I am a people pleaser, down to the core.
For a long time in my life, that left me in a position where I was a "say yes person". I would be anyone you needed me to be. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, I was there. If you needed advice, I was there. If you needed a ride, if you needed someone to party with, if you needed someone to watch TV with, eat pizza with, whatever you needed… I was your girl. It took a long time for me to realize that the root of all of this was that I had absolutely no idea who I was. In my effort to be everything to everyone, I lost myself.
My freshman year of college, I played softball at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. For a lot of reasons, this school ended up not being the place I needed to be. On the surface, it would appear that everything was fantastic. I was still your “say yes girl”, and I was even getting involved with the “right, Christian things". I was involved in our team's Bible study, my church’s small group, our campus FCA, services on Sunday and Wednesday. And yet, I was more lost and unhappy than I had ever been.
Even though I had been a Christian for most of my life, I was really struggling. Now as I look back, I think the root of why I was struggling was because I was living my Christian walk the way I thought other people wanted me to. I wasn’t going to services or studies for my relationship with Christ, but because that’s what I was expected to do.
Sports are unique and special in many ways. But one of the drawbacks is that sport allows us to believe that if we do more and work harder, things will get better. On the softball field, that’s exactly what I did. I put in more time, more reps, more effort, more energy, and I got better. But life doesn’t work that way and neither does your walk with Christ. In an effort to fix how unhappy and lost I was in life and faith, I got more involved and tried to work harder at it. I was everything to all people, all the time, and yet I was still not fixing myself.
Eventually the time came when I had to make the decision to transfer.
My transfer process was unconventional in that I moved halfway through the school year, but the process changed my life. The day I decided to transfer and begin to email other coaches, my prayer looked something like this:
“God, I am so lost. I am all these things and yet I don’t know who I am. Help me figure out who I am. I will spend at least 30 minutes a day in your word. Please help me. If I am supposed to keep playing softball, please open doors for me.”
The whole transfer process is a simple as this: you write an email explaining who you are and what your stats are, and you send it out to any coach that you may desire to play for. I wrote an email defining myself solely by my statistics and blasted it out to everyone I could think of. Once I pressed send to all the emails, I was in disbelief at the immediate responses! I started to get flooded with emails and calls. But I decided to put it all on hold, because I had JUST prayed to God, promising that I would get in the word for at least 30 minutes! So I didn't answer the phone, I opened my Bible.
Eventually I went on a few college visits, one of them to Syracuse. The specific details of this visit to Syracuse were not special, and yet I felt sure that God was calling me to go there. After making that decision, I had a few months to prepare before moving across the country again.
During this waiting and preparation time, something had shifted in me. I was suddenly diligent and hungry for God‘s word. I was going to studies and services because my heart wanted it. I was finally starting to figure out who God says I am. I was excited to have the opportunity to have a fresh start with a new identity. Instead of being the "say yes girl", I realized that I was Jesus' girl. It took me a long time to realize that you can’t just do more, be better, and work harder... Because Jesus already paid it all. The work has been done.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
In the past I used to define myself by what I did and how people perceived me. And even now, I'm sill not perfect. Often times I find myself defining who I am by the things I do. I say things like, "oh yeah, I’m Bryce Holmgren, from softball" or "I’m Bryce Holmgren, I teach a Bible study and help lead FCA". But this life we lead is in constant progress and I think we are always needing constant reminders of our true identity.
We are constantly pursuing to be like Christ, to see people and ourselves the way Christ sees us, to realize that we were created on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose in God’s image and that I am a daughter of the most high King, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
It isn’t about knowing who you are, but knowing who’s you are. It isn’t about all the things that we do or how we perform, but our identity is found in what Christ has done. It’s something I have to remind myself of every day. The transfer process changed my life in more ways than I can count, but really it was Christ who changed my life. I’m so thankful, that I was in such a lost place because it was there that I truly found and built a relationship with our Savior.
I am a senior softball player at Syracuse University. I love coffee and dogs, but my true passion lies in my heart for people. I love to help people and hope to use my gifts to help people who can’t help themselves as a doctor one day.