We talked with NWSL player Cheyna Matthews about her faith journey, how she’s living in the increase of Christ, and the mentors who have impacted her life. Here’s what she had to say:
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
My faith grounds me. When I wake up in the morning, throughout the day, and when I go to sleep at night, I’m in constant conversation with God. My faith helps me in all facets of life — sports, marriage, parenting, etc. By being in constant communication with God, my spirit feels grounded. I don’t worry as much as I used to, I don’t have as much on my mind at night when I go to sleep. I can rely on God to carry me.
Can you describe how your journey with Christ began?
I grew up going to church every Sunday. It was a habitual thing in our household. But it wasn’t until I experienced the uncertainties of college, transferring to a new college during the spring of my sophomore year, that I was finally able to make my faith my own. It was then that I truly gave myself to God. In 2016, when I was entering into my rookie year in the NWSL, I was baptized. It was a perfect time to start my career and new life with Christ, giving myself fully to Him.
Who have been some mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
I have had a few teammates that have helped me along in my walk with Christ, especially in college when I had to seek God on my own. The friendships I’ve had — surrounding myself with people who have like minds, who are also trying to give their lives to Christ and live in a way that honors Him — have been so helpful. I’m very thankful for those friendships. My husband, Jordan, and I were friends in college and we often think about how crazy it is to see our own journeys, where we were then and where we are now. It’s fun to be able to see how much we’ve grown from that time.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
When I hear this, I think of “less of myself.” The more I’m pressed into Jesus, the more I’m pressed into His will, the more I’m reading the Bible and the more I’m conscious of Him, the more I’m able to decrease to let Him increase. In moments when I’m frustrated or taking things personally, I’m reminded of the fact that I need to press into Him more. When I’m pressed in, those other things don’t matter. Even suffering isn’t as potent. It takes pressing into Jesus more to know that God’s plan is best for all of us. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I’m considered a man, so according to this verse I have to ask myself, “Am I trying to please myself or God?”
What is your life verse and why?
“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
There is no fear in following God; there is always a sense of peace and belonging.
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