A storm, no matter how severe, has never outlast a person with strong faith and strong will. “Storms”, the adversity that life presents to us as it pleases, are always temporary. And despite how bad things may seem, how much damage it looks like we’ve taken, how much trauma we go through, one thing is for certain in this life: eventually the storm will pass.
I often have to remind myself that to this day, I have survived 100% of my bad days — 100 % of every storm I have encountered in life.
- When I was passed on scholarships in high school, even though I felt like I was the best player on the field every time.
- When I finally fought my way onto the Rutgers football team as a walk-on only to have a coach tell me that I would never amount to anything on my first day of practice.
- When I was promised to be picked up by team after team in the 2003 NFL Draft never to hear my name called.
- When I finally fought my way onto the roster of the Indianapolis Colts, only to receive the first call about my father passing.
- Then my mother. And finally my brother. In a 16 month span between my first and second years in the league.
- When my career came to a screeching halt the first game of the season in 2011, just as I felt like I was coming into my prime.
I’ve weathered storm after storm in my life. And in this moment, as I make one of the hardest decisions of my life in closing the Stacked Pickle, I realize that while this moment may seem overwhelming, it is only a temporary circumstance. Another chapter in the book of my life. Another storm to weather in this season of my life.
I know that I will get through this storm, just like I have weathered storms of the past. And I know I will emerge even stronger than before. My faith guides me through the storm and gives me peace.
When we’re in the midst of the storm, we tend to tap into the negative emotions and our language begins to match.
“This is it. This is the one that I won’t make it through. There’s no way I survive this.”
We begin to focus on the ridicule. The pain. The disappointment. The backlash. The laughter. The self doubt. The mix of negative emotion begins to paralyze us.
But what I’ve realized is that the worst thing we can do in the storm is stop! When we stop, we concede to circumstance instead of faith.
The book of Matthew 8:23-37 tells the story of Jesus and the apostles on the lake. As Jesus slept, a storm cam and the apostles were shaken by the torrential downpour. It reads:
“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?
When the apostles saw the storm, they paralyzed themselves with fear, completely forgetting that their Lord was always with them, even while he lay silent. This story crystalizes the principle of faith in adversity.
Even when the storms of life rage, my faith gives me the assurance I need to keep pushing onward without fear.
The biggest thing I’ve realized about my most difficult situations in life is that I am never given a battle I cannot handle. If anything, the worst storms bring out the best in me.
Adversity pushes me toward transformation. And this storm is no different. And because I’ve seen what the power of braving through the storm can do for me, I will push forward in the same way as I have in the past.
Because one thing I know for certain is that in a storm, the only way out is THROUGH it.
I know I’m not alone and know a lot of others are seeing the swirling winds of uncertainty. For others, the storm has passed and the rebuilding process has begun. In either case, there are 5 principles we must hold onto in order to push through circumstance:
1. Don’t Focus Solely On Problems But Begin To Focus On The Promise.
In moments of adversity, we tend to focus so much on our worldy problems that we lose sight of what truly matters: our FAITH. Hebrews 13:5 reads:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Our creator makes a promise to us throughout the bible. And the story of the storm on the lake only solidifies the fact that God will never leave or forsake us if we keep our trust in him. Nowhere in the bible does it say he will help us avoid the storm. But he tells us over and over again that he will be there every step of the way.
2. A Faith That Can Not Be Tested Is A Faith That Cannot Be Trusted.
That line is worth repeating: a faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Storms are stories — chapters in the book of our lives. And like every story, every storm has a beginning, middle and an end.
I’m a sucker for a good hero story. And in every hero story, the protagonist usually starts one way, finds a goal or purpose, goes through a storm of adversity, and has to make a decision to evolve in order to push through that storm. Every single hero has to tap into his//her grit – the determination to see a vision through- in order to get to that next level. The battles we face in life many times are internal.
To get through the storms of life, we have to look within to become the person that we must embrace to weather the storm. When we embrace adversity and allow those circumstances to change us for the better, we reveal inner strengths inside ourselves we did not even know we possessed.
So my message is in the midst of the storm don’t miss the essence of the journey: the transformation that leaves us better as people.
3. No One Is Exempt From Hitting A Wall!
The bible constantly speaks of how the Lord will test our faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 reads:
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
He tells us that our faith will be tested. Every single one of us. So when we look at our storms, our adversities, realize that we all go through our own individual trials and tribulations. It is a test of faith.
At times, we will be discouraged. At times we will feel pain. At times we will question our purpose. In those times, we must lean on our faith more than anything. No one is exempt from his test, but we must push forward knowing that he never gives us a test we cannot handle.
4. Keep Going!
This is easier said than done right? It’s easy to say that when we are living in comfort and hard to do when we’re in the middle of the storm, but stopping will only kill the momentum that got us to this point.
Regardless of our circumstances, we have to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter if we have to do so with less friends, less money or anything else. We have to keep pushing forward. We get caught in storms when we remain stagnant. But we push through storms with momentum.
Resilience is the single most important quality of champions. The ability to push past adversity is the single unifying quality that ties the successful — not race, money, or any other arbitrary quality. The simple ability to get back up when we fall is what creates greatness.
So whatever happens, we must remember to KEEP GOING!
5. Focus On The New!
The secret to change is to focus all of our energy not on the old but on building the new. When we live in faith, we understand that God is only taking us through the storm to help us create a new and more meaningful life for ourselves. Focusing on our old ways or even our current circumstances can cripple momentum simply because we are not focused on creating growth.
In Chinese, the word “crisis” has a dual meaning: on one hand, it means danger and on the other, it is “opportunity to grow”. And that is exactly what a storm is: and opportunity for us to EVOLVE.
Affirmations are important to me. They are a reminder of my faith and confidence. When it comes to braving the storm, I have a few that I use to give me the confidence I need to push forward, so I’m sharing them.
Affirmation: I Decide
Today, I decide I will be fearless.
Today, I make the decision that it’s not over until I am victorious!
Today, I decide I will not be denied.
Today, I decide that this setback is an opportunity for my greatest comeback.
Today, I decide that I am unstoppable.
Today, I decide that I am willing to pay the price for growth.
Today I decide that I will not quit.
Today, I decide that my goal is worth the struggle.
Today, I decide that my faith is stronger than my fear.
Today, I decide.
Remember: the storm of life is only temporary. We are all one decision away from changing our position. We just have to decide which side of the storm we want to be on.
And I have faith we will all make it through our storms.
Your Championship Coach.