For some professional athletes, their journey is predictable. They have a great high school career, receive a full scholarship and get drafted out of college. But for others, like Jeremy Sieverts, their journey is anything but predictable. Sieverts was a lacrosse high school state champion. He went on to play at Butler University, which would later cancel its lacrosse program. Sieverts then transferred to the University of Maryland. In 2012, he was named MLL All Star, MLL Most Improved Player and made the US Men’s National Team. Risen sat down with Sieverts four years ago and talked with him about how his faith helped him to navigate the transition from school to playing professionally and how Fellowship of Christian Athletes has impacted his life.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26
Sieverts shares how mentors and prayer helped him to go through the transition time of schools and working towards playing lacrosse professionally.
“A combination of all. Obviously a lot of times I think you’re not really sure what the next step is but I learned, especially recently, that the Lord doesn’t give us the whole picture. He gives us one step at a time. And when that door opens, you walk through that door, and if it’s not the right thing you turn and walk away from it. I continue to learn daily and those were a lot of lessons I especially learned going through transferring from Butler to Maryland, and then after college.”
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Sieverts reflects on how he got involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a middle school student and how he continues to coach others.
“Right now the nature of professional lacrosse is that we don’t get to see each other that often. We see each other on the weekends, for a few practices, and then on game day so it really doesn’t lend itself for a time of fellowship. Some guys do [get together] if they live in the same areas, but I travel by myself most of the time. There are definitely other Christian guys that I interact with, and I coach FCA [Fellowship of Christian Athletes] teams during the summer. Those are great guys to talk to and some serve as mentors and friends…I’ve been involved with FCA since middle school. Starting as a camper, then in high school I started coaching and continued throughout college. At some point or another during the summer, I found myself coaching an FCA team. From Florida to Vail, and Toronto, it’s been a huge blessing to travel with them so much and do something that I love.”
Coach or mentor someone. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to be a coach or mentor someone. You also don’t have to “have everything together.” Each of us is in process and God wants to use us to impact the lives of others. It can be someone else on a sports team, a co-worker at work, or someone at church. The possibilities are endless. Ask God to show you if there is someone in your life that He would like you to mentor. Pray for God to reveal what stories or things that he wants you to share with the person. It might mean doing a class at church together,
Turn to God during your trials. Whether it is something not going as you expected, a financial hardship or health concern, turn to God and allow him to guide you through the difficult time. Pray and cry out to him. God has also given us mentors and friends to help us through difficult times. Don’t be afraid to reach out and share what is going on with your small group, pastor and close friends. They can pray with you and might even be able to offer some perspective and wisdom on what you are going through.
Play wholeheartedly. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete, student, career professional or retiree, God wants each of us to live each day wholeheartedly for him. We do this by spending time in his word and praying and asking God for direction. It is easy to get caught in drudgery of life and just go through the motions or try to rush just to get to the next thing. Instead, ask God to give you his vision for the situation. He might have you at a job, team or situation because he wants you to share your faith with someone or be a light to those around you.
To read our entire interview with Jeremy Sieverts, click here.