What's Next is Anyone's Guess - Benjamin Watson

Today marks the official start of NFL free agency. But what’s next for me and my family is anyone’s guess. Over the last few years, I’ve explored several different avenues including broadcasting, philanthropy, politics, ministry and working with players in various capacities.

But while we aren’t sure what’s next for us, a few things we know we will always prioritize are our marriage, our family and ministry. Our oldest daughter, Grace, just turned 11, meaning we have less time left with her in the house than we’ve already spent with her. And now with two newborns, we are thinking a lot about how we are going to train them and our other five kids up.

I’ve been heavily involved in a documentary that’s coming out soon that focuses on the topic of abortion. After interviewing 30-40 different people from the arenas of politics, medicine, academia and those who have a large cultural influence, I have gained a lot of insight on people’s opinions. Some consider themselves pro-life, others pro-choice. While I am 100 percent anti-abortion and want to protect life at any stage, my goal for this documentary is to get to the bottom of the debate at the factual, ethical and cultural levels, and get people to engage in the conversation. No matter what side you’re on, we should all be able to have empathy and compassion toward those who don’t agree with us.

Like any of us who are Christ-followers, I want to heed wise counsel and listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading as to what I should give my time and effort to. For so long — almost all of my life — I have given my time to football and things surrounding this game. I’m turning 40 this year, and after playing 16 of those 40 years in the NFL, I need to decide to what exactly I’m going to devote my life, outside of my family. What will the other component be?

Even though I officially retired from the NFL this week, there’s also pressure to keep playing — internally, because it’s what I’ve given my life to thus far, and externally as well. But there are also those who pressure me to give it up, saying I’ve been in long enough. The truth is that I have a lot of experience in this field, not just on the field, but off of it as well. I understand the culture within the NFL; I’ve seen both positive things within, and things that need to be addressed. The “pressure” to stay involved in the game in some capacity really isn’t pressure at all, it’s an opportunity.

Football has not only been a fun journey for me, it’s been my family’s livelihood. While I have a peace about walking away from the game today, I do pray that God would completely take the desire to play away from me so I continue to feel good in my decision to stop playing.

For the past four years, our lives have been in limbo. There’s been a constant state of wondering — wondering what will happen in this season and the next. My wife, Kirsten, and I are looking forward to putting roots down somewhere, and though we have no idea where that may be, we are ready to have somewhere to call home.

But we’re also reminded through this process that this world is never going to be our home. Even when we do find a place in which to settle for a while, we will still feel a sense of longing for somewhere else. We are citizens of Heaven, and at the end of our time here on earth, we will finally be able to go home for good.

For years we’ve talked to our kids about how to invest in relationships with others when we know we’re only in a certain location for a short time. It’s hard to invest in this way, because it then makes it harder to say goodbye, but we still want to open ourselves up to affecting people positively, even if it’s temporary. And this is a great picture of our lives, isn’t it? This mindset gives us more urgency to do the work God’s given us to impact people for His Kingdom with the finite time we have.

We have no time to be lackadaisical. Be inspired to do what needs to be done today. God will take care of tomorrow.

— Benjamin Watson, former NFL tight end

Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/benjaminwatson/

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