Growing up, girls are taught to find a man and once you find one, don’t lose them. I haven’t been in a real relationship. The closest thing I’ve had was in middle school and it was over before it began, which was all of two weeks. When I do that whole “talking” thing, it only lasts about three days before one or both is done. I’ve heard people tell me that since I’ve never had a relationship of my own, that I don’t know anything. I don’t buy it. I’m not oblivious to the world around me. And don’t get me started on how many times I’ve been told my expectations are too high.
I’ve watched people lose their identity in relationships that were no good for either of them. I’ve watched people search for their identity in every guy that spoke a word to them. I’ve watched people think they have no identity at all because they don’t have a relationship. I may not have experienced much, but I have learned a lot.
I was watching the Olympic trials with a couple of friends and afterwards they interviewed my favorites: David Boudia (btdubbs, totes pre-ordering his book, Greater than Gold, like yesterday!) and Steele Johnson. Not gonna lie, I stalked them both on all social media. Steele Johnson said something I’ve heard 100 times growing up in church, but when he said it this time, it clicked in a different way. He said he didn’t find his identity in the Olympics, he found it in You, Lord.
If Steele Johnson can spend his every waking moment preparing for the Olympics and he doesn’t find his identity in the Olympics then I’m not gonna find mine in a man. I find my identity in You, my Lord, my Heavenly Father, my God, my Alpha and Omega.
I mean that man changes his entire lifestyle, diet, exercise, collegiate career, his entire way of life for the Olympics. His entire schedule is planning for the Olympics. He lives, eats, and breathes the Olympics and his identity is not found there. The Olympics don’t complete Steele Johnson, anymore than a relationship will complete me.
He is a brother, a son, a diver, a scholar, a 10-meter platform winner at the 2013 USA Diving Winter Nationals, a 15-time junior national champion, a four-time champion at the junior Pan-Am Games, CSCAA Diver of the year, Big Ten Diver of the Year, Purdue Male Athlete of the Year, Two-time All American (1-meter and platform diving), Honorable Mention All-American (3-meter Diving), and World Championships Qualifier (Synchronized 10-meter). Steele Johnson doesn’t find his identity in any of that though. He found his identity in You, Lord. On his Twitter bio, before 2016 Olympian he lists Christ Follower. Before, not after, because You are before all else.
Steele Johnson is more than an Olympian and I am more than a future relationship I don’t even have yet. I am Sister of the Year (twice). I am Miss Theta Epsilon 2014. I have certificates awarding me for completing Most Community Service Hours, Most Activity Points, and Most Study Reward Points. I was voted Most Patriotic and Most Likely to Brighten Your Day. I received a Service and Character Award. I was a representative at International Convention, Student Organization Leadership Day (twice), The Leadership Conference, and South Eastern Panhellenic Conference. I coordinated a campus wide Tornado Victims Book Drive for Tuscaloosa libraries and schools in 2012. I held the offices of Alumnae International Reunion Day Chair (twice), Alumnae Vice President, Chapter President, Ritual Coordinator, Preference Ceremony Chair (twice), Vice President Member Development, New Member Coordinator, Sisterhood Coordinator (twice), Panhellenic Assistant Delegate, Bid Day Chair, Property Coordinator, Panhellenic Delegate, and New Member Ritual Coordinator. I was an officer for Students in Action, volunteered for College Republicans, and served on the board for Jaguar Productions. I am a sister, daughter, grand-daughter, friend, cousin, niece, and a college graduate.
I am also single and searching for a career job, both wells are coming up dry, but I don’t find my identity in any of those things. The good things or the flaws. I am made whole by You, God, who created the heavens and the earth. I am made whole by You, God, who put the stars in the sky. I am made whole by You, God, who gave me life and purpose. I am made whole by You, God, who calls me chosen.
So, here is my prayer. I pray that I fall in love. I pray that I land a career job. I pray that I find them both in your timing. I pray that I learn to calm down with my 10 year plan. I also pray that I remember my identity is in you and not the things of this world. I pray that I remembered you created me. I pray that I concentrate on where my identity is found. I pray that I turn my eyes to you. I pray that I focus on the knowledge that I am made by you. I pray that I turn my attention to you, Lord. I pray that I find peace in understanding that I am not you and I cannot control everything. I pray that I remember that I have the water of life when my wells are coming up dry. I pray that I remember I thirst no more. I pray that I remember my identity in you is greater than being than an Olympian. I pray that I remember my identity in you is greater than gold. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.