What a National Title Taught Me About My Identity - by Amanda Farrough
I thought being a National Champion was the ultimate achievement.
I thought that a trophy and being able to tell people that I was a national champion would make me happy.
I thought that’s all I wanted.
I remember the day I won a National Title like it was yesterday. Every little detail, sitting in my hotel room thinking about my race plan. I remember my coach grabbing me and saying:
“You and both know you can win this.”
I remember going on my warm-up run thinking about how it was going to feel if I won, how happy I was going to be, how happy everyone else was going to be. I stood in the holding area waiting for them to take us out to the track then they took us out to start the race. I toed the line, thinking this is it, this is what I’ve been waiting for, I’m going to win today. Everything I had been working for had come to this moment, my identity was resting on this one moment.
I did it.
I stood on the podium with my trophy. This was it.
I was finally able to say I was a national champion.
That night when I got back to my hotel room, I sat on my bed rewatching the clip as I crossed the finish line as a champion. I replayed the moment over and over again.
I sat there thinking wow, this is it, this is what it feels like? I remember telling myself I was just tired, and that once I got some sleep everything would be better.
I woke up the next morning feeling the same. Everyone around me was so happy, so I just went with it. I just kept hoping that the feeling of success would set in at some point. I wanted so badly to feel happy, to feel excited, to feel fulfilled about my win. But I didn’t. Instead I was stuck with the idea of what do I do now?
How could I win and still not be happy?
Along the way I made everything I did about winning. I was so tied up in the notion that I had to win, that I forgot about the process, I forgot about the people who were there for me, I forgot what life was like before I was a runner. I had taken this idea of what I thought was the ultimate achievement and tied my identity to it, my self-worth. But those feelings don’t last, the highs that come from success, the fulfillment after you achieve something you’ve been working towards, it’s all temporary.
Too often people, me included, base their identity on what they do; their jobs, their roles in relationships, their success, financial status, appearances, etc. However, what happens when circumstances change? What if you don’t have that amazing job anymore, you’re not in the awesome relationship – your foundation that you’ve built yourself around is shaken. The simple truth is that God intended for us to find our identity in him, not our job, not our success. We are loved, we are accepted, we are chosen, we are forgiven, and when we are in Christ, these aspects of our identity, no matter what happens, cannot be shaken.
-Amanda Farrough, NCAA DII National Champion, member of the Believe Brand Co. family
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