The older I’ve become, the more I’ve understood the real importance of guarding your eyes, ears and mouth. It’s all above the neck; what you hear, see and say is powerful.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” — Proverbs 18:21
The time I spend in the mornings alone with God centers my day for what’s ahead. As soon as you wake up, there are a billion distractions bombarding you from all sides. Your phone, the TV, Instagram, Facebook … If you don’t make sure you spend time with Jesus right away, your focus will be on other things. The morning is the time for me to direct what I want my day to be and who I want to be. By starting it off with God, I’m filled with an attitude of gratitude, automatically putting things in perspective so I can trust in Him. This time is pivotal; it’s the most important part of my day.
You have to make it a habit. As humans, and especially as athletes, we are creatures of habit; we thrive with routine. There have been times in my life when I have to break myself down to change my habits. When I became injured, for instance, everything had to change. Now that means waking up an hour earlier than I need to so I can meditate, read Scripture, think and pray. I try to find ways and resources to stimulate my mind to gain a positive perspective instead of filling my head with doubt and unbelief. I have to make sure my spiritual tank is full.
Lately, as I pore over God’s Word, He’s been teaching me to cast my cares on Him — what that really means. When I wake up and give my day over to Him, I’m filled with gratitude instead of worry. I discover everything I am thankful for and suddenly everything is put into perspective. I find myself content in all the things God has done for us and given us. I think this is the mindset Christ wants us to take daily. Then, when the anxieties begin to surface, I tell myself to be still and cast my cares on the Lord. In the nick of time, God never fails to bring me to a breakthrough, leading to my deeper trust in Him.
If you learn through adversity how much God cares for you, you know for future hardships that He will never leave you. People may ask why you are so calm and collected during what seems like chaos, and you can tell them you’ve been there before. You know who holds the future in His hands and you can be grateful that He’ll see you through.
There are always times when we struggle to hear God’s voice or gain understanding from His Word. During these times — sometimes weeks, sometimes months — it’s important to have a positive support system in place. By surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded and have the same understanding of the bigger picture, we can gain encouragement we need when we don’t feel like pressing through.
I’ll depend on my brother, my wife, my mom, my dad or my mentor, Pastor Ted Winsley (previously my chaplain), during these periods. Sometimes our perspective may get lost, so you need someone who can help you get back on track. People who, when you tell them that you’ve been praying for months and you’re still going through the valley, that you’re tired and don’t feel like going back to God’s Word, they understand and tell you to keep going.
Start meditating on Scripture and you’ll see that this is Biblical. All of God’s followers went through these dry spells, and yet time after time, God exponentially blessed those who trusted in Him and persevered through the hard times.
Are you going through a dry spell? What do you have to change in your daily routine to make sure that God sets the tone of your day?
— Brandon Boykin, NFL free agent
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.