Former NFL running back Charcandrick West initially committed to Louisiana Tech University, but ended up attending Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, which is a Division II school.
Charcandrick signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2014, where he spent all five years of his NFL career before announcing his retirement from the NFL in December of 2019.
Charcandrick rushed for 998 yards and recorded 589 receiving yards over his five-year career. He was on the receiving end of Alex Smith’s longest touchdown pass of his career; an 80-yard touchdown in a win against the Denver Broncos during Week 10 of the 2015 season.
Charcandrick is also the cousin of current Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White.
What Role Does Faith Play in Charcandrick’s Life?
“Without faith I feel like I wouldn’t be here”- Charcandrick West
Charcandrick feels that nothing he has accomplished in his life would be possible without God, whether it was making it to the NFL or his ability to radiate joy to those around him.
Charcandrick talks about a disease he had to battle in high school that threatened his quality of life. While this caused a difficult time in his life both athletically and academically, he says that he kept a strong mindset throughout.
There were of course days where he questioned God and would wonder why it had to be him going through this experience, but through it all he stayed positive.
Charcandrick credits God for giving him the ability and providing him the strength to keep this positive mindset, as well as helping him recover. Without God, he feels that it would have been easy to get discouraged and give in to the negative things going on in his life.
Charcandrick also points to this positive mindset and his faith in God as the reasons he’s been able to accomplish everything that he has. He says he is a firm believer that if you put your faith and mind in God that anything is possible.
This positive mindset from God also helped Charcandrick adjust to life at Abilene.
Charcandrick initially committed to Louisiana Tech, but talks about events that caused him to transfer to Abilene before his freshman year even started.
Prior to going to Abilene Christian, Charcandrick had never left Louisiana. Abilene, which was seven hours away from home, was a tough adjustment for him at first.
A self-professed mama’s boy, Charcandrick found himself homesick and missing his family. However, this strong mindset is what helped him make it through.
God helped him to persevere and stay positive. Eventually, Charcandrick began to feel more comfortable and realized that Abilene was the best place for him.
How Did Attending Abilene Christian University Impact Charcandrick’s Faith?
“There was a lot I didn’t know. I was going to church, but going to Abilene and taking Bible classes really taught me a lot about how to understand the Bible and how to understand faith” - Charcandrick West
Charcandrick says that his time at Abilene Christian University really helped his faith to grow.
Charcandrick had always attended church both growing up and throughout high school, but he hadn’t spent much time in Scripture. However, at Abilene he enrolled in and attended Bible classes.
Charcandrick says that these classes are what helped him start to further develop his relationship with God. He started to spend more time with Scripture and deepen his understanding of God’s word.
These Bible classes not only helped Charcandrick understand Scripture better, but also helped him understand his relationship with God better. He felt closer with God, and also learned how to spread love to others better.
Charcandrick also talks about his favorite prayer that he learned at Abilene; a prayer that is still one of his favorites to this day.
He says that this prayer has played a big role in his life. It’s helped get him through some difficult moments in his life that he discusses, and it is one of several prayers that he says every night. Charcandrick would also say this prayer with a group of his teammates on the Chiefs after games.
What is God Teaching You?
There are some valuable lessons in what Charcandrick talks about.
We have all gone through, or currently are going through, difficult periods in our lives. It can be easy to feel lost or discouraged. We might wonder where we could possibly find room for a positive mindset.
However, everything we go through is part of God’s plan for us. He could be using the challenges we face to prepare us to make a difference in the lives of others who go through something similar.
Difficult times are also an opportunity to lean on God and strengthen our relationship with Him. As Charcandrick pointed out, God can provide us with the positive mindset and the perseverance we need. Making it through these moments without God could be extremely difficult, or even impossible.
Another great lesson that can be taken away from Charcandrick is the importance of being humble and recognizing God in our accomplishments.
It would be easy for someone like Charcandrick, who has accomplished so many things, to try to take the credit for themselves and claim that it was their own hard work and their own talent that got them to where they are.
While hard work and talent are no doubt required to achieve the goals we want, we need to remember where these things came from.
Without God providing us with strength and determination, we wouldn’t be able to put in the time needed. In addition, God provides us with our talents and gifts.
Without the talents we were given from God, we would not be in the position we are today; whatever position that may be.
Instead of becoming egotistical and presenting ourselves as better than others, we instead should seek to glorify God. We can thank Him for providing us with the talents he did and let others know that God is the reason for our blessings.
Finally, it can be important to put ourselves both in situations that might be outside of our comfort zones and situations that can further our relationship with God.
Becoming complacent and comfortable with where we’re at in our sport often doesn't only lead to us plateauing but can actually lead to us becoming worse. This is the same with faith.
If Charcandrick never attended Abilene Christian University, or instead gave up and went back home, he might not have seen his relationship with God develop.
Oftentimes, difficult situations end up being the situations where we learn the most. When you are in a situation that you are 100% comfortable in it can be easy to fall into a false sense of security, doing nothing to improve yourself.
While difficult situations will feel difficult at the time, they will force us to lean on God in ways that we might not have before. When we do this, we will learn things not only about ourselves, but about God and our relationship with Him.
We can identify areas of our relationship that need improvement and then work to improve them.
Are you taking time to recognize the blessings in your life? If you’re going through a difficult time, are you leaning on God?
Are you giving God credit for your success? Are you using your position in life to glorify God?
Are you putting yourself in situations where you can strengthen your relationship with God, or are you staying in your comfort zone?
To hear the discussion that Noah and Bjorn had with Charcandrick about how he ended up at Abilene Christian University after committing to Louisiana Tech, the disease he dealt with in high school and how this impacted his life, what role faith plays in his life, and who his mentors have been, check out “The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” episode 33.
They also talk about who the best football player he’s ever played with is, what it was like being in the Chiefs’ locker room following the Kareem Hunt incident in 2018, who he thinks are contenders for the Super Bowl and if the Bills are one of these teams, and whether Devin White is the best linebacker in the NFL.