7 Fears Athletes Face and 7 Truths God Provides
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Takes 7 Common Fears Competitors Face and Replaces Them with 7 Truths from God’s Word to Focus on Instead
April 13, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Worries, disappointment and fears can consume athletes—especially now. But God’s people are built for more than that. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) reminds: God gives us the strength to hold truth over fear.
FCA acknowledges that many coaches and athletes are facing challenges in today’s sports world, dealing with seasons being cancelled and the disappointment of dashed dreams. The international sports ministry has taken seven common fears competitors face and replaced them with seven truths from God’s Word.
- Fear of Not Being Good Enough
The fear of not being “good enough” follows us around like a pestering cold that won’t leave. We’re assailed with impossible standards, created by our own perceptions, or the rules of others. We want to know that we measure up, fit in, and are accepted and deemed worthy. We set our sights high on success, tumbling down to disappointment if we fall short in what we perceive that success to be.
TRUTH: You are enough. Just as you are. “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”—Psalm 139:14
You are purposefully and wonderfully created by a kind and purposeful God, and what He says is absolute. Understanding our identity in Him who formed all things aligns us with a certainty that we are already worthy in His eyes.
- Fear of Failure
Oftentimes, we let our emotions rule our play. Ideal playing conditions tell us to be loose, peel away our expectations and let all the hours of preparation work with what our bodies know to do and compete. But this is easier said than done. We can compete as if we are weighed down by worry of losing, especially when we seem to be the favorites going into a game or match.
TRUTH: You will not fail because God never fails you. “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”—Deuteronomy 31:6
God sticks with us because He loves us, because we have been identified with Christ through His death and resurrection and now approach our heavenly Father with confidence. He is always faithful and true, and we can rest knowing that however we play, if we play as praise and worship to Him, that’s what matters.
- Fear of the Unknown
We like to know what’s going to happen next. In an ideal world, everything is mapped out for us and every outcome is revealed to us before they happen. Rarely does life announce itself beforehand. You want to know if all the hours of sweat and sacrifice will be worth it, and an unseen worry consumes you.
TRUTH: Trust in the God of the unknown. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”—Hebrews 13:8
He who formed the end from the beginning has everything under control. Nothing is hidden from His sight, and nothing that happens in our day-to-day lives surprises Him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. God sees how it all will unfold, and He is unchanging. We can trust the One who holds the stars to hold our fears.
- Fear of Being Judged
We wonder how we measure up, if all our effort is making a difference, and if those whom we hold in high regard are pleased. We can get caught up in what our coach is thinking as we’re in the middle of the game, distracting us from being 100% in the moment, and tightening us up rather than allowing us freedom to have fun while playing.
TRUTH: God’s approval is the only approval you need. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”—Luke 6:37
The great news is that God already approves! You are the apple of His eye and are hidden in the shadow of His wing. He looks upon you with favor and gives you peace. You are His beloved, you are chosen, and you are set apart. Believe it. Rest in His words.
- Fear of Not Meeting Expectations
We’ve all been there. A coach either expecting too much or too little of us. Parents with unrealistic expectations to live up to an older sibling or their own playing days. And sometimes the weightiest expectations are the ones we put on ourselves. We set goals, and when we don’t reach them, we label ourselves as failures.
TRUTH: Christ has no heavy expectations for you, only care. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”—Jeremiah 29:11
There are things God has for us to do, but there shouldn’t be pressure to it. The way God sees us creates an ease and confidence to go out and give our best, and to not analyze every little aspect about our days. We are free in Him and free to compete for love of the game and glory to God.
- Fear of Success
We want to be successful and do well, but in a corner of our minds, we wonder what we might do if this success goes to our heads. We can get caught up in the spotlight, on our talents, on all the championships we’ve won, and all that may not be good enough. We become too fixed on getting too far.
TRUTH: We are already winners in Christ. “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”—Philippians 4:13
Christ went to the cross to guarantee our victory. He came out on top, scorning death and sin, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. As heirs to God’s kingdom, we have more eternal success than we can ever garner here on Earth. And we can take this mentality to the playing field from a perspective that the biggest game has already been won.
- Fear of Injury or Reinjury
Setback and injury do a number on our psyche. We watch from the sidelines and cheer from the bench, all the while going through the weeks and months of rehab in hopes to get back out there. And when we finally have clearance, we tend to play more gingerly, afraid of reinjuring what we spent so much time and energy on to heal.
TRUTH: God gives us the healing we really need. “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”—Psalm 147:3
Yes, Jesus watches over our bodies, but ultimately, He is after our heart, wanting to cut beneath the physical pain to reach what’s emotionally and spiritually strangling us. He cares about us too much to leave us in our pain, so if something forces us into rest and healing, we can be assured He is also forming us into the image of His Son.
The “Seven Fears Athletes Face” devotional is one of many FCA Bible reading plans available on YouVersion, which allows users to delve into God’s Word anywhere and from almost any device. FCA offers 75 reading plans, including those in Chinese, French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian languages. Since 2013, more than 933,000 people have completed an FCA Bible reading plan and over 1.6 million have subscribed. To find this devotional, download the YouVersion app and search for “Seven Fears Athletes Face.”
YouVersion Bible reading plans are just one way FCA is reaching out to coaches and athletes in the current landscape of not being able to gather together. Earlier this month, FCA introduced FCA Virtual, an online and social media initiative to rally coaches, athletes and staff around the incredible stories of what God is doing through virtual FCA ministry.
“As we look at the new reality of off-site ministry in this interesting time, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes aims to seize the opportunity and build momentum in a new, digital era,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “FCA wants to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. And we want to equip coaches and athletes to make the most of this unprecedented time to get creative in staying connected with their teams. It’s in these days when we need each other the most.”
FCA Virtual is a space to gather ideas about how to engage teams and Huddles in online spiritual growth and to look for ways to serve and connect in this time of limited social interaction. FCA hopes coaches and athletes will be encouraged by what God is doing around the world through the virtual avenue. FCA Virtual will also help coaches, athletes and teams to keep up with evolving ministry and training events in the field, as they unify leaders around a common rallying cry during a time of increased isolation.
Likewise, FCA began hosting the new, live “Huddle Up!” YouTube events each Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET. These global sports gatherings feature nationally known sports standouts who talk about their faith with viewers. Past featured athletes have included Matthew Slater and Matt Hasselbeck from the NFL, women’s hockey player Gigi Marvin and University of Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes. Learn more at YouTube.com/fcavideo.
Read more about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website www.fca.org, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.