Looking back on this past year, it has been a time of changes and challenges. Nonetheless, God has given me joy and peace. While speaking with Nyack College athletes, I have learned that they have also been challenged personally. When their life and sports coincide, they have grown in their spiritual walk and learned to persevere.
Sophomore soccer player Jordan Jansen says, “It’s just been a season of discovering greater trust in my life as I have been walking through a lot of loss and a lot of pain and a lot of change this year, […] and just being in a situation when not everything is going right has caused me to trust in a lot of ways that I didn’t quite expect.”
As her team works through a sports psychologist, they learn to push beyond mental barriers and limits. It has sparked a new fire within her team.
“It’s been actually kind of life changing because it changes instead of when you reach an end point, you don’t say, ‘okay I have to stop.’ You say, ‘I’m going to give everything I have and push beyond this limit.’ I think it’s there there’s growth, and I think that’s applicable for every area of life,” says Jansen.
It is how we respond to challenges that speaks the most about our character.
Sophomore cross country runner Thomas Trott believes that God provides all he needs both in his races and life. As a way to give back to God what he has given him, Trott hopes to show others his faith.
“A huge part of integrating my faith is really to be set on God and keeping Him as the focus […] and trying to use my race and my workout efforts and practices as an effort to glorify Him and show my appreciation in Him, and hopefully show the evidence of His impact on me,” says Trott.
Although playing soccer has been his life saver throughout life, sophomore Storm Glautier believes that his higher purpose is found in God. By keeping his focus on God, he finds balance in life.
“Definitely keep life consistent,” Glautier says, “Don’t let soccer rule your life; don’t let school rule your life. Make sure you have a both end mentality where everything needs to come together as one. […] Make sure that faith and family come first before everything else.”
One of the greatest freedoms God gives us is to give ourselves — all that we have been, are, and ever will be — to Him.
By dedicating her sport and life to God, junior cross country runner Trisha Frazer has found that even when situations are uncomfortable and challenging, her faith has taught her to persevere.
“When you dedicate something to God, He will blow your mind,” says Frazer.
Through their willingness to learn from their challenges and losses, the athletes grow in their faith.
No matter if it is in games or life, senior lacrosse player Emily Sigmon believes that the best opportunities to grow in character is when we don’t get what we want.
“It provides a fork in the road: to either get downhearted and give up or come together and strive to press on,” says Sigmon.
Perhaps freshman track runner Benjamin Tse says it best: “Until you believe you can accomplish something, you aren’t going to accomplish it,” and “If you are willing to push far, you will achieve far.”
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.