Smelling Salts

I have seen pre-game rituals recycle from one generation to the next. One recent thing that I have noticed and never anticipated coming was the obsession of older lacrosse players sniffing smelling salts before a game. As a player, I used to dread smelling salts, as they were primarily used for waking you up from a concussion. Recently I have begun to notice that on the sidelines before college and professional level games, many athletes have been starting to use smelling salts as a way to stay alert and fully prepare for competition. They are used to alert the athlete to the reality of the moment at hand. Warm ups are done, and it is game time! It is amazing how quickly a player’s senses can come alive after smelling just a sniff of smelling salts!

I recently reached out to a close friend of mine for some advice on a situation and the conversation that followed was a smelling salt for my own life and priorities. As I began to ask my friend for his opinion on what I should do, he began to ask me question after question. Instead of telling me words that I wanted to hear, he challenged me to think about what was truly important and helped me to see the circumstance in a different light. I knew that when I reached out to this friend that he would speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). In an instant I was alerted to the reality of what I knew God’s word said about this situation we were discussing.

As we live out our Christian walk, it is essential that we develop strong relationships with fellow believers who can be the smelling salts in our lives. By speaking truth in love to one another in tough situations, the Lord can awaken us to the reality of what is in our hearts and help us see with fresh eyes that are focused on Him. I am so thankful that I had a friend that reminded me of my priorities and the desire that I have for God to shape my opinions instead of simply taking my side.

May we all strive to be the smelling salts in each other’s lives and point to the Lord in every hard circumstance we face. Help us to be alert to the needs of those around us and ask questions, that God can use to alert us to the reality of the moment, and what we know His word has taught us.


Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

More information can be found at FCA.org.