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

As athletes, we struggle with staying and playing in the present. We get caught up in the “what ifs”, the results, and the things we cannot control. This is why coaches preach the “trust the process” and “one game at a time” mentality so often. They know that when we are caught up in the future it poorly affects our play. So how do we stay in the present? We play with thankfulness.

Thankfulness forces us to be present because our thoughts are set 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 I would have a bad game because I was worried about what could happen if I played badly. Once I began to approach each of my games with thankfulness, I began to enjoy the opportunity to play the game.

Playing with thankfulness doesn’t mean the end results will automatically turn out the way you want them to. But it does fill you with joy, humility, and trust in God, which we know, frees us from fear. The reality is you can’t be thankful about the future, only hopeful. So instead of focusing on the end of the road, be thankful for the ground beneath your feet and the ability to walk (and 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.