The world has noticed Tim Tebow since his days playing college football. But who could have predicted a Heisman trophy winner and pro football quarterback would find himself in Scottsdale, Arizona, playing Minor League Baseball?
CBN News Reporter Abigail Robertson recently spoke with Tebow to get his perspective on how his life has been shaken.
One of the first questions she asked him — why baseball?
“Playing baseball for me was something I almost did out of high school, and I decided to go to the University of Florida, and it’s been something that’s been on my heart throughout the last couple of years,” Tebow explained. “I really felt like why not go pursue it if it’s something that I’m passionate about and it’s on my heart? You know, go after it.”
Tebow may be passionate about baseball now, but it wasn’t exactly his first career choice. The Denver Broncos drafted him right out of college and after being promoted to starting quarterback, he led the team to their first playoff win in six years.
Tebow’s Career Goes Downhill
Despite that promising beginning, the Broncos traded him after the first season ended and things went downhill from there. Tebow was cut or released from three more teams in the years that followed.
“When you’re going through that, what do you have to hold onto?” Tebow asked. “What is your foundation? Who are you? And more importantly, whose are you in your relationship with Christ?”
A little over a year ago, Tebow felt God leading him to write a book for others facing challenges of all kinds.
“I wanted to write something to those people to encourage them that there’s still a God that loves you, that created you in love, by love, for love, for a purpose, that you matter, and you’re significant,” he told CBN News. “So when people are going through tough times, they have something to hold onto, and they do in their relationship with Christ.”
In his new book, Shaken: Discovering Your True identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, Tebow talks about his tougher times. Those ranged from trying to just be “one of the guys” on a new team surrounded by media frenzy, to living in isolation as paparazzi camped out 12 feet from his front door, to realizing his future in football was likely over.
As he writes, “I had no job, no car, no home.”
Keep Calm and Stay Focused
All the while, sports announcers and media headlines were blowing up with people happy to see him failing.
“Not everybody can relate to the highs, but almost everybody can relate to the lows,” Tebow said.
Through relentless criticism, he managed to keep calm and remain focused.
“When you believe in yourself and you believe you’re doing the right thing and you’re giving it your all — you have to block out the criticism,” Tebow said. “You have to block out the naysayers.”
“A lot of times people will say, ‘Let it go in one ear and out the other,” and I just think don’t even let it go in one ear,” he continued. “Don’t even listen to it. Don’t even go on social media; don’t read it; don’t watch the TV.”
“For me, it’s stay focused on what your goal is, and don’t let the naysayers sway you from your goal,” he said.
Going Deeper in Jesus
Tebow addresses his struggles in his new book, titled Shaken. He says his prayer for the people who read the book is “that they’re encouraged to go find a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“And it’s not just the going to church on Sunday morning or Wednesday night,” he admonished. “But it’s actually a deep relationship, a one-on-one, intimate relationship with a God that loves us so much He sent his son to die for them.”
Tebow opens up a lot in the book, but don’t expect any details of his dating life. He did, however, share his philosophy on relationships.
“I think prayer is important. I think having Godly wisdom is important from people that you look up to,” he told CBN News.
“And I think having people around you that are going to tell you what you really need to hear, not what you want to hear, and they’re able to be the people that are able to help guide you in that path because sometimes in relationships you can’t always see clear, but people around you can,” Tebow advised.
Shaken is not just inspired by his own experiences overcoming disappointment.
“I’ve seen so many people that everything around them is shaken, and they’re thinking, ‘I don’t even know if I’m going to be here tomorrow,'” Tebow said. “And I’ve seen some of them with such amazing faith that even in the midst of all of that, they still had something to hold on to, and that was their relationship with Christ.”
In 2010, he created the Tim Tebow Foundation, which helps thousands of orphans, special needs, and terminally ill children each year.
Tebow said God planted this seed in him when he was 15 and met a Filipino boy named Sherwin who had backwards feet. In 2015, the foundation opened a hospital in the Philippines that provides patients with life-changing orthopedic surgeries.
Tebow said the hospital is one of his proudest accomplishments.
“Now in our hospital in the Philippines, all the boys who are like Sherwin with their feet on backwards, we get to go pick them up and carry them to the hospital, and they get to walk out,” he shared. “But they don’t just walk out with physical healing, but spiritual healing, and emotional healing as well.”
Tebow has become a major role model for Christians of all ages, but particularly Millennials. CBN News asked what advice he has for how young adult Christians can stand strong in their faith.
“I would say find an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ — their own faith, not their parents’ faith, not their friends, but theirs,” Tebow replied. “And develop that and work on that.”
“And also find friends that they can invest in, and love in, and disciple, but also friends that are going to be able to lift them up when they are going through tough times because I really believe ‘iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,'” Tebow, said quoting Proverbs. “So find those people in life that are going to invest in you.”
Tebow Takes on His Critics
As for the critics of Tebow’s baseball career, he told CBN News it’s not a make-or-break situation.
“They’ll criticize. They’ll say, ‘Why? The chances of making it are so slim.’ But for me it’s about pursuing your passion and not being afraid of failure, not being afraid of what people are going to say because I’m also a believer that perfect love casts out all fear,” Tebow said.
“Let’s just love God, and let’s love people and let’s bring people together,” he continued. “How many people can we love in the name of Jesus? How many people can we help in the name of Jesus? That’s the goal. Nothing else is the goal. Nothing else matters. That’s what matters, plain and simple. And I feel like that’s my passion, and I feel like it’s my purpose, too.”
And that’s exactly what Tebow is doing on and off the field.
He may not be playing in arenas of 75,000 anymore, but the smaller crowds have led to some divine opportunities. Tebow recently made headlines for praying over a fan having a seizure after one of his games. He later learned the man decided to follow Jesus while watching the game in the stands, after overhearing other fans talking about God.
“When you believe that you serve a big God, and when you believe yourself that He has a plan and a purpose for you, you can walk with confidence and go after what He puts on your heart, and you can do it with boldness and courage, and you can go after it not having to listen to the naysaysers,” Tebow said.
Tim Tebow may not have seen baseball in his future, but God sure did. With each curve ball life has thrown at him he’s continued to trust God’s plan for his future, and not let his faith be shaken.