What God Has Taught Me Through Sport: Elise Andrich, Women’s Soccer

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Elise Andrich, Lipscomb Women’s Soccer Player

What has God taught you through your sport this season?

Believe. Seven letters. Such a simple word with so much meaning. This word has absolutely transformed my life and has opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing all along.

God has used the game of soccer as a tool and a bridge to ultimately teach me the purpose of my life. I’ve been a deep thinker for as long as I can remember; constantly questioning why and how things happen. We live in a world where pain, sadness and grief are present and evident every second of every day. However, this same world somehow has the ability to emit joy and love, which have been proven to heal the broken hearts of those all around us. How could these two extremes coincide realistically in the same world? I could not wrap my mind around the idea of life, and it felt like absolutely nothing made sense. So, since day one here at Lipscomb, I’ve been on the search for answers. I grew up in the Catholic Church with the idea of God, but did not actually know God for myself. Seeing so many people at Lipscomb with this unexplainable sense of fullness and joy first took me by surprise, and I could not pinpoint specifically what it was about them that became the source of my envy. I knew I wanted, and honestly needed, whatever it was that they had. I found myself participating in Bible studies, attentively watching sermons, studying song lyrics and reading articles…all in hope of getting to know this God that everyone seemed to know and love. No matter where I searched though, I could not find exactly what I was looking for. I began to question my self-worth because my heart yearned so strongly for this relationship with God that could not seem to be found. Feelings of loneliness and emptiness had replaced the slight belief I had left in myself, and my tank had been completely emptied of the little fuel it had left. I had nothing to turn to, nowhere to go, and no one who could bring my spirit back to life.

That’s when the game of soccer became God’s platform for proving His existence to me, and for making His way into my heart.

I developed a passion for the beautiful game at a young age, and spent every day with a ball at my feet. I constantly strived to perfect my skills at this game that at the time was my ultimate source of joy. It wasn’t until my transition into the teenage years that everything started to take a turn. I slowly and painfully began to feel my coaches and teammates lose belief in my potential and ability on the field, so I naturally lost belief in myself as well. This negative and withholding mindset began to affect other aspects of my life, and I found myself in an emotional slump for the next few years continuing all the way through high school. Although it may not have been evident on the outside by the way that I acted and carried myself, I knew something was missing on the inside, and my heart hungered and ached for more. The one thing that once brought me unfathomable amounts of joy now felt like a chore, and my carefree passion for the game had escaped me. After countless hours of contemplation and many exhausting discussions about quitting the game that had stolen my heart, something continued to hold me back and kept me tied to the sport, something that I couldn’t pinpoint or put into words. My passion had diminished and soccer was no longer the source of my joy, so what was keeping me from letting go?  Why couldn’t I agree to just move on?

I now know the answers to these questions. God used the beautiful game to first, bring me to Lipscomb, and second, to teach me what it truly means to believe.

The Lipscomb Women’s Soccer team has absolutely transformed my life. Each and every player and member of the coaching staff was brought to this school and this program for a reason. My purpose for attending this school, being on this team, living in this challenging environment, and playing the game of soccer has now been revealed to me. I finally understand why I spend countless hours working with these specific girls and coaches towards our common goal of not only becoming a better soccer team, but also becoming better followers of Christ. At first, I didn’t understand the full meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:31, the verse we wore on the back of our jerseys to practice every day:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

What does it look like to do something for the glory of God? It’s when you give your utmost effort, not selfishly for your own good, but for God. Because He’s the one that deserves it, all the success and everything that comes with it, not you. This new motivation and drive to glorify God has become my purpose in life. My purpose for waking up in the morning, for striving towards success academically, for working towards the point of exhaustion physically, and for making an impact in this vast, broken world that has swallowed me and led me astray time after time. God is writing this unexplainable story of life that I will never fully understand. What I do understand is that I’m not, and never will be, the main character of this story. I am simply a tiny piece of this massive, extensive puzzle. However, without my piece, the puzzle would not be complete. I fit into this world because God has created me with a distinct and unique set of strengths and weaknesses with the purpose of glorifying the one who gave them to me. I have been blessed with a talent and a passion for the game of soccer, so it is my responsibility to use this platform as a stage to celebrate and shine light on the God who has blessed me, and each and every one of His people, with more than we could ever deserve.

Believe. Again, such a simple word, two syllables, seven letters long. The word that has left my heart feeling empty for as long as I can remember, but that now fills me with self-worth and my purpose for living. God has shown and proven to me that when my belief lies in Him first and foremost, then all other aspects of life will begin to fall into place. I could not be more grateful for this incredible opportunity I have laid out in front of me; the opportunity to play the game that I love, with the people who bring me endless amounts of joy, while growing closer to the God that has changed my life forever. Simply saying I’m thankful would be an understatement. I now strive to glorify God in everything that I do, in every aspect of life, because that’s what I was ultimately created to do. I have been taught one of the most difficult, and probably the most important, lessons in life, and it has led my heart to the feeling of fullness for which it has been so strongly yearning. All because of this simple word: believe. All we have to do is believe, and God will take care of the rest. I challenge each and every one of us to ask ourselves the toughest question of all: “What’s the purpose of my life?” Finding the answer to this question is the most fulfilling and rewarding feeling that I pray everyone will one day experience. God is incredible and truly has the ability to change lives forever, just like He has done with mine.

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By: Elise Andrich, Sophomore, Lipscomb Women’s Soccer

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Elise is planning to go to El Salvador this spring break on the team’s mission trip! She and her teammates are excited, please join us in praying for them!
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Twitter @LipscombFCA, Instagram: @LipscombBisonsSF

 

Join the Team:
God calls both “goers” and “senders” to His roster to be vessels for His Kingdom work to be done. The Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation team,  and all the mission trips the teams go on are supported through fundraising.  If you would like to be part of what God is doing through Lipscomb Athletics, and be part of the “sending” team; this is the link to gift funds to Lipscomb Athletics: https://secure.lipscomb.edu/gift (Designate Area “Athletics-University” and then designate “Athletics Spiritual Formation;” or to give to a student’s athletic mission trip: https://www.lipscomb.edu/giving/loose-giving-forms/student-mission-gifts.

Thanks so much for being part of the stories of our team, and witnessing what God is doing through the platform of sport.

Blessings!
Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Team

Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation, 2016 Recap

Below are PDF file links of our 2016 recap from Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation. The PDF highlights quotes from current student-athletes who shared with us what God is teaching them through sport and spiritual formation.

Click here to see our 2016 Fall Update: sf-fall-update-2016

Click here to see our 2016 Summer Update: sf-summer-update-2016

Click here to see our January 2016- May 2016 Spring Semester Recap:
sf-annual-report-two-page-2016

Praising Jesus for how He changes lives!!

To learn more about Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation, visit our website or continue to look at more stories on this blog, and our digital brochure.  If you would like to gift any year end funds to Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation, click here: https://secure.lipscomb.edu/gift, designate area “Athletics- University” and then designate “Athletics Spiritual Formation.” Thank you in advance for joining our team, and being apart of what God is doing here!

Thank you so much for visiting our blog, and reading about the stories of our team!  We are grateful for you.

Blessings,
Lipscomb Athletics Spiritual Formation Team