Post image for Anne Schleper, Team USA Women’s Hockey

Anne Schleper, Team USA Women’s Hockey

by carmine on April 28, 2014

Spotlight Athlete Archive

UA: When did you start walking with the Lord, and what has your walk been like?

52fecca12e7f2.preview-620I always had knowledge of the Lord growing up in a Christian home, but I certainly did not have a relationship with Him. My game-changing moment happened in 2010 after my sophomore year in college while at Athlete’s in Action Ultimate Training Camp in Colorado. It wasn’t until this camp, directed to teach athletes how to glorify God through sport, that I realized what a walk with the Lord meant and looked like. My life hasn’t been the same since!

UA: What does it mean to you to glorify the Lord both on and off the field?

1 Corinthians 10:31 immediately comes to mind, it says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We aren’t called to pick and choose areas of our life that we want to give God glory in. He says give it ALL to Him, in ALL that you do. Ultimately, we were made for HIM, not our own glory or own pleasure, so therefore a walk with Him on the playing field is just as important off the playing field.

UA: How do you go about talking to teammates and opponents about your faith and what it means to you? 

_5vm_ntfMyself and another teammate hold bible studies for our team when we are together for tryout camps and tournaments. It’s awesome to see how God continues to work on Team USA year after year and to see the interest grow. Besides bible studies, majority of conversations with teammates/opponents end up being faith conversations because I simply cannot hide the love that God has given and shown me in my life; and therefore want to show others around me that He has the same love for them! No matter what topic you are on, God is in it. I constantly am trying to be light in the way I live my life, as this almost always says more than any Godly advice that would come from my mouth.

UA: What is your favorite verse, and how does it help you live each day?

I have many favorites; I love how different verses speak to you in different ways at different seasons of your life. One that has stuck with me being an athlete and that has also helped me in daily life is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” This verse first spoke to me a number of years ago with an injury that kept me out of competition with Team USA but continues to speak to me today. It’s easy in society these days to have a workaholic mentality accompanied with a go-go-go schedule. This verse reminds me to slow down and allow my heart to be filled up by God each and every day first before I go and let myself to be filled up with things of this world. Letting Him be God and knowing that He is God gives me an indescribable sense of peace as we all too often exhaust ourselves trying to control what God has already figured out.

UA: Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” How can you take that verse into your athletic career?

Anne SchleperI don’t want ANYONE to miss out on the awesome joys that a walk with Christ has and the certainty for salvation that waits through Him. I feel God has given us all a “mission field” in life to showcase the Gospel and bring Him glory, often times this mission field is our team that we have been placed on. Many of us have been blessed with the ability and talent to play a certain sport and this wasn’t by mistake – we are called to use this opportunity to share the power of our God! Living unashamed has no fear attached – God has our back and the Spirit will speak for us when displaying the Gospel is at the forefront of our minds both on and off the playing field.

UA: How important is it to have teammates that you can fellowship with throughout the season?

0305OLYMPICS copyIt is very important to have teammates to fellowship with, even if it’s just one. You spend a lot of time with your team and this teammate will be able to hold you accountable, encourage you on the days when it’s harder to be unashamed, pray with you for others on your team to come to know Christ, and all of this vise versa. However, I know this isn’t always the case; you may be alone, but you do still have the greatest power source with you and that’s God. Pray for a mentor or accountability partner in your life who you trust to help you through the season or to help you find ways to reach out to your teammates and to report back. There is something about sisters and brothers in Christ that can always be trusted and will point you back to Him. If alone, understand this takes effort in reaching out and being vulnerable – just as living a life unashamed of the Gospel means too.

 UA: What advice would you give to other athletes who are afraid to share their faith with others?

I would remind those who are afraid to share their faith that they aren’t on this earth to live by the approval of others. Same way you don’t play your sport to gain the praise or approval of your coaches, parents, fans, or teammates – you are playing for something far greater and that’s to play to give glory and thanks to your King! Your focus and job on this earth is to spread the Good News and to fulfill the purpose God has for your life here. Only until we are able to lay down ourselves and realize that ‘God created, formed, made us for His glory and for His name to be proclaimed’ will sharing Christ in confidence become natural and fulfilling to us. (Isaiah 43:7,21) It won’t always be easy to be disciplined in this thinking, that is why we are told in Scripture to ‘take up our crosses DAILY’, because it’s easy for us humans to want to take a day off to be selfish and submit to the ways of this world or of what others think. (Luke 9:23) I would encourage you to first show the difference God has made on your life by the way you live every day. Just as Jesus was insulted and persecuted during His walk on earth, you may be too but God promises blessings from this! (Matt 5:11) I promise you others will start to be drawn to you if you walk with Christ daily, and they will start to ask the reason for your joy and hope in this life. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we are very bold.” (2 Cor 3:12) Walk the walk, then talk the talk in boldness of Christ! Go be Unashamed! God is more than worth it!

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