Ryan Fitzpatrick: What to do when nobody believes in you

By Miles McPherson.

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the NFL with 11 interceptions on the season before the end of an embarrassing 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week six.

Fitzpatrick has struggled this year. His play had been disappointing by any standard, but especially in light of the fully guaranteed, $12 million dollar, 1-year contract he signed late in the offseason. When the team gave it to him, they expected the hero that lead them to a 10-6 record in 2015—not the league leader in interceptions thrown.

That’s why nobody was surprised when Head Coach Todd Bowles, in need of a spark on offense, sent the 33 year-old vet to the bench in favor of Geno Smith at the end of the game against Arizona. Smith couldn’t deliver the spark though, completing four of six attempts in his only drive, which ended with an interception by Tyrann Mathieu.

But then, to the surprise of many, Bowles decided to give Smith the starting job against the Baltimore Ravens in week seven. Deflated, Fitzpatrick watched Geno Smith lead the Jets offense, starting the game four for eight for 95 yards and a touchdown. Then Smith tore his ACL after taking a sack, ending his season.

So less than a full game after losing his starting role, Fitzpatrick was back in the huddle, running the Jets’ offense. This time he had something to prove.

And prove he did. The Jets came from behind to get their second win of the season against the Ravens by a score of 24-16. Then the following week, Fitzpatrick lead them to a come-from-behind win against the Cleveland Browns—a game where they trailed 20-7 at halftime.

Talking about the feeling that people had given up on him, Fitzpatrick said, “There’s strong emotion there for me especially, not knowing if that was the last time I was going to be out there as a starter or not. You start to think about some of that stuff.”

He also put Owner Woody Johnson, Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles, and General Manager Mike Maccagnan on blast, saying “The biggest thing in this game in order to last is to have belief in yourself… because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.”

God has faith in you even when nobody else does…

It’s devastating when people stop believing in you, especially when that lack of faith is rooted in your bad performance. I know Fitzpatrick is hard on himself when he isn’t playing as well as he’s capable of, so it’s extra hard when his leadership communicates that they don’t think he can do better.

But having faith in yourself isn’t the answer. We’re all imperfect and flawed, and therefore prone to self-doubt. Because we know our abilities and limitations, even we can’t fully believe in ourselves.

Fortunately, we don’t have to be judged according to our performance like professional athletes. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we have been saved by grace through faith—a free gift from God—“not of works, lest anyone should boast.” So, since we are free from the burden of performance, and are instead covered by God’s gift of grace, we can be assured that God’s belief in us will never fade. For God, who is love, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

God has faith in you even when nobody else does and, if you decide to put your faith in Him, He will never disappoint you. He is the only one who will always live up to expectations, and He will always believe in you. That’s a win-win.

If you want to know more about God’s faith in you, watch this short video.

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