I’ve always struggled with confidence. But I’m continually learning to place my confidence in the Lord alone.
The first time I went to training camp for the NFL, there were a lot of nerves. Going in, I found myself surrounded by all the guys that I looked up to, even idolized. Suddenly, I was in the same locker room as them and I was in awe. But once I got out on that field, it was still the same game. It was a huge challenge, but one that I was so excited for. I just kept saying to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here!” I just wanted everything to go right; I wanted to perform at my absolute best.
I never expected to get cut two weeks in. Never before had I been fired or cut from anything—this was a first for me. And after being cut by two teams in the first training season, I was in a really low place. I struggled with who I was as a person and what I could find my identity in. I had always found that in football. But after being cut a few times, I had to realize that football is not all that I am. But I didn’t know who I was or should be.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6
A couple months later, I decided to attend a conference that my church was putting on in Virginia. Throughout that week I felt God working in my heart and on the final night of the conference they gave an altar call and I gave my life to Christ. It was that night when I told God, “I need a Savior; my life is in shambles and I need You.” I knew that the path that I was going on was not going to bring me peace, but life with Christ would.
Everyone who grows up in the church knows how to pray but that night was the first time that it was real for me; I knew then that God had set me free. I was finally standing in faith, knowing and expecting God to do something in and through my life. I finally had a mission that was beyond football and that was to reach people for the Gospel. After that day, whenever I played football I wasn’t just playing a game, I was playing football to glorify God.
Now that I’m not playing football anymore, I’ve taken on a new career and I’m figuring out what God wants to do in my life and my family. There’s a lot of uncertainty during this time of transition. I’ve been tempted to ask myself the questions: “Can I still provide for my family?” “Can I succeed in this?” and “Can I still make a difference?” But, once again, I’m learning to trust in the Lord.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9
God is teaching me that football is not the end game; God still has things He wants to accomplish in and through me. I am learning to place my trust in Him and let Him direct my steps even when it’s not easy. God has blessed me and my family with so much. But even if all of that is taken from me, as long as I have Jesus, I don’t have anything to worry about.
Joshua Vaughan is a regular contributor of The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Joshua’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/josh-vaughan/
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