31, we are called to love others. There is no other greater commandment. “The attitude of the heart is to build and encourage,” Gigi explains. “We want to value people to the standard of excellence that Jesus valued people.”

As coaches, you long for the time that you can be reunited with your staff. As athletes, you desire to be back with your teammates training together. But what action can you take in the meantime? Being part of the US Women’s National Hockey team, Gigi looks through her team roster and writes an encouraging word about each one of her teammates. She will then call, text or email each one of her teammates expressing that encouragement. 

Gigi explains, “In this season when we can’t compete, we can take the time to consider others. We can consider who they are, what gifts they have, what an incredible value they are to your tem. The unity that comes from that is unbelievable because you truly allow yourself to see them the way the Lord sees them.”

Take this time of isolation to thank your teammates and encourage them with an aspect of their play or a character quality about them that stands out to you. Communicate how much you appreciate each one of them. 

Sharpen your foundation through mentorship

We weren’t created to be alone. We were created for community. During times like this, there is the potential to open ourselves to blindspots in our lives and it becomes crucial for us to have strong godly relationships established with friends and mentors that are pursuing Christ as well.  As athletes we look to our coaches to evaluate and assess where we need to grow in our sport. As followers of Jesus, we need to have mentors or community that can also help us grow and identify areas in our life that may need improvement.

“We need to surround ourselves with people that are running after the Lord as it causes a desire to run after the Lord even harder.” Gigi says. As a result of this pursuit of relationship, you will not only be encouraged, supported and loved but you will also be challenged to grow in your faith. These relationships will continue to point you to Jesus. 

As you consider blindspots that may be present, begin to think about relationships that you have or may need to build with people that will call out your blindspots and pick you up when you fail. These will be the same accountability partners and friends that will also celebrate with you when you succeed. 

Know that your role matters

1 Corinthians 12:18-19 says, “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.”

Gigi explains, “Think about how boring a hockey game would be if all the players were goalies. That just doesn’t happen. You love and value the different skills of each player and each position.” 

Just like a team, we are all needed and necessary. The same goes for the body of Christ. Our role in the body of Christ is so important, but to be able to value and appreciate the different skills of other members of the body is equally important. This is what will cause a team to become better and stronger. It all starts with realizing that your role on the team truly matters. 

How will you use this time of isolation to impact others?

This season of isolation will come to an end. This time hasn’t surprised God. He has great things to teach us.

Consider: Will you come out of this season transformed? Are you asking God to reveal truths in your life during this time? If so, are you taking action?

Take Action: Develop focal points that will continue to point you to Jesus. Remember, it all starts with daily time with the Lord. Find ways to encourage your teammates during a time when they may need it the most. We are called to consider others better than ourselves. Lastly, build relationships and accountability that will reveal blindspots during this time. Surround yourself with people that will call you out when you may be slipping but will also be your biggest fan when you succeed.

Ask God what He wants to reveal in your life today...then act!

James 1:22-25

"But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it."