It niggles at us, just beneath the surface. An unidentifiable discomfort, a longing to understand. What are we left with when we have nothing to show for months of preparation, hope and a determination to do our best with the abilities we’ve worked so hard to use?
Maybe you’ve felt off balance being unable to participate in the sport you love. You counted on this year to be your breakout season, and you never got the chance to showcase the growth of your athletic abilities. Or this season was a make or break for your job and you needed to come up with a winning record to keep your post as coach. If we look beyond the exterior of a shattered season and deeper into the mirror of our own hearts, what do we see? Who are we, really, when we don’t get the chances we hoped for and are left trying to make sense of what matters?
We are more. More than simply athletes and coaches. More than x’s and o’s and what our wins and losses show. We are seen and loved by the God who put our athletic abilities in us. Before we were introduced to the athletic world, we entered the natural world through the God who desires intimate relationship with us, just as we are.
But how can you be enough, just as you are? It’s not about performance or a winning record. Sports are great and a fun outlet to showcase the talents we’ve been given, but it’s not the end-all. You are more than the numbers in your stat box or W’s in win-loss columns. Even though it may seem bewildering that the year has gone the way it has, you can stand firm in unchanging truths of just how treasured you are.
Here’s what you need to know when you wonder who you are after a stripped-away season:
You are a child of God
If you’ve ever had a longing in you that you couldn’t quite pinpoint, consider this: if nothing in this world truly satisfies, could it be that you were made for more? For more life than you’ve been living? And could it be that the Creator of that longing is calling out to you?
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! - 1 John 3:1
You are loved by God, who set you on this earth and reaches out to you. He loves you unconditionally, because you are His daughter, His son. In His love, He sent His only son Jesus to show us a new way of living through serving humbly, looking out for the lowly and believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord. It’s an act of faith to believe and accept the Father’s love and the Savior’s atoning work on the cross.
You are enough in Christ
Jesus paid it all. As He cried out on the cross, “It is finished,” the work of salvation cost God everything, but cost us nothing. It is a gift, available for the taking. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven; by believing in the once-and-for-all freeing work of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later, we have confidence in our redemption.
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. – Hebrews 10:14
Christ’s redemption is permission for you to relax and stop striving to make yourself better, do things better, or rate your efforts on the field and in your life. Christ is enough; He came to secure your place in God’s family. Stop trying. Be you, because with Jesus, that is enough.
You are equipped with purpose
When God created you, He also filled you with purpose: to walk with Him, see and seize the divine opportunities around you, and refine your character to reflect Christ. There are people in your life that only you can reach to bring the good news of Christ, and there are situations that only you can experience.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10
You are a light in the world around you. Your athletic environment is where God has placed you. It’s a platform to introduce God’s love to teammates who need to know they are cared about, and a platform to share with your staff the ways to coach and lead like Jesus.
Your identity is rooted in what and who you believe. In a world that clamors for your attention, it can be hard to hear the truth of who God says you are. Stand firm, immovable. Remember, who you are as a person, first and foremost, is embedded in WHOSE you are. You are a child of God. You are enough in Christ. You are equipped with purpose. Live that out in every arena of your life: personal, athletic, academic, professional. He who began a good work in you is faithful to carry it to completion.
Want to know more about your true identity? Click here to visit FCA’s The Four to better understand the great lengths God went for you out of His love.
Consider: What have you been struggling to believe about who God says you are? How can you use His Word to remember your worth in Christ?
Action: Find a way to encourage your team today. How can you use this season to better connect as a team and prepare for when you can play together again?