16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Anyone else struggle with staying and playing in the present? We have a tendency to get caught up in the “what ifs,” the results, and the many things we cannot control. This is why coaches preach the “trust the process” and “one [play, pitch, game] at a time” mentality so often. When we are caught up in the future, or even in the past, we cannot focus on the task at hand, and our play is poorly affected. The same goes for life in general. For example, it’s hard to be present with your friend when you are too concerned about the news on your phone. The heavenly remedy Paul offers us to this problem is thankfulness. 

Thankfulness forces us to be present as it sets our hearts and minds on what’s right in front of us and not what isn’t. When we are too busy being grateful for the present, we have no time to worry about the future. Too often, we get stuck on the past, consumed with what’s coming next, or even compare our situation with another’s. The truth is, the Christian life is a life meant to be lived in the present, being thankful for what God has given us. We can receive every game, practice, rep, and the present moment with thankfulness because our past and future are set in Christ Jesus.

Playing with thankfulness isn’t an easy discipline to practice. There will be moments when the ball doesn’t bounce your way and life feels unwinnable. Nevertheless, because of Jesus, we can encounter all circumstances and outcomes with thankfulness. For, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). So, instead of focusing on the end of the road or the road behind you, be thankful for the ground beneath your feet and the ability to play.

  • Reflect on all that God has given you, particularly through your sport.
  • Thank God for the ability and opportunity He has given you.
  • Ask Him to fill you with gratitude and free you from worry and fear.

Pre-Game Playlist: