In these past months, we have witnessed unexpected disappointments, social distancing, and our sports seasons wiped out. There’s been much that’s troubled our hearts and left us wondering how to handle the extended times of isolation and unknowns. It’s been confusing and sad for sure, but what if there was another way to see this past spring? Especially as we move into seasons starting up again, how can we prepare a plan to re-enter this “new” way of living?
First, let’s look at the upsides from this time of isolation. From a physical, mental and spiritual perspective, how are we changed for the better by this unprecedented time? Look back through the months and see the good: more family time to strengthen close relationships, slowing down to pay attention to the little moments in the day, more chances to dig into God’s Word and learn who He is. Even looking with intention and creativity to reach out to our teammates and friends with encouragement and care.
Physically, our workouts may have been better than ever. We’ve had more time to dedicate to an extra run or two and found more ways to stay active and pay attention to what we ate. It tied to our mental training as well, knowing we wanted to stay in the best shape we could once distancing rules lifted and we could gather with our teams to practice again. And spiritually, we worked to stay grounded in God as our steady Anchor in times of uncertainty, and leaned in more to our purpose and identity as the athletic world was stripped away.
Now, as we slowly return to “normal” routines, how can we take these upsides into our daily lives?
Keep a slower pace
As the world rushes us to speed up to stay ahead, stay slow. Remember how good it felt just to be and get your guidance from the day from God. Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace, though it may feel counter-cultural when the drive to do more kicks into high gear.
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. – Mark 1:35
Take the example of Jesus and keep your time with God. It’s important that you’re grounded in God’s truth and His Word before getting too steeped in the packed schedules of practice, film, extra workouts, team meetings, and summer jobs. Maintain a rested spirit and the rest of the day will fall into place from a Spirit-filled perspective.
Realize the priority
There will be many voices vying for your attention. Which will you pay attention to? Coaches telling you to work twice as hard to make up for lost time? Social media sharing every little assessment and opinion of your performance? We are itching for validation, but let’s make sure it’s from the right source.
Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
- Isaiah 30:21
God’s voice should be the one that holds the most weight in our lives, the steady and solid Rock upon which we stand. Stay secure in His truth or the flimsy voices of the world will reach into our hearts and try to take root instead.
We need each other. We are not made to walk this world alone, and true connection is needed now more than ever. Where might you be tempted to try and go at life alone? The enemy wants us to distance and disengage, but Christ calls us to come close. Find a group of people with whom you can pray with, study God’s Word, and can keep each other accountable.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
- Proverbs 27:17
The best version of yourself is brought to light through the eyes and counsel of others. Surround yourself with teammates you trust and friends you can turn to, who will help you keep your eyes and heart fixed on Jesus.
How we spend our time is an indication of where we want to go. And you have the choice: see the upsides of isolation and move forward into the next phase of life God is arranging, or stay stuck in your sulking and confusion until you close up completely to those around you who need the hope you can offer.
What have you been doing with the time you’ve been given? What will you do with the time that is at hand?
Want to know how to give your all as an athlete? Click here to read The 100% Athlete and dive into true competition for Christ.
Consider: How has this been a good time for your physical, mental and spiritual training?
Action: Ask someone you admire to be an accountability partner to help you stay firm in your faith as you begin your sport season once more.