Athlete, Prepare Now for Transitions


Athlete, Prepare Now for Transitions

Jonathan Van Horn

Ephesians 1:3,7-9 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places ... In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will.

Transitions in sport are frequent, and they are these small moments that can make or break you. You spend thousands of hours to prepare for that split-second response to maximize the moment and find success, whether it is jumping a route for an interception, a turnover that leads to a counter attack or a handoff in the relay race.

There is something about transitions that not only give you an opportunity, but also reveal what you are made of. If you knew exactly what was going to happen and when, the sport would be easy. But transitions pop up, come up, or just appear, at times, out of nowhere.

The same is true in life experiences, they seem to pop up at times rather unexpected. Just ask Moses about the burning bush, Peter when called by Jesus to follow Him or Gideon about when he was hiding from his enemies while crushing grain. It pushes us to ask the questions, “Where is God?” or “What is God doing?” or “Why is He allowing this now?”

Transitions create imbalance, an unnerving sense, movement into a new direction. One key to successful transition in sport is not to allow the change to affect who you are as an athlete or team. Just because change and transition occur doesn’t mean you forget what you are working toward as a team and athlete.

Transitions can create amazing opportunities in sport and life; you can experience God to work and move mightily. Moses didn’t plan to free and lead Israel out of Egypt; Peter didn’t expect to be called by Jesus or any rabbi, nor did he expect Jesus’ death and resurrection.

So when transitions occur, how do you stay steadfast? Continue trusting in the Lord and believing, even though you don’t know the outcome. Your hope and trust is in the One who does know. Your foundation rests in Jesus, Him crucified, and your new identity as sons and daughters.

Paul, experiencing uncertainty, addresses this in writing to the church in Ephesus. He writes foundational truths about who we are in Christ. He reminds his readers about their new identity in Him.

You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places; you have been chosen by God; you are holy and blameless before Him; you are adopted sons and daughters of the King; you are redeemed by the blood of Jesus; forgiven; grace has been lavished upon you; to you God has made known the mysteries of His will … (Ephesians 1:3-9), and there is much more!

Transitions can be expected, and successful transition starts now with knowing your identity in Christ. Knowing who you are and whose you are allows you to successfully navigate the changes, transitions and unknowns this life will throw at you!

This week’s devotionals walk you through the SHIFT framework, assisting athletes through successful transition in sport and life. You can hear stories and learn more about SHIFT on The SHIFT Podcast on iTunes and Spotify as well as online at


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