Spring training has been different in many ways this year. I’ve definitely been more comfortable around the guys since I’ve now established great friendships with many of them over the past two years. Having some time in the big leagues under my belt and being familiar with the expectations and competition at this level definitely helps, but that doesn’t mean this year was any less work.
I’m still trying to earn a rotation spot on the team. While that can threaten to be stressful, I don’t let it be. Instead, I’ve been allowing God to stay in control of it all. Knowing everything is in His hands gives me a peace, so I can enjoy the game and work my hardest to be the best I can be. I can breathe easy knowing my steps are already perfectly planned out by Him. Camp has gone really well for me this year because I’ve given up all control to God. The game is hard, but having the right mindset and outlook is everything.
In the offseason, I really got into a good rhythm of reading God’s Word daily. I knew as I entered spring training I would need to establish a new routine so I wouldn’t let my habits slip. As soon as I step into the clubhouse, my mind starts to wander. Finding time to be intentional with studying the Scriptures can be difficult. It feels like there’s always something else I should be doing. But when I am able to create time and space to get in the Word before I step on the field, I experience the peace and presence of God in a fresh way, which prepares me for the day ahead. Then as I enter the clubhouse, I can talk about what I’ve learned that day with other guys who are going through the same reading plan I am.
I’ve been so encouraged this year to see other guys my age in the league who are extremely driven in their sport and, many of them, in their faith. There are a handful of guys who are just entering the league who seem to always be in the Word. In fact, we have a text chain of 15-20 of us younger players who are pushing each other to grow deeper in the faith. Being able to learn from, grow deeper with, and fellowship with these guys has been incredible.
From a physical standpoint, consistency is my focus. My goal is to be able to go out there and give it my best every five days. It’s going to take a toll on my body, I know. I’m not the biggest guy in the world so there’s a durability aspect that some question me on. But I know I have the strength from within and that strength is driven from the Lord. I just need to be smart and listen to my body. Though I’m tired on some days, I know I can rely on Him for the extra adrenaline and push that I need.
Consistency in my relationship with Christ will be a whole new challenge once the season begins. I might not be able to wake up super early to read my Bible. Being on the road and up late for night games might force me to find different times throughout the day to get in the Word. But whether that means getting to the field early to sit in my car and have that time with the Lord, or whenever I do wake up for the day, it’s a challenge I will take on. I’ll just need to find a new routine because this is something that is way too important to put on a back burner. And I’m thankful I have a group of men around me who will hold me accountable and sharpen me to grow closer to Christ each day.
— Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher
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.