What happens when God is removed from the centre of your life and replaced with achievement?
The ABC’s Four Corners recently ran a report on elite athletes who outlined their struggles once their career was over.
They struggled with depression, unemployment and emptiness.
Lauren Jackson, Australia’s most successful female basketballer, spoke of the end of her career like a second death and with no one there.
She also experienced the effects of withdrawal, both from the adrenaline highs of performance, but also from the mix of prescriptions drugs she took to help her body survive the wear and tear she endured.
Nathan Bracken, Australian test cricketer spoke of suffering from severe depression when he retired.
But what difference would Christ make to these athletes?
Eternity magazine asked a number of AFL players this question, including Gary Ablett Jnr., one of the greatest players to have ever played.
He has won AFL’s top award twice, and has two premierships, but he placed little importance on these achievements: “In my journey those things don’t bring fulfillment, my faith is everything.”
And because faith is everything, “it’s not about premierships, its about sharing Jesus.”
He shared his faith with a teammate who faced severe depression, injury, and addiction.
But when he heard about Jesus, he realised that, “football doesn’t define who I am, I get my identity from Jesus Christ.”
So when fame and fortune come to an end, when achievements fail, when they lose their spot in the team, when they are left with nothing, they’ll still have the number one thing, faith in Christ, and nothing can take that away.
And so next time you’re dreaming of what it would be like to be an elite athlete, remember, they are dreaming of something you already have: a rock-solid identity in Christ.