Often I’ll travel back to my small hometown in Florida to speak to groups in schools or at events, and almost every time I do, I am asked, “How is it playing in front of millions of people? Are you scared to mess up?” And my immediate response is, “I don’t know how anyone could go out there and perform at this level without having a relationship with the Lord. That is where I find my comfort and identity.”
I know that I will inevitably disappoint coaches, fans, teammates, family, friends, and even myself for that matter, but I know that the Lord Jesus is in my circle, fighting for me. I can’t imagine myself playing at this level, or doing anything for that matter, without having Him in my circle.
I never want to compromise my team in any way. I don’t play just to play; I play to play my best and to win. I prepare the same way every week and weekend, giving my team, my coaches and my fans my all so I don’t let anyone down. But even if I fall short after giving it my all, I know that in God’s eyes — the most important eyes — I’m still loved and valued as His child. When I play before millions, I’m playing with the best God’s given me in order to bring glory and honor to Him.
My play on the field is bigger than myself; it’s bigger than my team or my family and friends. I use this platform to make sure I can spread His name to others who may not know Him as I do, so that they may find the joy I’ve discovered in Him. If I can do that, I would count my career successful. If I can go to the Pro Bowl and make the Hall of Fame, that would be amazing. But the reason I can go out on that field feeling stress-free is because I know my purpose is way bigger than me.
At the end of the day, all I want to do is to spread the love of Christ.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” — Philippians 3:8
— Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos 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.