Football Is Not Who I Am, It's What I Do - Trey Burton

This season did not start off as I had hoped. Coming into Indy, I was already behind the game, having just come off a surgery. But when I got to town, I was amazed at how awesome the training staff is here. I haven’t ever experienced a team as helpful as this one. I’ve been able to really change my body and come to a good place in order to play.

I quickly got back into the groove and gained my confidence back. Then two weeks before our first game, I had a freak incident where I strained my calf. We had to make a decision: put me on IR for three weeks or try to play through it. In the end, we played the long game and decided to take our time getting my body to where it needed to be. 

Once I was back in the game, I felt great — but I was strangely afraid. I usually don’t play in fear, but I was afraid of getting hurt again. Recently, I’ve had three operations: core surgery, then hip surgery and then calf surgery. So mentally, I had been fighting a battle of fear since coming back. The last thing I wanted to do was to get hurt again. 

I had to be in serious prayer about this in order to not focus on getting hurt, but instead shape my mind on what is true and point my focus on Christ. That way, if I do get hurt, or if we play badly, or if we lose, I will still stand. As long as God receives the glory, that’s all that matters.

It’s not easy when you don’t play well or you get hurt. I was really struggling through the first portion of this season. And I still have thoughts spring up in my mind that threaten to give way to fear. But I don’t want to play just to not get hurt, nor do I want to just make it through a game. I want to play my best and continue to grow more and more comfortable and confident. 

My wife said it best. Five or six years ago, when I was back playing in Philly and not getting as much playing time as I wanted to, she asked me, “What if you’re not here just to play football?” Now every time I have one of those negative thoughts, her words come to me. It’s tough for me to say this (and hard for me to live out), but football is not everything. Yes, it’s what I’ve done nearly my entire life, but football is just something I do, it’s not who I am. I only want to give God glory through it. So when negative or fearful thoughts come to me, I don’t want to get thrown off. I know my purpose in football is about way more than my stats.

Whatever thoughts arise, whether fearful, selfish, negative or frustrated, I pray that they be replaced with God’s truth. I pray that the Lord would take these thoughts away and not allow my flesh to take over, but for my mind to stay focused on Him. 

— Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts tight end

Trey Burton is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Trey’s Increase profile here.

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