My family has been suffering some residual withdrawal symptoms since the completion of the Summer Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro which just concluded three weeks ago.
For an athlete, competing in the Olympics (which only occur once every four years) is considered to be the pinnacle of a sportsman’s career. I enjoy watching the Olympics in part, because of the backstories provided highlighting an athlete’s path to Olympic stardom. Many of these stories speak of the physical, mental, emotional or relational struggles athletes overcome in the hopes of achieving their Olympic dream.
What happens, though, once the Olympic flame is extinguished and an athlete’s 15-minutes of fame is over? Not surprisingly, many athletes suffer with depression and suicidal thoughts once they are no longer actively competing.
Michael Phelps who is unarguably one of the greatest Olympic swimmers to ever have lived, admitted that prior to a stint in a rehab facility two years ago, he was depressed and wanted to die because he didn’t know who he was outside of the pool. Thankfully Mr. Phelps had a real “come to Jesus” encounter after reading the Rick Warren book, The Purpose Driven Life and is now more equipped to deal with life since his recent retirement.
The 2016 Olympic synchronized diving silver medalists were recently interviewed about their combined team success. The USA duo consisting of David Boudia and Steele Johnson, boldly proclaimed in their primetime national TV interview, that “win or lose, our identity is not as medal winners – but our identity is defined by who we are as believers in the Body of Christ.” I love that they didn’t need a title or a medal to think they had achieved the ultimate success.
You may not be an Olympic athlete, but perhaps you find your identity is defined by your career or your job title, your level of education or even in your relationship status or serving in a ministry.
Many years ago I struggled to figure out who I was once all of my children became adults and left for college. I battled some initial depression transitioning to the role of “empty-nester” after spending more than 20 years as a stay-at-home mom.
When our lives change (as they frequently do), adjusting to that change can be so much easier if we remember … we are defined by WHO we are in Christ … not by some external title or position.
Are you struggling with WHO you are based on WHAT you DO?
If you call Jesus your Lord and Savior, you don’t have to DO anything to be successful … you simply have to believe that Jesus loves you just for being YOU, because of WHO He is.
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. Romans 8:16-17 (NLT)
Blessings in Christ,