A Letter to Athletes for Your New Year
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The year 2022 is here. New Year’s Resolutions flood our minds, our conversations and our social media feeds. Back again is the time for accidentally writing out the wrong year an embarrassing amount of times for a few weeks.
It’s a new year, yes, but also a new semester of school, even for some a new sports season, and another offseason for others. Maybe you’ve graduated or finished up your athletic eligibility (congratulations!) and are transitioning to a job outside of college.
Newness can be exciting because it brings the opportunity for a fresh start. Newness can also be scary because with it comes the unknown and unfamiliarity. Personally, I feel most out of my comfort zone when I am stepping into an unfamiliar situation with unknown expectations and entirely unpredictable results.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
God, however, is not afraid of the “new.” He is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Nothing is unknown or unexpected to Him! The Bible says much about God and the idea of things that are “new.”
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).
- God’s mercies never end, and they are more than just for one day, but are new every morning.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and spring forth rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
- God is great enough and powerful enough to make a way where in our eyes and in our own strength there is no way. He promises to do new and powerful things in the lives of those who love Him, for our good and His glory.
“And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:5).
- In Revelation, the final book of the Bible, we see that God will one day make all things new. He will blot out death, sin, evil, brokenness, and sorrow, and create a world where His people will live with Him in peace and righteousness forever.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- When we receive Jesus Christ by putting our faith in Him and become part of God’s family, He makes us new! We aren’t perfect until we get to heaven, but God begins a process of replacing our old sinful desires with new desires from the Holy Spirit, making us more into His image.
Let these promises from God allow you to take heart and have hope amidst whatever anxieties your new year, semester, or season of sport or life brings.
Prioritize your relationship with God.
Whatever new things you are currently facing today or will face going forward, my prayer is that you would seek God in it and that He would meet you where you are. I want to encourage you to make this one thing your highest goal, your number one “resolution” this year:
Prioritize your relationship with God.
Other resolutions aren’t insignificant or unimportant. We should strive to pursue our physical health, mental health and grow in relationships with people. Please do those things!
I plan to implement some new practices, rhythms, and goals in those areas myself. However, our relationship with God is the most important thing.
If we walk with God and continually abide in Him, we will experience the abundant life Jesus gives (John 10:10), the fullness of joy He promises (John 15:11), and the new creation He makes us into (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Life won’t be perfect. There will be difficulties and pain, but the hope, joy, peace and security we have in Jesus will carry us on even in those times.
What does it look like to live out a relationship with God?
- Read the Bible: Get regular time in God’s Word, to learn about God, grow your love for Him, and learn what it means to follow/live for Him.
- Prayer: Find regular time to be alone with God and talk to Him. Use small moments of your day — like going to class or practice, or before going to sleep — to take a step back and talk to God.
- Become part of a local church: Worshiping, hearing the Word preached, serving and building relationships with people in a church is important for us as Christians. The church is where we experience diversity (stage of life, perspectives, even ethnically) in the body of Christ. Find out what churches your teammates, coaches, and spiritual leaders attend and join them.
- Grow with other Christians: Develop deep friendships with them, and as you do, spend time pursuing God with them (studying the Bible, praying together).
If you have yet to put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, consider doing so today. Talk to a trusted friend or teammate, an AIA staff member or someone in your local church about what it means to know God personally and begin a relationship with Him.
Whatever you do in this new year, new semester or new season, prioritize your relationship with God and let all else flow through that.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Jarrett Whitson graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Strategic Communications. He is now a second-year intern with Athletes in Action at Kansas State.
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