Who are you? Are you a soccer player? A basketball player? A football player? Does your athletic career define who you are or what you do? Far too often we let ourselves think that our athletic career defines who we are.
When what we do in sport becomes linked with our identity, it can lead to believing that our worth is dependent on our performance as athletes. If you fall into this mindset you will find yourself on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs directly linked with your success on the field. I have been on this path and want to tell you that if you stay on this path you will never be happy with where you are at. There will always be a hole in who you are. You are never at peace.
Athletics is not who you are, it is what you do! Athletics is what we do to glorify the Lord. Don’t compete in athletics to give yourself an identity or prove your worth. Your worth has was established when Jesus died on the cross for you! If he deemed you worthy of dying for than nothing else can triumph that. Use your athletic abilities to say thank you. Compete fiercely for Jesus, not to prove your worth or to establish who you are.
I relate to this “Identity Crisis” because I went through it myself. After my senior season in college I knew that I wouldn’t be playing competitive soccer anymore, and I struggled with what was next because everything that I had an association with, being a soccer player, was gone. There was an emptiness inside of me that I didn’t know how to fill. Being an athlete was no longer my identity or a way for me to find self-worth. Thankfully the Lord intervened. He called me out of my darkness and told me that because of what Jesus did I had an eternal worth that could never be taken away from me. Now that I know my worth and identity through Jesus I wish that I would have known that during my soccer career. What a difference it would have made in how I approached my athletic career.
If you are reading this and know that you struggle with this same “Identity Crisis” or are realizing it, I pray that you also realize that your sport is WHAT you do and NOT WHO you are. You have more worth more in the eyes of God than you could ever imagine. I know this because he sent Jesus to die just for YOU! Let that knowledge saturate within you and redefine how you approach athletics.