I tried everything I could think of to convince as many people as I could to come and hear Coach Swinney speak this past Thursday night. Of course there was a price for the ticket but the money was being raised for a good cause, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). It is very understandable that some did not have it in their budget to buy a ticket or some had other commitments…I get it…but after hearing Coach Swinney once again, it will forever impact me. The people who were in the room have all said the same thing…an impact like a “freight train.” I love it:)
I am very blessed to have heard him share his heart and love for Jesus on several other occasions but last Thursday hit it out of the park. He made so many incredible points about the Christian life and living with your focus on God. He shared how God doesn’t waste anything in your life and He will use it for His glory as we “choose” to live a surrendered life to Christ.
When Coach was 16 years old he attended an FCA event where he had the opportunity to hear a “professional hero” speak. God used that hero to pierce his heart for Christ. It reminded me that I/you should never underestimate the power of my/your “personal testimony” or the “platform” God gives you to speak from.
If you know anything about Coach Swinney, you know he shares that his dad was an alcoholic. Growing up in that environment brought much heartache and adversity which eventually led his mom to move in with him in his dorm while he was a student and athlete at the University of Alabama.
He shared so many points but I absolutely loved how he “LOOKS BACK” over the years of extremely challenging times and sees how God now uses it in his life to encourage the athletes he recruits and coaches. He identifies with many of them but also doesn’t allow them to “use their adversity” as an excuse. Instead, he challenges them to “RISE UP” and “ABOVE” and be better. Coach doesn’t push Jesus on anyone but He doesn’t apologize for his faith nor hide it. He is that “light on a hill” scripture talks about. He lives “OUT LOUD” as well as anyone I have ever met!
I love to read and study about the lives of people, especially those who love Jesus and have had unique success. There are some important commonalities I see. Most have endured some kind of extreme adversity and they don’t use it as an excuse. They use it as a reason to “OVERCOME.” Often times it is the adversity that drives them into the Father’s arms.
They are not man pleasers; they are God pleasers. They give little thought to the opinion of others. They have “ears” for God first and foremost. They willingly admit their need for God and CREDIT HIM for the success they have had. They always look to encourage others.
Most have learned to ignore their personal feelings, which are fleeting, and OBEY, regardless of the circumstances. These are just a few of the common characteristics I see in uniquely successful Christians. I have added Coach Dabo Swinney to the list since he led his team to the National Championship. I loved, loved, loved hearing him reflect on all the “GOD winks” and God’s hand through the whole National Champion Run which started way before January.
There is no doubt that success leaves clues. We can learn from others who God has blessed with a “platform” as public as Coach Swinney’s, but need to recognize that we all have personal testimonies from which others can benefit.
Who knows? You might influence the next Billy Graham or National Championship Coach or president or single mom with five kids who is struggling. I encourage you, the reader, to be that “Light on a Hill.” “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” ~Dwight L. Moody