As an athlete, we tend to put our worth in our sport and how we perform.. and before we know it, our sport becomes our identity. Let's face it - if you are serious about your sport and have goals, you have to be ALL about it if you want to succeed. For me, my sport growing up was gymnastics. It was all I wanted to do - and when I wasn't at the gym, I was dreaming about it. I started when I was 2 years old and began competing at age 6. I went on to compete throughout high school and worked my way up to Level 10. I then walked on the Auburn University Gymnastic Team.
Gymnastics was my life.
When I was at Auburn, I was living my dream! I got to compete in the SEC, train at a state of the art facility with some of the best gymnasts in the nation, and do what I love every single day. I was incredibly motivated, working harder than ever, and learning new skills daily. However, the demanding schedule and rigorous training sessions began to takes its toll on me. Thankfully, one of my teammates and best friend invited me to go to a FCA Huddle with her. I began learning who Jesus was and what it looked like to have a relationship with Him. I noticed that the believers there had a peace about them - something I was craving. They seemed to handle the stress of collegiate athletics with grace and peace and had this joy about them. I wanted that badly and I continued to go back week after week to learn more.
Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year at my end-of-the-season review with my coaches where they sat me down and said "Megan, we need to find another way for you to contribute to the team other than as a gymnast." In other words, they cutting me from the team. [Insert: shattered heart] The coaches went on to tell me that my grades weren't good enough, I had reached my potential, and that I could not control my weight. I instantly buried my face into my hands and bawled my eyes out. When I broke the news to my teammates, they all cried with me. Even my friends and family back home cried with me because everybody knew how much I loved the sport. I was absolutely crushed. All the years of work and sacrifice were gone in a single second. It was at this rock-bottom moment in time when I realized I could not do this life on my own nor control it, and that is when I surrendered my life and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I had so many strongholds over my life that I had learned over the years that I needed to let go of if I was to truly surrender my life to Him.
As I began to learn his truth, I began to experience His freedom. I had to learn that my worth was in Him, not how I performed in the gym or in life. In sports, the mindset that "if you just work hard enough you can achieve anything" was engrained in me. I felt like I could control my destiny in life if I was willing to work hard enough for it. But as you can imagine, this mindset became a heavy burden to carry as I was constantly falling short.
When I began to learn truth, I realized that the work had already been done and the race had already been won. When God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, it was a gift of grace to us. Ephesians 2:8 says "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." I didn't have to be perfect, because He was perfect and my identity was in Him. I didn't have to pave my own way, because He already paved it for me and His plans are greater than anything I could fathom. I did not have to earn God's love, it was given to me. What freedom this was! God's grace is all we need!
2 Corinthians 12:9 says "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
The work had already been done. If I rested in Him, His power and strength (not mine) would be made perfect. Learning that it is not by my works that I am saved but only God's was a game changer for me. I was free. There was no pressure on me. I carried this freedom with me as I went to figure out what was next after gymnastics. I knew I had been give a gift of athleticism so I wanted to use it to glorify Him.
To make a very long story short - I spent my junior year of college learning how to pole vault at a camp in Arkansas and then training at a local high school in Auburn, competed for the AU Track & Field Team my senior year and first year of grad school. I then went on to try out for the US Women's Bobsled Team and competed as a brakeman my first year and then became a pilot and competed as a pilot my second two years. I ended up having a couple of bad crashes that left me with a separated shoulder and a concussion that took a year to get over. Once I healed, I piddled around in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting while becoming a coach - coaching both Gymnastics and Strength & Conditioning.
Was I scared of trying a new sport? What would others think if I failed? Wasn't pole vault and bobsled scary? Absolutely. But I was free - I knew I was loved and accepted by my Father in Heaven. I was made in the image of Jesus Christ. Greater is He that is in me that he who is in the world. And of course it was not easy as I was consistently out of my comfort zone - but I learned to find joy in the trials and tribulations (James 1:2-4) as God was continuing to refine my heart.
So my challenge to you is this: what are the strongholds in your life that are preventing you from experiencing His freedom? I pray you are able to let go of them and find your rest in Him!
For His Glory!
My name is Megan Morse and I currently reside in Marietta, GA with my husband, Dean. After my athletic career ended I went into coaching and personal training for several years and now I am preparing for full time ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I enjoy cooking, working out, anything adventurous, and spending time with my husband and family!