Mike Singletary: Searching for the Father
By Andrew Knox
The 700 Club
Perhaps no linebacker in the NFL was more intimidating than No. 50 of the Chicago Bears, Mike Singletary.
The Hall of Famer made nearly 1500 tackles in his 12-year career and helped the Bears win Super Bowl XX.
At that time, many considered the Bears’ defense one of the best in the league. Mike Singletary replies, “We were a cocky group of guys, very brash, proud, and all of those things that in football are good but in life are not so good.”
Mike ranks among the 100 best pro football players of all time. With his stats and reputation, he says sometimes it was hard to be humble.
“You may say, ‘Oh, that was no big deal. That was the other guy. That was the other person.’ But deep down you’re thinking, ‘It was really me. I was a big part in that deal.’ But I think the Lord has really dealt with me in the past two or three years…”
Mike says at the height of his career it was difficult to stay close to God, even when he thought he was a faithful Christian.
“What I was, to be more honest and more direct, was a hypocrite. That’s really what I was. I thought I was a believer. I thought I was walking with the Lord. I thought I had a personal relationship with the Lord. But there was so much inconsistency.”
He traces some of that inconsistency to his parent’s divorce when he was 12. In his new book, Singletary One-On-One, he explains how he came out of a long emotional slump when he took his burdens to his Heavenly Father.
“When you look at it that way you begin to understand. No, my earthly father was not there, but I have been adopted by a Heavenly Father who sees my needs and understands them so much more than any other man could possibly do.”
But fame and life as a pro athlete made it a challenge for Mike to fully commit his life to God.
“As I began to look at myself down the road, the Lord met me where I was and changed my life. That allowed me to call out to Him in a very honest and desperate way, because I saw where I was going. I was going nowhere fast.”
Today Mike is a devoted husband and father to seven children.
“When I’m raising my own kids, when I’m talking to my sons and daughters, the one thing I always tell them is, ‘I want you to have a personal relationship with the Lord, because I’m going to make some mistakes. You have to understand that there’s human error in Dad. I’m going to make some mistakes, but I want you to know that God will never make a mistake in terms of what He’s doing in your life. You need to trust him.’”
After 10 years off the field, Mike returned to professional football, now as Assistant Head Coach for the 49ers. But he’s quick to tell you his main goal these days aren’t just victories.
“The biggest responsibility I have as a coach is not to win games, but to change lives. There are players who have come to me, and said, ‘Coach, can I talk to you? There’s just something. I’d like to talk to you about being a godly man. I’d like to talk to you about living a godly life or being a godly husband. How did you do that?’ And we sit down and we talk.”
Mike says instead of preaching to people, he tries to live a life that illustrates the freedom he found in Jesus Christ.
“To me, being a Christian frees me. It frees me from the cares of the world. It frees me from wondering what someone else thinks about me. It frees me from expectations. It frees me from guilt and fear. It frees me to be all that God has called me to be without limitations.”
As he looks back over an amazing Hall of Fame career that spanned more than a decade and took him to the Super Bowl, Mike Singletary also remembers the early steps in his journey to find Christ.
“I can dare to say, ‘Lord, I’m walking with you. I don’t know what it’s going to cost me. I don’t know how much it’s going to cost me. All I know is that I’m going to be with you. I’m going to walk with you.’ For me that makes a big difference.”
Mike Singletary One on One (Regal, 2005)
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