Life has been a little crazy for me this offseason.
Only two days after we (the Eagles) lost to the Saints in the playoffs, my wife, my son and I got on a plane to Jamaica because Cheyna was joining the Jamaican women’s national soccer team. When we got back from there, we found out my grandmother had a stroke, so we flew to Mississippi to spend time with her and the rest of my family. We came home only to fly back out for the funeral, as we received the news she had passed away.
And then last week, I signed with a new team, the San Francisco 49ers.
Life isn’t going to slow down, and it’s not promised to get easier. With an infant and a marriage made up of two professional athletes with opposite seasons, we are trying to figure out a new rhythm for our family. We have had to ask ourselves, “How is life going to be as both athletes and parents now?” First, we have to make sure our priorities and focus are in the right place — on God, on family and then our careers.
With Cheyna not only playing on her professional team here in the States, but now a part of the Jamaican national team, which will be going to the World Cup in June, I am so excited to be able to be by her side, with our son, Josiah, to support her. This is a huge opportunity for her!
One of the things I really admire about Cheyna is the joy she has whenever she’s out playing soccer. It seems like in the moment, that’s all she cares about. She’s really enjoying it. She plays the game with a purity that inspires me to do the same on the football field. And I know that’s one thing I can struggle with in my own career. Throughout high school and college, I always had plenty of people believing in me and cheering me on. Many times, that motive was the one thing to keep me going — I cared so much about what others thought of me instead of letting my love for the game be self-motivation.
But Cheyna really doesn’t care what other people think! She goes out there just to play. She plays as hard as she can, and then she’s onto the next thing. I find myself often finishing a workout or game, only to then dwell on what more I should be doing. Cheyna’s constant peace keeps me centered.
When I open the Word, I’ll often read verses that talk about committing your plans to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3), working for the Lord and not men (Colossians 3:23), and that in everything we do we should be doing it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). I see the same philosophy in football. Coaches and teammates are always talking about going 1-0 in the moment, taking your job one play at a time. I remember my college coach always said, “Six seconds at a time. Don’t worry about the next move or the last play. Every six seconds, you do your best and then do it again.”
The same applies with our walk with Christ. We are called to not worry about the past or the future. We aren’t meant to spend our time worrying about what others think about us. God wants us to give our time and effort to Him alone and find joy in doing so. The second we allow others’ thoughts and opinions to motivate us, we will be out of sorts.
James 1:8 talks about a double-minded man who is unstable in all his ways. It’s so true! When we try to allow two gods in our lives, our performance and character are unstable. We can’t have two separate gods!
This year as I dive deeper into the Word, I want to live more in the present. My motivation does not derive from the pursuit of money, fame, prestige or notoriety. God gave me the body, mind and opportunity to play this game. I’m going to go out there and give it my best so that whenever someone asks me why I play the way I do, I’m ready to give all glory to God.
— Jordan Matthews, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
Jordan Matthews is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Jordan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/jordan-matthews/
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