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Read the runner-up essay from our Fall 2022 Reflection Scholarship!

USG member, Taylor Jackson, was the runner-up for USG's 2022 Fall Reflection Scholarship. We are proud to feature Taylor's scholarship essay below:

 

Runner-up Fall 2022 Essay

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33; ESV). This verse is one that has been bouncing around in my head a lot lately. It’s one that has a lot of implications when we have certain desires… when we want certain things to “be added to [us].” But that would be missing the whole point of the verse, right? The point is not that we will get the things we need or want, but rather that we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.


Trusting the Lord and walking in servant-hood are the two main ideas from Chelsea’s story that resonated with me. Chelsea spoke of being offered the Director of Basketball Operations position and not feeling ready or qualified. Yet, she speaks of trusting God in that moment and notes, “[God] wouldn’t put you here if [He] couldn’t keep you here.”


Now, in hindsight, we can see how God provided through an environment at Liberty University that allowed Chelsea to learn, mess up, and grow. She mentions the action of “looking for what people need,” which encapsulates her servant-like attitude and her approach to the work she does. Chelsea has continued to thrive in that role, I believe, due to seeking first the kingdom of God.


I started my career in baseball through strength & conditioning internships and then volunteer coaching opportunities. Similar to Chelsea, I had coaches along the way who invested in me and provided opportunities for me to try, fail, learn, and grow. I truly believe the Lord has guided my path and brought amazing people into my life, who were willing to give me a chance. These experiences culminated in me getting the opportunity to be a Minor League Video & Tech intern with the Boston Red Sox for the 2022 season.


After completing this internship, the Red Sox offered me a Minor League Coach role for the 2023 season. This is where Chelsea’s moment of not feeling qualified or ready for the door God opened for her resonates with me. I don’t know what this upcoming season will entail and sometimes when I overthink about it, I have moments of saying to myself, “Who am I that they would trust me in this role?” But, bigger than myself and bigger than the Red Sox, is God. He has already written the story. I don’t know where it leads, but I will do my best to trust Him one step at a time.


As Chelsea speaks about in the podcast, we are here for eternity. Practically, this looks like doing good work, valuing everyone, and giving everyone the best experience possible. This was my main takeaway from Chelsea and Noah’s talk. Working in sports is difficult. It is not a normal job and comes with many challenges. But, keeping in mind our ultimate purpose of glorifying God—spreading His light and the good news of Jesus—will better prepare me to navigate the demands of the job.


My first year in professional baseball was hard. Our schedule made it nearly impossible to become rooted in church community, which is something I struggled tremendously with. This is an area I am trusting the Lord to equip me for next season, as I believe He has opened the door and will provide, “[keeping] me for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1; ESV).


I’ll finish this essay with a quote I read today from Andrew Peterson, as I believe it is a good picture of trusting God and His goodness. Peterson says, “Set fire to your expectations, your rights, and even your dreams. When all that is gone, it will be clear that the only thing you ever really had was this wild and Holy Spirit that whirls about inside you, urging you to follow where his wind blows… it will lead you to a good land. It will remind you that righteousness means more than pious obedience; it means letting a strong, humble mercy mark your path, even when—especially when—you don’t know where it’s taking you” (Adorning the Dark, p.3).


- Taylor Jackson, Assistant Coach with the Greenville Drive

 

Thank you, Taylor, for participating in last year's Fall Reflection Scholarship! We are also thankful to our sponsor, Texon Athletic Towel, for making this scholarship opportunity possible for all thirteen of our winners!

If you are interested in taking part in USG's Reflection Scholarship program, be sure to apply right now for our Spring 2023 Reflection Scholarship. We will be accepting applications until April 29th!

Our team looks forward to hearing more encouraging and uplifting stories from the next round of our scholarship program.

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