Replacing Anxiety with Gratitude - Nick Ahmed

This past season there were so many extra things to do and hoops to jump through with the COVID testing and protocol in place. It felt like more of a challenge than ever to slow down. But I really tried to make that a priority, and this offseason I’m going to continue that practice. 

There are many nuances and aspects of my personal game that I want to work on this offseason, but I also want to practice being present as much as I can. 

When my personal life is in a good rhythm — when I’m enjoying my family and being a good dad to my kids and a good husband to my wife, as well as having a good relationship with Christ — I’m able to have a better work/home balance. It helps me understand my identity is not in baseball alone. That can be hard to be mindful of when you play every day and have four at-bats each night. When your performance is out there for everyone to see and evaluate each day, it can be a challenge to stay grounded. Since coming to Christ, my identity is in Him alone, and then after that — before baseball — I am a husband and a dad first. 

There are days in my walk with Christ that are more challenging than others. There are also days when spending time reading His Word seems like more of a chore than a joy, if I’m being completely honest. On those days, I start my day listening to worship music while getting ready for the day to get my mind in the right place before Him. Or I might listen to a sermon by a teacher I trust and admire. It just may be that God will speak to me in a different way than through my typical routine. Maybe God will use someone else to reveal more of Himself to me. Changing it up is important to me. I don’t want to be a slave to routine just for the sake of routine. 

With chapel not being allowed at the ballpark this past season, we had to gather through Zoom to study God’s Word as a team. There were days on the road that players and coaches were able to meet in a ballroom in order to do a Bible study, since we could socially distance ourselves there. No matter where we met, there were great conversations among us. 

Outside of that, there were always little conversations we had daily with each other in the clubhouse or on the field that were really important to me. It’s important to remember that when the game makes you stressed or anxious, you’re presented the perfect opportunity to turn to God and practice intentional gratitude. Conversations with others can help you or them turn from stressed and anxious to grateful. This is what I hope to be able to bring to my teammates.

But anytime you’re teaching something, you have to know it personally and be able to do it yourself. Being able to share a sense of peace and grateful perspective only comes when you truly feel it for yourself. I know what I used to be and where I used to place my worth. I never want to go back there, and if I can help others find their worth in Christ in the same way I have, I’ll do whatever it takes to do that.

— Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop

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

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