Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Matt Hasselbeck - Shift of Focus

Sometimes I feel like spiritually I’m failing at everything. I’m starting a book right now by a friend of mine, Paul Friesen, and the title is, “Loving Your Wife Like Christ When You Ain’t No Jesus.” It’s hope for ordinary men. To think that because I can throw a really good spiral and can do the quarterback thing, I can then have a better handle on how to be a great husband or father without the Biblical game plan for parenting or marriage, is wrong. That’s a struggle all the time.

As our kids grow up in the house, the stress isn’t always mother/daughter or father/son stress, it can be husband/wife stress. How are we going to handle this? Are you going to let her do this or not do this? How I view a matter and how my wife views it can be very different. I constantly feel like, and know, that I can do a better job in this area.

The other thing in that regard is that for 18 years in the NFL, I was never home. Now, I’m home all the time. I enjoy it! But I have to realize that for 18 years, my wife ran the house one way and she does a great job. Now that it’s like I’m on summer break all the time, I find myself asking questions like, “Hey, why are you doing this?” or “Where are you going now?” And I’ve realized that I need to respect her way of running our house while also plugging into this new territory on a full-time basis.

We all have areas of life and spiritual growth that we have to work on. You’re not alone. I remember being an athlete and dealing with a lot of stress and pressure. When a tough time came along, it was helpful when someone gave you a Bible verse to cling to. Maybe that’s a cool background for your phone with a Bible verse that can remind you of truth. Find ways to plug into the Bible and understand that tough times are going to come. But if you have that foundation, rooted in Christ’s truth, that’s going to be key.

Growing up, I was always pretty good at being plugged in. But when an opportunity came for me to share my faith, I struggled. So if I had the chance to share my faith with someone else, what did I do? I introduced them to the team chaplain or someone who I thought was more holy and seasoned in their faith. It wasn’t until later on that I realized that’s not how it works. Your call is always be ready to give an answer for the hope you have, doing it with gentleness and respect. Always be ready!

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” — 1 Peter 3:15

As a quarterback, there’s a difference between knowing the offense and how to run it and then knowing it so well that when a rookie quarterback comes in, you can not only run the plays but explain it all and coach him to know it as you do.

That’s the kind of Christian I want to be as well. As my focus shifted to be this kind of a Christ-follower, and I took it upon myself to know God and own my faith in Him, it really helped me in every single way of life. No matter what happened in my sports world, home life or spiritual walk, it wasn’t about me being in first place, but about God being in first place. Everything else fell into place after that.

Matt Hasselbeck, ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback

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 for more stories and videos.