Change can be terrifying.
Running back, Matt Forte, is going through a major change in his life right now. After 10 seasons in the NFL, Forte will be hanging up his cleats. Forte played college football at Tulane, was drafted by the Bears in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft, and then finished his career with the Jets. He retires with 9,796 rushing yards, 75 touchdowns, and two Pro Bowl appearances.
In addition to having had an impressive NFL career, Forte has an impressive faith. He has been vocal about his faith throughout his career, even announcing his retirement through Sports Spectrum. Here are a few of the gracious words he had to share (though I also recommend checking out his entire statement);
For the past 10 years, I’ve been blessed to play professionally a game that I’ve loved since I was 6 years old. But, after much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided to retire from the NFL. Like so many others before me, this game has enhanced my life in numerous ways. My career in the League has been nothing short of a miracle granted by God and put on display for His glory. I will cherish the many memories made on the field and the lifelong friends I’ve made over the years in the locker room… The past 25 years playing America’s game have left me with unparalleled joy. But, it’s time for the workhorse to finally rest in his stable. While my heart is a bit heavy as I close this chapter of my life, I am excited about what the future holds. God Bless and Bear Down!
In times of anxiety and change, Forte has learned to look to God for strength. He explains to The Increase; “It’s easy to become anxious, but the Bible warns against letting worry overtake our lives. In fact, anytime we allow worry to seep into our lives, it means we’re not trusting God. We may be trusting Him, but only to the point where we feel like we’re still in control. When we begin to realize we’re not in control, anxiety rears its ugly head. I know that is when I need to lean on God and trust Him the most.”
A verse that is near to Forte’s heart is James 1:2-4; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Forte points out that the Bible “doesn’t say if you face trials, but when. We’re promised trials, and if you aren’t prepared for the trials that will come, you’ll find yourself overcome with anxiety. But since you know hardships are going to come, you can prepare your heart and mind to trust in the Lord’s sovereignty. It’s one thing to say you’re not going to worry, it’s another thing to apply it to your life. For me, the more I stay conscious of my anxiety, the more I’m able to surrender it to God and trust in Him. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I tell myself to slow down, I go to a quiet place, and I pray. During these moments I need to realize there’s a bigger picture than what’s going on in my life this week or even this month. God calls us to take it one step at a time, without worrying about the future.
As we face changes in our own lives, we, too, can rest on God’s promises. He promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him, to listen every time we call to Him, and to help us in every time of danger. We never need to be afraid or feel alone. As Psalm 46:1 reminds us; God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!