Confirmation to Keep Playing - Benjamin Watson

When last season was over, I was done. Trying to move on from the game of football, I was looking into all the different things I could do next: broadcasting, player development, preparing for our twin boys to be born. But as I pursued opportunities with these different career options, I began to sense the feeling of a lack of completion. I was committed to retirement; I wasn’t even a free agent. I was done.


And yet, as I was faced with the decision of what would be next for me, I began to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, the door to play was still open.


It wasn’t until after our boys were born in late April that I started to think, “Maybe I could play one more year…” But I knew it would have to be just the right circumstances. As my wife, Kirsten, and I started dialoguing about it, she had one condition: We had to communicate about it — something I didn’t do well the previous season. This would be a family decision. We were going to move anyway, we just didn’t know where. Maybe the reason we didn’t have a place to call home yet was because this journey wasn’t quite over.


My prayer through the whole process was, “Lord, give me confirmation with whatever the next role is for me.” Going through the motions of interviewing and seeing other offers — all great opportunities — come through, I was given a glimpse of what life after football could look like for me. At some point I will be done and it was great to see that the Lord does have something outside of the game for me when that time comes. But as I prayed for direction and clarity, both internally and with my family, I wasn’t finding it in any of these options. Not yet. That’s when I started thinking about football again.


My prayers then became more specific. I asked that if I were to sign, it would be in a place I had played before and where we had people we knew. I prayed about certain locations and a specific salary. My prayers were specific so I knew that if God provided exactly what I was asking for, He was giving me confirmation of His plan.


When He did, in fact, give me such confirmation, I was able to gain confidence in the midst of a very cloudy time. It was then that I was able to say, “Lord, I asked for this and You did just that. Now I can walk in boldness and with strength even when I’m a little nervous for what’s to come. Because You provided specifically what I had asked for, I know You are going before me in this.”


If you don’t ask for anything specific, how do you know if you’re receiving from God? I did a lot of praying through this journey; some were “yeses” and some were “nos.” There have been some times in my life when I’ve been really consistent and faithful in prayer, and a lot of times when I haven’t. When I look back and see the times I’ve made this a priority — both corporate prayer, prayer with my wife and family, and personal prayer — it’s never been a bad thing. There has never been a time when I’ve thought, “Man, I could have been doing something else with that time.” Never! But yet in our busy lives — with our jobs, kids, leisure time, etc. —  it seems like such a hard thing to carve out time for.


Personally, I’m in desperate need of committing to praying more. The Holy Spirit is with us and available at all times. God is listening at all times. Prayer can be at 3 a.m. when you’re feeding babies, and it can be devoted time spent on your knees. It’s important to have intentional time carved out to go before God, but we also should pray without ceasing. Allow God to answer, but first, you have to ask.


— Benjamin Watson, New England Patriots tight end


Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase and provides monthly articles and opinions.


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