“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” — Jeremiah 1:5
As I wrap up my collegiate soccer career, I can’t help but reminisce on the journey that has led me to this point. As a young girl, I first laced up my cleats and stepped onto the field because my parents wanted me to try an organized sport. Not long into that first year, though, I discovered a love for the sport. Little did I realize just how far I would be able to take it.
As I grew up, practices got longer, teams got more selective, and traveling far distances to play became my new normal. Pretty soon, college recruiting came into the picture. I never thought I would end up in Hays, Kansas, but here I am, four years after turning my dream of playing collegiate soccer into a reality. It was not an easy journey getting to this point. Rather, it was full of many long days, tears shed and a few big injuries. Yet it was also one of so much joy, laughter and love. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
For the longest time, soccer has been my identity. All my extra time, energy and mental capacity have belonged to this sport.
“Why can’t you hang out tonight?” “Oh, I have soccer.”
“Do you want to go to prom together?” “Sorry, I can’t. I have soccer.”
The list goes on and on.
Who am I without soccer? Do I even know?
If there is anything this past year has taught me, it is that my identity does not belong to this sport. It does not belong to how well I succeed in school, in the things I have, or in what I look like. In fact, it does not belong to any one earthly thing.
Each and every one of us has our own identity, and that identity belongs to God. He has known us long before our own parents have: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). How cool is it that the Creator of this entire universe looked at us and decided that we were the ones who got to be His children?
It can be so easy to get caught up in our earthly ways — our sports, our jobs, our social status. Sometimes, we forget what an incredible miracle it is just to be known and loved by Him. However, we can always be reminded of who we are when we turn to the Bible.
• You are a child of God (1 John 3:2)
• You are a light (Matthew 5:14-16)
• You are a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
• You are brave (2 Corinthians 3:12)
• You are chosen (Colossians 3:12)
• You are enough (Colossians 2:10)
• You are holy (Ephesians 1:4-5)
• You are loved (Romans 8:38-39)
As I embark on this next journey of my life, I can be fully at peace with the doors that are closing behind me, knowing that my identity isn’t in those things. Yes, I will miss soccer, but I know I can always come back to it when I need a reminder of the “good ole days.” I am incredibly grateful for the journey I’ve had and the memories I’ve made through this sport, but I am even more excited to see the next chapter God writes.
— Emily Reitz
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