“The outpouring love and support I’ve received made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before”-Simone Biles
As soon as I saw it, I knew I just had to write a blog on Simone’s insight.
I won’t speak to the rightness or wrongness of her decision to step down and not compete because of issues she was dealing with. Most everyone has an opinion one way or the other.
I will address the practical application and implications of what she is saying. To me, her statement speaks to identity and where we find it.
What she is saying applies to business people who want to excel and be their best as well as people in ministry who want to excel and be their best; but why? What drives and motivates us?
For Christians and Christian leaders who are involved in any ministry, whether as paid staff or volunteers, this statement by Biles is loaded with significant ramifications.
Here are some thoughts I have been pondering since I first read Simone’s statement:
Many of us are our accomplishments and _________ (fill in the blank with what you specifically do in serving) and nothing more. The sun rises and falls on the respect, accolades and affirmation we get when we do what we do.
We possibly do not see that we are more than this. Who we are in Jesus and who He is in us is the MORE: His love for us, our security in Him, and our fullest joy and deepest satisfaction is to be found in Him. To be loved for who we are and not what we do lasts forever. To be loved for what we do has a shelf-life, an expiration date.
Have we perhaps never believed that we were more than what we do? Could it be that our self-worth, value, self-esteem is totally wrapped up in what we do and not who we are and has been so for a very long time?
For me personally, have I truly understood that my value and worth is not in my coaching, speaking and writing and in what people say about this, but in Jesus and Him alone? What is it that I’ve never truly believed before about who I am and am not, and being okay with that—not comparing or wishing I was someone else or doing something else? What would it take to get me to believe what the Father says about me apart from what I do?
As a leader, is my motivation and drive to keep everyone happy, excel 100% of the time beyond everyone’s expectations of me, or is it to be who I am in Jesus and rest in the grace of God as to what he provides by way of opportunities and what He allows to happen as a result. “If your goal in life is to keep everybody happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream”—Eric Geiger
What happens to us and our view of ourselves when our accomplishments and our specific service niche is no longer there or no longer needed? Does our identity get taken away, disappear, no longer exist?
Having our identity in what we do and the feedback accompanying that can be very dangerous. We are inclined want more and more and will do what we need to do to get that more from people. When the accolades and strokes stop coming, we can go into an identity tail-spin leading to discouragement, depression and some sort of mental breakdown.
Let me close with one verse that deeply speaks to my heart on this issue of why I do what I do and where my true identity lies.
Jesus speaking to a group of people, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me” John 5:41 NLT
Jesus, by your grace, help me to find my worth and identity in you and not my work or perceived success and how others feel about that and view that. I don’t want to be like a yoyo, up and down, depending on what people say or think about me. I want to live for an audience of one—YOU!