My daughter loves sports. In particular, watching NFL football, learning the game of golf, and playing basketball. She was a little late to the party on the hardwood and never played super seriously until she joined her high school team last fall. But she’s made some huge strides this year, and as Hoosiers that makes us smile.
This past weekend, she erupted in a developmental summer league game like a superhero just discovering her powers – hauling down rebounds, finding the open man, and driving hard to the basket for double digit scoring. We’ve never seen her play that way before. One ball-fake drive between two defenders to the basket even drew audible accolades from strangers in the stand.
“Nice move 20!”
She still has a lot to learn, but that Sunday afternoon went a long way to developing her confidence, exerting her will, and possibly even convincing her that she might be a halfway decent ball player.
Those are incredible life moments. I remember the first time I sat at the piano as a viable member of a band realizing, “I’m pretty good at this,” the first time I wrote a blog that really connected with people, the first time it hit me that I could genuinely lead a group of people.
And if we’re not careful, it’s defining.
When we define our value by what we can (or can’t) do, we may find some short-term satisfaction, but we will eventually have an identity crisis. It’s inevitable. We will fail. We will lose. We will age. We will disappoint. And then we will get very confused.
To ensure “Gospel-sanity,” our abilities must always flow from our identity, not create our identity.
So after a great afternoon of developing her hoops prowess, I tried to end the day with a clarifying locker room speech (that was as much for me as it was for her).
“There is nothing more intoxicating than learning what you’re good at and feeling it begin to click. It’s awesome! Keep going! But never forget that your value doesn’t come from what you do, it rests in what Jesus did. I’m proud of your athletic development, but I love you because you’re my girl. You may do a lot of great things, but first and foremost you are my daughter. Whether you succeed or fail, that identity is settled.”
Isn’t that the message we all long to hear? Settled. Finished. Son. Daughter. Do from a position of done.
In Jesus, that’s your story, too.