God is showing me that pursuing an intimate relationship with Him is ultimately what my heart desires.
A few months ago during preseason, coach told us to pick one word that we wanted to focus on for the year. I began to think about all the possible words I could pick from and asked God to point me in the right direction. A few nights later we were reading a book as a team and someone read the word intimacy and it immediately jumped off the page. As we continued to read throughout the book, I couldn’t get my mind off of it.
After the meeting, I pulled out my laptop and Bible and began doing research on how to develop intimacy with the Lord. Intimacy flows out of feeling wholly accepted just the way we are. To develop intimacy is to cultivate closeness with the Father through carving out quality time with Him. I asked God if this was the word he had in store for me and I asked Him to give me clarity in some shape or form. A few days later we were on our team retreat. The first night we got to worship as a team and let me tell you something… if you’re trying to think of a good team bonding activity, worship is the answer! There are no words to describe how amazing that night of worship was and how much closer our team grew from that experience.
In between songs, my teammate began praying over the team. In the middle of her prayer she talked about growing an intimate relationship with the Father and I was instantly overcome with emotion. (It’s in these compelling moments, when tears start to run down my cheeks as the presence of God floods the room, where I know God is real!) I walked into that worship night asking the Lord to show me my word and He answered my prayer.
Since then, I have been learning that God wants to be invited into every aspect of my life. By applying this truth, I have seen Him entering into the still, small moments of my day and I want Him there, not just because I need help, but also because I love His presence.
On the Court:
This past volleyball season I found two specific times where I was able to grow in intimacy with the Father. Prior to matches we typically have about 10 minutes of quiet time where we can either review the scouting report, pray, or listen to music. During this time I listen to the song “Here Again”, by Hillsong. This song reminds me that God’s nearness is most brilliant when I am most weak. I cannot do anything on my own and so I ask God to meet me where I am and fill me with His strength so that I can glorify Him through my efforts and serve my teammates to the best of my ability.
Once we get inside the gym, before we do anything else, we “cross our line”, which basically means we close our eyes, put any distractions behind us and get into a game-like mindset, as we step out onto the court. First, I use this time to soak in the moment and thank God for giving me the opportunity to play volleyball alongside my best friends. I tell God that I not only want to play FOR Him, but WITH Him too. I ask God to help me be aware of His presence which gives me peace that passes understanding in the midst of whatever the game brings. Lastly, I thank the Lord because my worth is not found in my performance, it’s found in being a daughter of the King, and this allows me to play with freedom and unconditional joy.
Off the court:
Outside of volleyball, I have grown closer to God by consistently striving to block out quality time to be with Him everyday. Sometimes I write in my prayer journal, read a devotional, read scripture or listen to worship music. When we abide and dwell in Him, He places within us desires that line up with His best desire for us and by immersing ourselves in His Word, He renews and transforms our mind. He can fully satisfy our hearts, because they are consistent with His heart. By having quiet time in the morning, God is able to align my heart with His before I go about my day. In Psalm 23, God talks about how He has prepared a table for us. It must break the Father’s heart when we walk around so desperate for a love He waits to give us each and everyday. Will we stop running around, sit at the table and just be with our father?
The first step to develop an intimate relationship with God is to admit that the life He promises will never be found in another person, sports or earthly possessions. I have learned that the hard way. Lasting satisfaction is found in Christ alone. My identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is and who He is to me, only then can I find stability beyond my circumstances.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:13
Hi friends! My name is Amanda and I am currently a sophomore at Messiah College in Pennsylvania but I’m originally from Wisconsin. I am majoring in athletic training and I play on the Messiah Women’s Volleyball team where I am able to use sports as a platform to spread the gospel to a world in need. In my free time you can catch me outside hammocking, going on adventures with friends and eating cheese. I have a heart for sports and sharing Jesus' love with others.