With the 2020 Olympics within sight, it’s easy to become focused too much on my sport. Within the last few months, God has been showing me that I’ve been starting to close my grip on the game and on the goal of the Olympics. I’ve been convicted to slowly open my hand and hold it open when it comes to softball.
Anytime we start to close our grip on something we want really badly in our lives, we begin to miss out on God’s best for us. When we hold it with an open hand, we can see God’s work come through. It’s a constant battle for me to release my grip on things, especially a sport I love so much and work so hard at. But God is so good to continually remind me that this is not about me, it’s not even about the Olympics.
Society tends to build up success and athletic performance so much, idolizing those who make it to the top! It’s tempting for me to do the same, but I need to remember that, even if I never get to the Olympics, God is enough. He is the only thing that can and will satisfy me. This can be a hard truth to buy into sometimes because it goes against what our culture tells us.
If I believe the lie that my identity is found in something other than Christ, I begin focusing on whatever that may be. I’m not coaching this year; instead, I’m focused on supporting my husband (a pro baseball player in the Twins organization). For the first time, I don’t feel like God’s given me an exact, clear purpose. I’m usually there to pour into young girls with a God-centered perspective on the game of softball. But in this season, God is showing me that my identity can’t even be in God-centered things like ministry. My confidence has to come from God alone, not in serving Him.
To fully believe this and to walk in this truth continually, I have to get in the presence of God more. When I do, He teaches me, through His Word, about His truths and power. In 1 Peter 2:9 it says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” I love this verse because it reminds me of my true identity.
My husband, Jake, and I had a conversation recently about this. Our desire to spend time with God should outweigh every other thing we do. That includes social media, our work, sports, spending time with family, ect. Even amidst all the distractions around us, this is something we must strive for, not out of duty but out of passion. He is the One who gives life, purpose and identity.
— Janie Reed, USA Women’s Softball outfielder
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