When I graduated from high school, my dream was to be a sports broadcaster, traveling around the country or world talking about sports. Over the course of a number of years, God slowly changed my heart and my plan and led me to working with children and teaching them about the Bible. It was not how I thought my life would go, but it is better than I ever could have imagined. I was willing to change and God took that willingness and led me to where he wanted me to be. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Lorenzo Alexander has been willing to change in career. Coming up to the draft, he was a 315 pound defensive tackle. Now, he is playing linebacker at 245 pounds. Over the 11 seasons that he has been in the NFL, He has been on roster with a half-dozen teams. Alexander has also earned the nickname “One-Man Gang” for his ability to play many positions. He has seen time on special teams, linebacker, defensive tackle, offensive guard, defensive end, fullback and tight end. The key to his longevity in the league was his willingness play many positions. But the unexpected development is that he is now excelling as a linebacker. As you can see in this Buffalo News article, as of last week, he was leading the NFL in sacks – and if he manages a half sack to night at least, he will continue to share the lead at the midway point of the season. It is a very impressive development for Alexander who the article lists as the “unsung hero of the defense so far has to be Lorenzo Alexander, who’s having a career year at age 33 … Alexander is the oldest player on the team. When the Bills signed him to the veteran minimum in April, he wasn’t even the first player they listed on the press release. He was thought to be a core special teamer who could give the starters a breather on defense. Instead, Alexander has become the NFL’s leader in sacks...”
But a willingness to change on the field is not the only change that has impacted Lorenzo’s life. In 2007, some teammates helped Alexander make a change in his life off the field. In this article from bleacher report, Alexander was deeply impacted by the death of teammate Sean Taylor. He says “So looking at my life, I was probably in a similar type of transition—still trying to grow up a little bit. I wanted to give myself to something bigger—and that was Christ—and become more conservative instead of everything being about me. And I think it helped with my career because I no longer was playing for myself.”
He talks about 3 teammates in particular that really lived out their beliefs and along with the team chaplain, answered any questions he had. From a CBN article, He says “I just saw the way they walked through the room, the way they dealt with their families, the way they dealt with their kids, how they approached work every day. Guys like Randle El, James Thrash, Bernardo Wynn. I mean, these guys, It was just pouring out of them. You can’t miss it. If you know El, Randle El, I mean, he bounces around every day. It could be rain, sleet, snow, or shine, he’s walking with God on his shoulder, in his ear, you know, has that Book (Bible) with him. He’s just happy.”
It is great to see Lorenzo Alexander having this unexpected success with the Bills this season. I hope he continues to have success so he can continue to share his story of change and meeting God.
Here are my takeaways from Alexander’s story:
1- Be Willing to Change – Life rarely goes the way we dream it will. But when we choose to follow God’s plan for our life, things go better than our best dreams. I have experienced this for myself and while I occasionally wonder what life would have been like as a sportscaster, I wouldn’t change my life now for anything. But letting go of our plans and surrendering to God’s lead is always the best path we can take. Are you willing to let God change your life? I promise you it will be for the best!
2- Show your Colors – Alexander credits some teammates with being open about their faith. And when the pain and questioning of losing a teammate came face to face with Lorenzo, he knew where to turn to find answers for the questions that came up. About one teammate in particular, he talks about his bouncing around every day and being happy. If you are a Christian, is this how the world sees you? I find this challenging because I can get dragged down by life when it gets hard, but the truth is God is with me and He is able to handle everything I am going through and more. And the reality is that by believing in Him, I am freed from the ultimate penalty of being apart from him forever. That should bring joy to my life, regardless of my circumstances. I pray that it will be so with me.