Faith Played Out: What Is Your Sport Identity?
It is a joy to introduce Rosie to write for Faith Played Out! I hope you find her words on being assured of our identity in Jesus over our sporting talents to be as encouraging as I have this week. Katrina xx
If someone asked you ‘who are you?’ what would you reply?
The whole way through school, my response would be to name the things I love doing, with sport being at the top of the list. But when I think about it now, one of the main reasons I loved the things I did was because I was good at them and thrived off the success that came from them.
As humans we define ourselves in two ways:
- Through what we do – our activities, successes, abilities and how we use them.
- Through our relationships – who we know.
When we know the world is watching, it’s so easy to get carried away with the emotions that come with success, meaning pride and confidence can start to become a dangerous thing. This was certainly true for me at school and often still is now.
I became a Christian gradually through my time at school but I never saw it as THE thing that defined me, as I knew that wasn’t enough to please the world’s standards around me. So I used my sporting abilities; I felt secure in who I was when I impressed my coaches, when I was selected for the teams or when I scored goals in front of my friends. I never felt the need to boast about my successes outwardly to others but inside I was proud and felt good about myself.
However, coming to University can often be an opportunity for a fresh start and the opportunity to redefine ourselves. For me, there has been a major change in my life and attitude towards the way I approach my sport.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4)
God created us in his image, which means to be made with skills and abilities, and to be in relationships with others. But ultimately, we were made in the beginning to be in relationship with God, giving us a secure identity, leaving us to enjoy our relationships and abilities because they don’t define us.
Pride feels great in the moment, but what happens when that’s gone? You’re no longer top of your game. We might feel happy being defined by our abilities now if we’re proud of them but what happens when we’re no longer succeeding? Being dropped from the team, or injured for the rest of the season - what happens then? Knowing that I am perfectly loved and perfectly secure in Christ takes away the uncertainty of my identity that would’ve come from placing it on my achievements. And it’s here that I’m reminded of what God has done for me.
Paul teaches us in Ephesians:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The Bible has a different view of where our confidence and pride should come from. Our abilities are a gift from God, and therefore not ours to be proud of. My performance on the hockey pitch and attempt at living a good life will never be enough to save me from death, but it is through God’s grace that I will be able to live in eternal life with him.
Being reminded of this daily and before every match is so important in helping us remain thankful for all that God has given us.
So who am I now? I am confident in the knowledge that I am loved and saved by the God who defines my life and the way I live it.
Rosie is in her first year at Durham studying Anthropology degree, although seems to spend the majority of her time playing hockey! She has loved properly becoming a part of a church family for the first time at Christ Church, and is excited to see what else God has planned for me whilst here in Durham.