My family and I went to church every Sunday, but I was always rebelling against it. I didn’t like sitting there. I wasn’t into it, but I always went because it was a big thing for my parents. I had a lot of experience to learn about Jesus but my heart was never into it.
In college, there’s a lot of change that happens, between school and wrestling. The extra stress and pressure built up for me. During my first year I just went through the motions. I worked really hard in the wrestling room but I was still missing something in my life. My game-changing moment came when I started meeting with John Peterson, who worked with Athletes in Action. He really showed me the way — who Christ is and what kind of change He can bring when you let Him into your life.
It’s great to be able to have Christ in your life — knowing that Someone is out there for you, Someone’s watching your back. In grade school my heart wasn’t in it, but now I want to be a part of it and grow to learn more about Him.
Before, I really struggled with wrestling. I put so much pressure on myself; I’d get really nervous before matches, but now I’m able to give that pressure to God. It’s easier and makes it more fun to go out and compete.
In the Bible, there are a lot of verses about giving glory to God. Early on, I thought that if I lost, I was letting people down. But now, I go out there and compete to give that win or loss over to God. I’m not wrestling for my mom or my dad, or anyone else, I’m wrestling for God.
— Tony Nelson, USA wrestler