THIS DEVOTIONAL IS AN EXCERPT
FROM: FIRST AND GOAL – WHAT FOOTBALL TAUGHT ME ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP
By Jake Byrne
When a player shifts his body horizontally and quickly moves his feet to get the defender off balance so to avoid contact and gain extra yards.
My good friend Brittany slammed her locker shut. Tears brimmed above her bottom lashes. Her dance partner had backed out a couple of weeks before West Side Studio’s city-wide Nutcracker performance.
High school seniors now, we’d been good friend’s since the fifth grade. She’d do anything for me. Though she didn’t ask, her look said, Jake, could you please take his place?
I offered to be her partner if she couldn’t find anyone else, and then I wondered what I’d gotten myself into when no one came forward.
Leaping around on stage with a bunch of people half my size? It would be a comedy, not a ballet. I was sure there was no way a size 15 ballet slippers and tights that would fit me even existed. Turns out they did.
Football always came natural, a sport I excelled at, so I figured my sure-footedness and athletic ability would prove ballet dancing wasn’t out of my league. My competitive nature fueled me, and I strived to be the best. Each day after football practice, I worked hard to make sure my lack of skill didn’t prevent Brittany from shining.
Opening night was Brittany’s game day. Backstage, she stood poised and prepared. My confidence disappeared. What if I forgot my routine? Tripped? Landed like an oak tree on the stage? Butterflies fluttered to their own choreography inside my gut. Brittany had been doing this her entire life, but I was as nervous as a freshman during kickoff at the first game of the season.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastics 3:1-4).
The night of the Nutcracker, my younger brother and sister sat in the audience, probably dying of laughter. I could’ve sworn I heard snickering. I’d already endured a ton of ribbing from teammates and expected a lot more come Monday. Nevertheless, I stepped on stage to perform my small role. To the classical music of Tchaikovsky, Brittany and I danced. With the spotlight on us, my moves were as smooth as my Friday night performances under stadium lights. Holding hands at the final bow, our smiles stretched ear to ear. I didn’t hear one laugh in the audience, only applause and cheers.
Sometimes we’re caught off guard and asked to do something we may not want to do, something outside our comfort zone—a favor, a challenge. We could be mocked or ridiculed. Or maybe we’ll doubt ourselves, but we can’t let fear rule. Sometimes in life, we have to dance.
DEVOTIONAL IS AN EXCERPT FROM: FIRST AND GOAL – WHAT FOOTBALL TAUGHT ME ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP
Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger.
Jake blogs at www.typewon.net.
He can be reached through the following social media:
Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1
Jake’s book can be purchased at most all online booksellers and will be in bookstores soon. Link to purchase Jake’s Book: FIRST AND GOAL – WHAT FOOTBALL TAUGHT ME ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP : http://amzn.to/1FAYKo8
Summary of First and Goal:
Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.
Jake's journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You'll feel as if you're lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you're about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You'll discover...
* what to do when God calls an audible in your life
* how to respond when God puts you on special teams
* why prayer is never an incomplete pass
These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God's dream for you.