In my sixth season as a professional volleyball player I experienced firsthand what it feels like to get fired.
What was once taboo is now my reality.
On January 13, 2019, I was released following a loss against the number one team in the Greek league. It was our second loss of the season, which made the decision somewhat confusing. However, my performance was definitely below what I am capable of, and I could sense the inevitable coming for quite some time.
I attempted to live and perform in a state of uncertainty for longer than I would like to admit.
For weeks leading up to the news of my release I tried to feel secure, but questioned my future. I sought out answers amidst rumors, wanting to figure out the situation before it could happen to me.
I thought if I knew what the outcome would be, then I could relax. If my speculation and wondering could be confirmed, then I would sleep. I grasped for control and wanted to dictate the next move.
I am not proud of the way I handled life leading up to my release. God already had His hand in the entire thing. Regardless of the thoughts and conclusions I came to, it was ultimately out of my control.
God had a plan, as He always does. Yet, so many times I tried to create my own.
I tend to lack trust when things feel uncertain. I have a hard time letting go when my life feels unstable. This experience exposed the areas of my faith where I have tremendous room for growth.
Can I get an amen?
I wrestled with God for weeks leading up to being fired. I questioned whether my one-year relationship with Him was as strong as I thought. Not until after my firing was I able to see how He has changed my heart and life.
Such an experience used to hold the power to send me in a downward spiral of self-pity and doubt.
My old identity, as a volleyball player, would have shattered. I would have felt humiliated and ashamed. I probably would have debated ending my career entirely. My fear of what was next and anxiety over my plans being uprooted would have crippled me.
However, my newfound identity and purpose provided a very empowering reaction.
I will not lie. It hurt the heart. I did not leave the discussion with a smile on my face and pep in my step, screaming for joy. In fact, I cried uncontrollably, face in the pillow, on the hotel room bed. I felt immense heartache and disappointment.
But somewhere, deep in that sadness, I felt held. I felt comforted. I felt okay.
Yes, my questions and speculation over getting fired were confirmed. But, I believe the peace that flooded my heart could only come from God.
My emotions were out of control, but my purpose was untouched.
My identity was not compromised because I am rooted in Him.
I did not bear guilt or shame because my loving Father broke those chains.
From the outside, it looked like my athletic career crumbled. But, on the inside I stood on solid rock.
One year ago, this experience would be labeled a failure.
Today, I hesitate to use that word because I am not entirely sure failure even exists.
How can we really fail when God is with us?
No longer does my worth have anything to do with what I accomplish or where I fall short.
Not because I am perfect, but because I am drowned in perfect love.
I feel strong when I am expected to feel weak. I am no longer defined by human standards or an athletic endeavor. I fully trust that God is using me in ways I cannot comprehend.
God utilizes these moments in our lives. He marvels at the bruised. He loves the broken.
I find the most encouragement knowing that God is for me, and not against me.
Whatever happens will be used for good. Trusting that every trial will not go unseen or untouched by the hands of God.
When it feels like we are at our absolute worst, whether it be in life or our athletic career,
God is always at His best.