Athletes Unlimited is beginning a six-week softball league in Chicago where we will be playing a real-life fantasy league. Each week, the top four players from the league will redraft their new team to compete against the rest. Each week, my team and teammates will change — meaning each week I will have a chance to be a light to new women on my team. I began praying weeks ago for God to prepare me for conversations and interactions He’s prepared for me already.
I’ve already asked God to do the work, so I trust that whatever happens, I’ll be prepared. I’m taking spiritual responsibility and surrendering the situation to God before it comes.
Something I learned last year during my season was that I have to be able to forgive quickly, and even before the offense is made. With some teammates, you expect to be offended. You know it’s coming. So when it does, are you prepared to take offense or have you already forgiven them in your heart? It’s really hard to do, but you have to be prepared at every moment to forgive.
I’ve watched my husband, a professional baseball player, go through a dramatic life-change as he gave his life to Christ four years ago. He was in pro ball before he was a Christ-follower and now after his conversion, he’s drastically different. When you go through that sort of life-change, the only thing you can do is to show up every day and be consistent in your new behavior. Eventually, people will see that your change is real. The value of this long-term consistent behavior is evident when you show up every day to honor God with the relationship you have with Him.
One of the ways I aim to show Christ to my teammates is to cheer each person on. In sports, and with women in general, we are always comparing ourselves with each other, whether we recognize it or not. On and off the field we need to celebrate each other’s wins and care about the struggles and losses we go through. I truly want the best for my teammates, even if I don’t see things in life the way they do. It’s crucial for me to ask God to help me be aware of the thoughts I’m having toward my teammates so that I can take them captive. It’s easy to judge others when you don’t know them or what they’ve been through, but that’s not what we’re called to do. We are called to love.
A team is a unique, and very sanctifying, place. When your team changes constantly, it’s hard to find a rhythm. I need to fully rely on God to be my rhythm this season. How can I plan for what I don’t know will come or who I will interact with? It’s going to be something where I have to step into it and learn as I go.
The only thing I really can do to prepare is to strengthen my relationship with God and surrender any future appointments He has for me throughout the six weeks. Whatever happens, since I know I’ve surrendered it already, will be in His timing and effort, not by my own striving. Even though I don’t know what the situation will look like, I can trust that God has me prepared in advance.
— Janie Reed, USA Softball player
Janie Reed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Janie’s Increase profile here.
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