When I think of all the positions I’ve been in — an NFL player, a leader, a team captain and an oldest brother — I see I’ve always been put in the first line of defense. The word “surrender” is one that I always struggle with. For me, it refers to responsibility. So when I do come to a point of actually surrendering something, it becomes freeing. Many may think of surrender as a place of weakness, but for me it’s freeing. In this moment, no longer is the responsibility on me, it’s on God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6
God tells us that when we surrender our will to Him, He will make our paths straight. When I do surrender to Him, I feel as if a weight has been lifted. It’s freeing to say to God, “I surrender and I trust You. I’ll keep walking in Your way because whatever the outcome is, it’s on You.” That’s a freeing place to be! Especially since my entire life has been the opposite of that, always being the one out in front, always taking the burden off others. But God wants to do the same for me. I just have to keep being obedient and let God do what He wants.
When you attack something bigger than you and try to tackle it on your own, you feel the weight of other people’s expectations, as well as your own. We often aim to impress people or gain success, and in doing so, we feel every ounce of that weight on our shoulders. But when we start to surrender and begin to operate in obedience to God, we can freely say, “I don’t know how this is going to work out, I might fail, but it’s no longer on me. I’m giving it to You, God.” With this release comes a huge sense of peace.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
I didn’t plan on getting involved in social activism. It all started while I found myself watching everything unfold on TV and I realized I’m tired of tweeting and hashtagging; I wanted to do something. I had no clue what I wanted to do or where to even start, but I decided I was going to do something. One thing led to another, conversations led to introductions, like-minded men came together, and two years later we find ourselves talking about these subjects on CNN. We were keynote speakers at different functions, sitting across from team owners figuring out solutions to these issues we see in front of us.
This entire time I know I’m no expert, I’m just walking in faith. It’s been awesome to watch God use me in that manner. I’ve had to learn how to be fully surrendered to God during this entire time because, quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a leader, I can speak my mind and speak from my heart, but at the end of the day, I’m a football player. I’m not a politician or a full-time activist.
Who knows what God’s plans are in all of this? I just know I have to walk in faith.
— Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles safety
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.