Life with a baby has been so great! One of the biggest things I’ve been blessed by is to see firsthand just what a great choice I made in marriage. My wife, Cheyna, has done an amazing job taking care of our baby, especially with all the transition with my NFL career this year. It’s been so cool to see her come into this new role of motherhood. Her being an athlete, usually so tediously focused on her own body and health, it was extremely humbling for me to watch her surrender to motherhood so willingly and selflessly. Without hesitation, she was eager to put her own goals on the backburner for the two most important guys in her life.
I think it hits me most that I’m now a father when I come home after a game. I’ve always tried to be extremely focused and diligent going into each game, and I’ve heard many guys say that being a husband and/or father gives them even more motivation to put in hard work on the field. But for me, it’s postgame when I realize that this is the real deal.
As a single man, you win the game and that’s when the temptations set in. You are faced with the choice to go out and party, hang out with the wrong type of people, or drink to celebrate. And when you lose a game, the same temptations come at you as a means of escape. You may think, “We had a bad loss and I deserve to be able to check out and escape from the pain.” As a single man, it’s a lot easier to listen to those lies and put yourself first. But when we give our lives over to Christ, one of the first things we realize is that it’s not about what we think we deserve, it’s about denying yourself for the sake of Christ.
Now as a father, I can’t ignore the responsibilities and new role I have postgame. When I come home, I can’t lose sight of the things God’s told me and called me to. My son, Josiah, is right there, staring me in the face, reminding me of the calling I have as a father. He doesn’t care whether I won the game, was passed the ball, or dropped it during the game. He just cares that I’m home. To him, I’m dad and that’s what I will be no matter how the game turned out.
The most important message I could ever share with Josiah is the Gospel. I really want Josiah to have his own walk with Christ, not one we create or establish for him. I don’t want to be one of those parents who doesn’t let their kids actively work out their own faith. It’s not about my walk or Cheyna’s walk, it’s about his own walk and how he discovers who God is.
I want to teach him how to follow Christ, giving him a Bible and encouraging him to read it for himself instead of teaching him to rely alone on Sunday’s sermon each week. Any attributes I hope he has as a man will be better taught to him by Christ than by me. So I need to see how I can get him to understand the importance of reading, listening to and understanding the Word of God at a young age.
Living that out by example, supporting him and our family, and coming alongside him to help him live that out, that’s what will set him up for the most success in life. That’s my goal as a father.
— Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver
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.