We can be plagued by reoccurring thoughts and struggles that we don’t contribute to our team, don’t have the right uniform or equipment, or our stills aren’t strong enough to make a difference in our sport. And because we feel ill-equipped, our own minds can get in the way of what God has for us.
I’ve messed up too many times.
Lord, if You really knew all the things I have done or thought…
Are my gifts and talents big doing anything beneficial?
I’m just not enough.
Our thoughts can trouble us. How do we have a healthy relationship with our sport yet keep God in His rightful place and a truthful eye on our calling?
We can look to a man named Gideon, whose own story can encourage us to believe and embrace what God has equipped us to do.
God answered the Israelites when they cried out for help and gave them a few reminders about their mission through Gideon’s leadership that we would do well to heed today.
Remember who God is and what He has done. When we intentionally remember, we are reminded of how God has brought us through past struggles, and we will get us through the present pain knowing it will lead to a future purpose.
“Remember the things I have done in the past.
For I alone am God!
I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 46:9)
Before he ever fought a battle or led an army, Gideon needed to know what God saw in him. God graciously came to him and spoke life and truth into Gideon’s disbelieving heart.
“The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’ …. ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe Manasseh, and I am the least in my family!’ The Lord said, ‘I will be with you.’” (Judges 6:12, 15-16)
God sees things in us that we can’t even see in ourselves. This is why it’s so important to push back against the false narratives we tell ourselves and look to the peace and truth of God, like:
Lie: God doesn’t see me.
Truth: I am seen and valued (Psalm 34:15).
Lie: What I have to offer is too small.
Truth: The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that lives in us (Romans 8:11).
Lie: God is far away.
Truth: God is with us (Matthew 1:23).
When we are tempted to believe lies, God always points back to His Word. Get rid of low thinking and look to what God says about you. Remove the negative, and look to replace this thinking with something much better.
God sees things in us that we can’t even see in ourselves.
The LORD also knew His people had tried to replace Him with fake gods and idols, which is why He told Gideon the first thing he needed to do was take down the family altars to other gods (Judges 6:25).
There are idols, or things that we worship and replace God with, that may not be a pole or altar but can take our attention off God just the same. It could be our basketball stats or win/loss record. It could be chasing after record setting. If our identity comes from the field or court, our sport may be our idol. If all our time and energy go into what we do in play, our sport may be our idol. When we put anything before God, we have made it our idol and we are called to remove and replace.
What are you valuing more than you should? Take a good look at where you put most of your time, thinking and action towards. You may need to knock down a few idols and put God first.
We need to remain in God’s Word, remain connected to his Church and remain connected to God in prayer.
Gideon remembered the LORD’s character. He replaced lies with the truth of God. And he remained faithful to God and trusted His ways, even when God whittled down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 men so all would know it was the LORD’s doing, not man’s. Gideon stayed focused, and the key was keeping in step with God.
Jesus, too, understood that at some point we would fall back into our flesh and put other things before God, so He pointed us deeper into Him:
“Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
God gets us ready for our mission. He cleans out what doesn’t align with His truth and He gives us His assurance for who we are in Him. When we feel ill-equipped and inadequate, let’s shift our focus to God’s directive: remember God, remove ourselves, replace self with God and remain connected to Him.
This quarter, we’re exploring what it means to Pursue Mission. This month, our focus is on how to Trust the Mission. Join us as we journey through this exploration and Prepare for the Mission next month.
One way to actively Pursue Mission is to get involved with FCA. Whether it’s volunteering as a Huddle leader or character coach, or committing to our team and coming on staff, we have a place for you to serve and disciple coaches and athletes. Get involved!
Want to learn more about pursuing team and surrounding yourself with the right spiritual teammates? Head to FCA in Action and read our October Pursue articles:
Anchor Article: Embrace the Call: Trust the Mission
Article One: We Have A Mission (God Entrusts)
*If you read this article and aren’t in relationship with Christ yet but would like to know more, we invite you to go through FCA’s The FOUR that explains how an everlasting and fulfilling life with God is possible.
About the Author:
As a daughter of a coach, wife of a coach, mom of 5 athletes, God has blessed Sarah Roberts with the burden and passion for connecting women in sports to Jesus. She began working for FCA in 2003 serving coaches, athletes and coaching spouses through speaking, writing, Huddles and building relationships. In her time with FCA she has served in many roles including Oklahoma women's director, the University of Oklahoma female chaplain, Oklahoma City Thunder wives chaplain, director for Atlanta/Fayette County and Atlanta female staff development. Sarah is the author of three devotion books for the female athlete, coach and coach's spouse. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.