Last week we finished volleyball tryouts. For those of you that don’t know, I work with our middle school and high school girls volleyball program. For the past 2 months, the other coaches and I have been watching and evaluating the girls to see who will make the team. We run a very competitive program so not everyone makes the team. Now, comes the hard part…..deciding who makes the team. I’m not a fan of “participation awards” but I have to be honest, the part of making cuts is extremely difficult. Last night I lay in bed thinking about all the girls who tried out. I started praying for each one of them. So many young girls struggle with identity. How will this change them? Where does their identity come from? Where does their value come from? sports? friends? boys?
As I was laying in bed thinking, I was reminded of my own daughter, Taylor. Taylor has always been an athlete. She’s been involved in sports since she was 4 years old. She played competitive softball and volleyball, until one day everything changed. She went up for a block in volleyball, and when she hit the ground she tore her ACL. After going in for her ACL surgery, she ended up with 2 infections, 2 additional surgeries, a week stay in the hospital and a very long recovery. After counsel from her surgeon, she knew she wouldn’t return to volleyball and was unsure how she would play softball.
I remember her struggle, not just with the recovery from knee surgery, but also realizing she didn’t really know who she was. She struggled with how to fill her time. Who her friends were? What would she do if she didn’t play ball in college? I remember her coming to me one day saying, “I don’t even know who I am.” She had spent so much time focusing on being an “athlete” that she needed to re-learn her identity.
A few weeks before her injury, the Lord gave her a verse.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I remember her telling me that she wasn’t sure why He gave her the verse, but she knew that it was to be her verse during volleyball season. After her injury, she knew why He gave her the verse. She learned what it was like to cling to God’s word.
Mark and I were so wrapped up in the sports, as well, that we never noticed that it was her full identity. She had so much more to her than sports and it took her some time to realize that. I see her now as an amazing 23 year old woman and I can’t even imagine her playing volleyball now. She is so much more. Through that trial, she learned that she had a heart for young girls. She went on to help coach during her senior year, and during college she was a RA and also a counselor at Fall’s Creek Camp. She has since graduated college and is an ICU nurse. More than anything else, she knows who she is in Christ.
For years, I struggled with pleasing people and also being perfect. If only I would have realized that wasn’t my worth.
If you find yourself struggling with your identity, and oh my! don’t we all at times, I want to encourage you to do a few things.
1. Get your Bible and a notebook or journal. Ask God to reveal Himself to you and also who you are to Him.
2. Start memorizing scripture. I love the app “Scripture Typer” to help memorize.
Some of my favorite verses are:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jer. 1:5
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Is. 43:1
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
” Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17
3. Know that you are loved by an everlasting Father, not because of what you’ve done but because of WHO YOU ARE. Christ died for us. He wanted to have a relationship with you before you were even His child. ” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
4. Journal scripture. Allow the Lord to speak to you through His word. Be still and listen to what He is telling you.
5. Keep reminding yourself who you are in Christ. It is so important that we realize who we are in Christ. If not, then we don’t believe God at His word. Our faith will be crippled. Satan would love nothing more than to keep reminding you of your past failures but you need to keep abiding in truth.
What’s a post without pictures? These pictures are when Taylor turned 23. I made her stand outside so I could get some birthday pictures. She’s so sweet to humor me!!
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