Ever since the first grade, football was a big part of my life. When I was eleven, I was a Punt, Pass & Kick champion. I was a kicker, punter and wide receiver in high school, but I chose to specialize in kicking. Louisiana Tech signed me to a full scholarship, and I went on to kick all four years at Louisiana Tech, where I received many honors.
The dream of my life was to become a professional football player. That dream came true on April 23, 1990, when I was drafted by the New York Giants. I was the only kicker chosen in the entire 1990 draft. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl my rookie year.
My dream of being able to play professional football came true, but it did not bring the inner fulfillment and peace of mind I was seeking. The world told me that I would find satisfaction and fulfillment through my success on the field, and that money, fame and material possessions would fill the sense of incompleteness and lack of peace I felt. But I found that neither a Super Bowl ring, nor a championship, team could satisfy me and fill the void in my life. Later that same year, I left the Giants to play for the Cleveland Browns and continued my search for fulfillment.
The Pursuit of Fulfillment
I found the answer! I was at a Christian conference for professional athletes, and the speaker was talking about Mark 8:35&36. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
I had always gone to church, so I knew about Jesus Christ. However, He wasn't in control of my life - I was. God was someone who I would go to at my own convenience - whenever I needed something. I was an "open/closed door policy". I would open the door when I needed God for something, (like making a field goal or scoring high on a test) and close the door when I didn't need Him or didn't want Him to see what I was doing (especially if I was doing something bad). I wanted to let my old self go and allow Jesus Christ to come into my life and take control.
The Discovery of Fulfillment
My life began to take on many new changes when I placed Christ in control. What I had sought through athletic accomplishments, I now found in a growing relationship with Christ.
Having achieved the peace of mind I was looking for, I no longer had to please everybody else, or be what everybody else wanted me to be. It was easy to follow the crowd, but growing as a Christian gave me the courage to stand where I want to be, even when it is different from others.
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