God has taught me the gift of being on a team! I had 12 teammates and for me it was special to think that Jesus had 12 disciples. Spending time with my teammates off the court made me realize what it was probably like for Jesus to constantly be with his 12. I have learned from my teammates, but been inspired by the Lipscomb volleyball staff! Pre game locker room speeches by Brandon, dance parties with Billy as the MC, warming up Peppering with Justin Beachy. Inspiring videos from MJ!
God showed me how to have fun playing the sport I have grown up playing.
The staff developed their relationships with us that made it a healthy environment for everyone. We became a family fast because we spent so much time together in community!
After my first season of college volleyball, I can say I learned more than I ever expected. God taught me things about volleyball, my school, my teammates, myself, and my faith this season. Looking back, I see how God played a part in all of these things. Personally, this season was something completely new. I wasn’t sure of exactly what it would be like.
In the beginning, I was nervous at times, but grew to trust in my coaches, teammates, and God.
Several struggles occurred for the team early on in the season, with some difficult losses, but we took a step back and decided to just have fun playing the game we love. Although these times were heartbreaking and difficult, I now see what God’s plan was. He placed us in struggle in order to find strength in each other, ultimately making us ready for success. We were constantly reminded of our many blessings, and volleyball was just a piece of our happiness, not all of it. The support from the Lipscomb community is among these blessings, and the team is in the position it is because of these people that God placed in our lives. I realized that I am lucky to attend a university and be on a team that keeps faith as a priority. I believe God has a plan for every person, and I am grateful that He made Lipscomb a part of mine.
When I reported for training camp in mid-august, I had some mixed emotions. I was excited to be back with the team and get the season rolling. I had just wrapped up probably one of my best summers of training and ended freshman year as the ASUN 800m champion. However, from all this success, I seem to also place emotions of high expectations that also come with nerves and anxieties.
As the season progressed, these anxieties started to come into others areas of my life like school-work and relationships with teammates. Everyday I woke up, I felt like I had to control these anxious thoughts. I would pray over them and it would work for a particular race, test, or confrontation with someone, but they seemed to come back the next morning. Fighting with anxieties, expectations and nerves is normal for most athletes. On one level it shows how much you care about your sport, school work, and relationships. On another level, it reveals to you where you place your identity.
This semester I’ve learned that I need to constantly be placing my identity in Christ, because one day we’re going to wake up and realize that running, school work, and relationships go away, but Christ will always be there for us.
Two passages of scripture that this semester have seemed to bring light to this subject are Hebrews 12:1-2a and Philippians 4:4-9
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2a
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
A typical prayer I like to say before a race goes something like:
“Lord, Give me strength in my legs and mind. Help me to be a servant for today, looking for ways to help out others. Keep me reminded that whatever the outcome is, my victory has already been won in You. Because of your goodness and grace, I get to race!”
The more we focus our efforts on keeping God at the forefront of our lives, I believe we will be able to walk through life knowing that whatever anxious thoughts come our way, we can rest assure that through God’s goodness, we will be taken care of.
This past year GOD has been showing me how to live a life of worship and be in his presence constantly. I used to think that “worship” was just a thing one does at the beginning of a church service on a Sunday, but boy was I wrong. A life of worship starts with the smallest of detail, starting from just thanking him for another day of life to soccer to loving people around you. Living a life for his glory and constantly thanking him for his goodness has transformed me from the inside out. I’m beyond thankful for what Jesus has done in my life and how he continues to transform my inner man day in and day out! God is so good! – “Buddy” Jonathon Ramirez
One thing that God has taught me through soccer this year is to surrender the “little” control I thought I had and be content with what I’ve been given. Over the past four years, a lot my days have often been dictated by my performance and play. When I have a bad game/practice, I ended up letting that dictate the rest of my day. However, this one year is the year where I didn’t let that affect me. This year when things didn’t go my way, I didn’t let it get to me and I went to the next thing I had to do. It’s funny to because this has been my best year at Lipscomb. Also, I ended up have a much more enjoyable time playing with my teammates and developed even better relationships with every single one of our coaches. To sum it all up, I have found/realized that we are not made to control every aspect of our lives and need to trust in the process that God has provided. – Scout Monteith
God instills interests, talents and passions in all of us. It’s kind of a win win for everyone because we all get to enjoy things that we are good at doing and God gets to use these areas to teach us and mold us into who He so badly wants us to be. In my life, the platform that God has been able to use the past nine years has been running.
I have failed, succeeded, and most importantly learned to love equally, live whimsically, and act courageously throughout my years as a runner. This past summer I felt led by God to make this cross-country season my last season of competitive running in order to focus on other specific areas in my life. With that in mind, these past 6 months of training, racing and teammate shenanigans have provided me with lessons different than any from the past nine years.
God taught me the importance of being at peace. Peace is a concept that I am quick to overlook or deem as less important than other values. There is the kind of peace that comes through lounging in a hot tub, placed in the middle of a forest on a chilled winter day with nothing to see but a fresh layer of snow for miles, there is the kind of peace that comes in little candy form and tastes like a peanut butter-chocolate heaven, and then there is the type of peace that is rooted deeper than whatever circumstance you find yourself in, good or bad. That last type of peace is the kind that I was fortunate enough to learn and experience over the course of this cross- country season.
Whether it was learning how to dance in the back of a Tour Bus on a seven hour ride to South Carolina or embracing my teammates with delirious hugs right after we raced our hearts and guts out together; with every memory I gained, the decision to not be a part of the team next year became more difficult to come to terms with. But I was still at peace through the confusion and second-guessing. My freshmen teammates instantly became some of my closest friends on the team but even though it hurt to think about leaving them as quickly as I got to know them, there was a peace that was stronger. This season arguably turned in to my favorite and most successful season of running ever, and even though I became curious of the unknown amounts of success I could possibly achieve in the seasons to come, God ’s peace lead me down a different path.
While meeting first with my coaches and next with my teammates that same evening, emotion weighed heavy on my heart as I choked up the words “I will no longer be running.”
Doubt began to creep in my mind, making me second guess a decision I had spent the past six months thinking and praying about. Even now, three days after the fact, there is a pressing sadness and bitter sting that comes along with the thought of never toeing the line with my teammates again; never being their teammate again.
I guess the reason I am sharing this sob story is to show just how much stronger and hopeful this God-given peace is. It is amazing that in the midst of pain, sadness and confusion, there is something rooted deeper that is continuing to drive me in a different direction. Although there is pain in letting go, there is comfort in moving forward. This decision has and will continue to take a lot of trust.
But when I think about it, this is what I want my relationship with God to always look like. I want to always be in positions where I have to trust Him because that means I am living in an active and obedient relationship with God.
And although trusting God sometimes means doing the scariest thing we could possibly imagine, we get to have peace knowing that this omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being that we get to call Father, will not abandon us.
Part of the reason why I am choosing to stop running is to spend more time getting plugged in to my church and knowing God.
There is a difference between knowing about God, and knowing God; and I believe that the more I know Him, the more I will be able to not only recognize this peace in my life, but His presence in its entirety.
Even now I am learning to cope with the fact that I cannot and will never be perfect, but this doesn’t keep God from wanting me to know and understand His presence. Through lies of the enemy, I am the only thing that gets in the way of knowing God’s peace, His love, His voice and everything else about His presence. This season I learned that when God is telling me do to something, no matter how mind-bogglingly difficult or confusing, there will be a peace that comes along with it. A peace that is stronger than any doubt or any pain.Thank you Father for making me aware of your peace and allowing it to give me the courage I need to follow your greater plan.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” -Colossians 3:15