The question at hand is, “What motivates me?”

For most of my life, it was things like recognition; success; pride; reaching my goals; striving to be enough for my parents, coaches and friends; and I think most of all, fear of failure. Yet, these are all worldly motivations, which means they can disappoint. And, they do disappoint. I quickly got caught up trying to reach for these things, only to find out that when I “made it,” it wasn’t enough.

For example, I used to constantly get weighed down by the expectation to perform perfectly.

Growing up, I was the best setter in my age group. For that reason, I was always on the top team, running a 5-1. In high school, I won two state championships; and my senior year I led my team to a perfect 31-0 record, landing myself a spot on the National Player Watch List.

Heading into college, the coach that recruited me told me that I was going to be the starting setter my freshman year. And, I would be running the same offense I did in high school, a 5-1.

I have spent the past four years as the starting setter and team captain, which has enabled me to break the University’s record for assists. Looking at all of this from the outside, it probably seems as though everything was going my way, and this it was, well, “perfect.” And I would have to agree. Everything was perfect.

Yet, despite everything that went my way, the pressure to be perfect started to take a big toll on me. If I wasn’t perfect, then I was a failure. The pressure crippled me. Every time I didn’t set the perfect ball, I would think that my hitters hated me. I felt like I was letting my entire team down every time I would make a mistake. I started hating myself, telling myself I wasn’t good enough to play.

Instead of the empty motivations that only temporarily fulfilled me, like wanting to be perfect because I fear failure, I needed a motivation that was consistent and permanent. And, I found it in God. His love should be my greatest motivation and my identity lies in Him.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Towell // Seattle Pacific University // troutstreaming.com

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12

I find this verse encouraging because it tells me that God has made it so easy for us to become His children. He calls each and everyone one of us because He loves each and every one of us. I learned, and now know, that my identity is in Christ alone. No matter what my motivations are, whether I disappoint others, fall short or fail, none of it matters because my ultimate motivation is God and what He says about me. Instead of fear, I choose freedom. And freedom comes with knowing my truth comes from God.

In Christ, I am secure.

I know God is in control of the circumstances of my life, even when things feel out of control. And, even when I’m not getting the results I hoped for.

In Christ, I am secure.

I say it again because it’s something I always have to remind myself. The thing about truths is they aren’t always easy to believe. Especially, when the world tells you that your worth is based on your performance in your sport or competition. But, knowing and believing truth can allow you to play free of fear.

Once I reminded myself that I am secure in Christ, and that nothing I did could keep me from Him, I was able to play my best volleyball because I was no longer afraid of worldly opinions.

I encourage you to find a truth that you can always hold on to because you are secure, you are accepted, you are never alone, you are completely forgiven, you are significant, you are satisfied, you are worthy, you lack nothing, you are perfectly loved, and regardless if the the scoreboard shows a win or a loss, God has already won the greatest battle for you.

-Symone Tran

Symone Tran is a senior setter for the Seattle Pacific University Falcons women’s volleyball team. She holds the school record for most career assists with more than 3,000 assists.

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