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Nate Augspurger: Refocus and step up

I knew God was calling me to step up as a leader this year, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like practically for me. I’ve been completely committed to giving myself to my team and improving my personal standards as a competitor. It’s not so much about habits I need to change, but habits and priorities I need to be even that much more invested in. To do that, I need to have a 24/7 mindset with God.

When I commit to having ongoing, personal intimacy with God, He meets me where I am and speaks to me. I’ve always been really in tune with how I’m feeling, how I’m reacting, and what I’m saying, but I want to be able to take a second and be in tune with God enough to ask, “God, how do You need me to move in this space? What do You want to speak to me today?” I need to get back in touch with my faith before each training session and competition — with every new moment in my day.

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As I prayed and sought what it meant for me to step up in leadership, I felt God speak to my heart through one of the verses of the day in my Bible app:

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” — Amos 5:24

The Holy Spirit was showing me through this verse that I’m not the judge. It was as if God was clearly telling me, “You’re not the judge, I’m the Judge. Allow Me to let justice come about as I see fit. All Me to work in your teammates and in the people you love to help them get to where they need to be.” Intolerance isn’t my job; it’s not up to me to be the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives. In order to be who God is calling me to be, I need to be loving and kind. I realized I have been so focused on being the leader on my team, becoming my best self, and helping others become their best self, that I’ve become overbearing and intolerant at times.

“Let righteousness run…” What God is calling me to bring to my teammates and loved ones is commitment and positivity — righteousness. If I walk in righteousness with God and treat others how Christ would treat them, there’s no greater way to lead. Other verses in this chapter talk about seeking good and not evil (verses 14 and 15). This is my aim as I lead.

Amos was a lowly shepherd when he received the call to share the message of God with the Israelite people. His message wasn’t an easy one — Israel was going to fall. Amos, who was unworthy to lead, was given wisdom, courage and a word from God to share. He was able to break down the barrier of being uncomfortable with a really tough message and his own insecurity to see God’s will come to fruition.

I can relate to Amos. When our team lost the Major League Rugby championship game last year, we knew there were things we should have focused on more throughout the year to prepare us for that moment. That’s my job. As a leader, I want to make sure we get that final 5 percent of what we need to be the team we need to be. My profession is built around winning championships, and while I know at the end of any game that God is good, I’m healthy, and I get another opportunity to do what God has called me to do, I want to do it to the best of my ability, while helping others reach their full potential as well.

As I refocus and step up my leadership role on the team this year, I want to be known as a man who is walking with God. I want to search out the good, not the bad, in every situation. God is going to take care of the details and He’s given me the freedom to love and shepherd others toward Him. Knowing God is in complete control of the outcome takes the pressure off of myself.

God’s strength for us is not always pretty, but He’s ready to break down barriers, putting us in challenging and uncomfortable situations at times, before He restores us by his mercy and grace. He is ready to lead us into our purpose, and just like He did at the end of Amos 9, He wants to restore us, bring us into His shelter, and have our roots grow deeper into His soil. I’m not going to let the things of this world, the dynamics of my team, or even my own selfishness detour me from what God is calling me to do. God’s given me a passion and courage to do this, and I’m more committed than ever to do it.

— Nate Augspurger, USA Rugby and San Diego Legion player