St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has shared the powerful advice bestselling author and pastor Francis Chan once gave him about finding God's will for his life.
During a recent interview with Matthew Faraci, host of the Dove Channel's original series "Frankly Faraci," the Christian athlete advised young viewers to "always keep your eyes open for what God is calling you to do."
"I'm never going to presume to know what [God] is thinking, but I think He's got me on the track where I'm supposed to be," he said.
Wainwright revealed he once asked Chan, author of "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God," "How am I supposed to know what God wants to do next?"
The 36-year-old said Chan simply told him, "Just keep asking Him."
While he's a successful athlete, Wainwright, who has four daughters with his wife, Jenny, told Faraci his purpose in playing ball is not to earn praise, but to glorify Jesus Christ. In fact, he said his faith helps him pitch in high-pressure situations.
"What it does is it calms me, and I can speak on this because I've pitched as a skeptic, almost non-believer, and I've pitched as a full-blown, sold-out for Christ believer," he said of his faith. "I can tell you I have a lot more peace and a lot more calmness under big-pressure positions now than I did before."
"It gives me a sense of strength that I didn't have before," he added. "Now I feel like, I'm not pitching with just my strength, I'm pitching with His strength."
A Georgia native, Wainwright grew up in a single-parent Christian home with his mother and brother.
"For me, it was mom, it was myself, and it was my brother, Trey, who was seven years older than me and sort of like a father-figure for me," he revealed.
While he attended Sunday school, church, and Vacation Bible School as a child, the athlete didn't embrace Christianity until 2002 after being persuaded by friends to attend a Professional Athletes Outreach event. Being among Christians and hearing the gospel in an athletic setting, Wainwright came to know the Lord, and instantly, his focus was shifted from baseball to Christ.
His faith also motivates his numerous charitable endeavours, including Big League Impact Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives, restore dignity and instill hope in our local communities and around the globe.
"I'm convinced that God has given me this ability to play baseball strictly to increase my platform to be able to do the second part of my life," he shared.
"What it set me up for more than all of that [was] for me to impact the Kingdom and impact more people's lives than I would have been had I not been granted this ability," he added, quoting Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
Wainwright reassured viewers that while it seems the sports industry is lacking in positive role models, there are a number of athletes who strive to honor God with their careers.
"I don't intentionally get up in the morning saying, 'I'm going to be a good role model,'" he said. "I get up saying, 'I'm going to serve the Lord,' and hopefully by doing that, I am a good role model. I would like to think that there's still a lot of good role models out there...what's easy to point to, and what the media usually captures, is the negative stuff."
"I would be great if more lights were shined on the good," he continued. "But, if not, we'll still be the city on the hill shining for others to see."
"Frankly Faraci," which gives viewers a "behind-the-scenes look at high-profile figures in entertainment," features interviews with celebrities who candidly discuss their faith, family, and motivations.
Other season two guests include: Harry Connick Jr., Candace Cameron Bure, Cedric the Entertainer, Corbin Bernsen, and Atticus Shaffer of ABC's series "The Middle."