But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:7-11

Up until very recently, I would say the most foundational thing for an athlete’s identity is to know their why. As believers, our why is to love and glorify God in all we do which helps us remain true to our identity when we face the ups and downs of a season. I am not saying the why factor isn’t important, but I came across a quote that has shifted my perspective:

“Nietzsche said a man can undergo torture if he knows the why of his life…but I learned something far greater. I learned to know the Who of my life. He was enough to sustain me then, and is enough to sustain me still.” – Christian Reger, Holocaust prisoner

These words have reminded me that we don’t follow some set of ideas or philosophical thoughts. We follow the living Jesus. The one who has suffered, died, and rose to life in order to have a relationship with us today. When it comes to our time in athletics, there are going to be challenges, and even moments where suffering is the right word to define your circumstances, but in that place, there is a Person who is with you. One who knows what it feels like to struggle, hurt, and be rejected.

Not only is Jesus with you in the challenging times, but He celebrates with you in the victory. Like a Father, He loves to see you win and doing it in a way that makes Him proud. So, before thinking about your why, I first challenge you to know your Who.

  • Reflect on who Christ is and His importance in your life. Is knowing Him your top priority?
  • Thank God for His love and desire to know you.
  • Ask God to sustain you by His Spirit throughout your day, game, or practice.