I wish I could look back and say I made the absolute most of my time at Gardner-Webb University, as a student, an athlete, a friend, and a believer. However, I can’t honestly say that I did. My four years we’re indeed wonderful, but if I could do it all over again, there are a few things I would change.
I know everything happens for a reason; and there is a season and a time for everything, but I also hope you can learn from some of the mistakes I made as a student-athlete.
So, without further adieu, here are 3 things I would tell my college self:
1. Stop living for tomorrow, start living for today.
I am what you call a futuristic person. While it can be a positive quality, it can also take over and become a burden. Looking back, I can remember constantly planning and preparing for the next week, month, or even year. Whether it was thinking about the next break, so I could see my boyfriend (now husband); planning my next semester, scheduling better classes than the current ones I had; or wishing I was graduated already so I could get married, start working, and buy a house. I spent so much time thinking about the future, there were times I completely neglected the present.
Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own".
2. Quit trying to please people, and start trying to please God.
No matter who it was, my coaches, teammates, classmates, teachers, or mentors, I was constantly seeking validation. I yearned for approval, and would try my best to please everyone. This lead to insincerity, and sometimes self-consciousness in who I was as a person. Did my coaches like me? Did my teammates want to be my friend? If only I chose to live for an audience of one. The beauty of this, is when we place full satisfaction, desire, and pleasure in our Lord and serve him first, we have the confidence to go and love and serve his people without fear of condemnation or disapproval. We can let go of the fear of being unwanted or unloved, and know the truth of who we are in Christ.
Galatians 1:10, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ".
3. Don’t find your worth in your performance on the field.
My #1 goal every year, was to make a conference team at the end of the season. Freshman year through Junior year passed by and I still had not made any team. I hadn’t lost hope, because senior year was going to be my best year yet. When the season came to a close and the list was revealed I quickly wanted to see if my name was one of the ones chosen. Four players from my team had been picked, and I was not one of them. Embarrassingly enough, I completely wept. I felt as though I had worked so hard all of those four years, for nothing. I felt like a complete failure.
I was trying to find my worth as a player in recognition. It wasn’t until our senior banquet, when I realized where I should find my worth. The juniors gave individual speeches about each senior. When it came my turn, all I remember is one simple line, “If it wasn’t for you, we would not have team devotionals every week.” As simple and small this statement was, it removed the thoughts I had about being a complete failure.
Instead of finding worth in the recognition, medals, trophies, or plaques given for our performances on the field, we should find value in the intangibles. The friendships made, the relationships created, the gift of community and fellowship provided within a team. The ability we have to honor God with our bodies as an athlete.
These things are eternal, trophies are temporary.
Hi! My names Justine! I’m a graduate of Gardner-Webb University where I played Division I college soccer, and received a degree in Marketing. I currently work at SKY Soccer Club in Bowling Green, KY as a Marketing Coordinator. I also recently started a blog called Testify Grace. Check it out here! My passions include healthy living, content creation, smoothies, snuggling with my husband Jeremy and my puppy Pip, and most importantly, Jesus.