Saints’ tight end Benjamin Watson was picked in the first round of the 2004 draft by the New England Patriots, who had just won a Super Bowl. Two weeks into that first season, he tore his ACL and was out for the remainder. He watched from the sidelines as his team went all the way and won the Super Bowl again.
As hard as that was, Watson then had a mental battle to face when he returned the following season.
“I had put so much expectation on myself to be the player everyone expected me to be when they picked me that I got to a point where I was scared to make mistakes,” he relates.
The first person he went to for guidance was his father, a pastor.
“We had a real conversation about mistakes that he made. I had put him on this pedestal, thinking I could never be like him; he’s a pastor, everybody looks up to him.” Watson says. “I had brought all of that into football and into my spiritual life and that’s kinda how I was viewing God.”
Watson wasn’t living in the freedom that God gives us because of His grace. He wasn’t free to fail and be forgiven. Nor was he free to attain new heights, in football or in his spiritual life. Because he was scared to mess up.
What if God’s grace was bigger than our failures?
Eventually, through much intentional prayer and many surrenders, Watson began to feel free.
“It’s OK to fail. [In our work] and in our spiritual life,” he says. “We strive to be perfect, but perfectionism isn’t what earns us His grace!”
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we may be called children of God. And that is what we are!” —1 John 3:1
“We don’t earn the right to be called God’s children,” he continues. “We don’t earn the right to be redeemed. We didn’t earn any of that stuff. Christ earned it for us.”