This past weekend in the NFL, players were permitted to wear specialized cleats drawing attention to a cause or charity of their choice. It was great to see some of the charities and foundations that the NFL players are involved with and a nice step by the NFL to relax its strict uniform policy if even for just one week. I wonder if Brandon Marshall had anything to do with this. You see it was 3 years ago that Brandon Marshall, then with the Chicago Bears, wore bright green cleats with his uniform. The result was a $10,500 fine. Marshall matched that fine with a donation to charities working with Mental Health Issues. This is a cause near and dear to Marshall as in 2011 he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Psycom.net sums up the symptoms as : Intense mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and extreme reactions can make it difficult for people with borderline personality disorder to complete schooling, maintain stable jobs and have long-lasting, healthy relationships.
That seems to fit what Marshall himself said was going on in his life when he sought treatment at McLean Hospital in Belmont Massachusetts. Check out the video of his story from The Increase.
Marshall had identified as a Christian for several years, but as he shares in the video, on a flight, a stranger asked if he was a Christian. This started a journey as he began to pray for clarity in his life. In reality, his life was not going great. His marriage was in danger, Marshall was bitter about his wife reaching out for help, thinking he was giving her all she needed. Eventually he went to McLean Hospital trying to figure out what was going on in his life. In this process that he really sensed God at work, through the help he was seeking. He continued asking God for clarity, and in the midst of this time at McLean’s he sensed God at work. When he returned, his wife was going to tell him that she was not going to come back to him, but in their initial conversation, she saw the change in Marshall.
It is a great story of lived changed and marriage redeemed. And through this journey, Marshall also saw his mother, father, sister and brother come to faith in Christ. As you can see in this video, his journey is also impacting people he doesn’t know because of the platform of football and his openness to share what is going on in his life. Meet Megan Armstrong.
Here are my takeaways from Marshall’s story:
1- Finding the Cure – Marshall shares how over and over he would get frustrated that he was unable to deal with the issues that were causing his troubles off the field. He knew that something is off, but didn’t know how to fix it. He got the help that he needed and is beating this issue in his life. Brandon said “We didn’t understand the root of it. The missing piece is Jesus at the center of our life.” This is the story that we are all living. We all battle a disease – the disease of sin. And there is a cure out there- as Brandon said, what was missing for him – the cure that he was looking for – was Jesus at the center of his life. The truth is that He is the cure for the disease of sin that we battle. Jesus died to make a way for our sin to be beaten and our life to have purpose. Do you accept that you need Him to cure your sinfulness? Do you accept your purpose of telling others all the He has done in your life. This can be life changing for you and those around you. Jesus is the Cure!
2- Don’t Shy Away – Because our lives are our story, there are countless ways that what happens in our lives can teach us lessons – lessons about who God is, what life is about and what our purpose is. But like Brandon, we need to be open, willing to make ourselves vulnerable, to truly see the depth of how God has worked in our story and to effective in helping others. The more we try to hide the more limit the connection we have with others who may be struggling through the same issues. God is good and his plan is perfect. He has given us our stories and worked to free us from so many issues and problems. Let’s be honest with those problems and issues and let’s allow our story, bumps, warts and all to be used by Him to draw us closer to Him and share our story with others.