My last couple years in high school I thought I was a pretty good shooter (captain of the Junior All-America team and Team USA in 2002). However, in big tournaments my performances were not very good. As captain, in 2002 I was the reason why the junior team didn’t win gold.
The following year my performances were very up and down. In fact, the next three years of my life I went through some growing pains that halted the progress of my shooting. I made some bad decisions and found myself in some dark places, and my shooting performances remained inconsistent during this time.
In the summer of 2006, I decided I needed to change things in my life. I met a girl then whom I really liked — an attractive girl who loved God. She challenged me to figure out what I believe spiritually, and it really got me thinking. I asked myself what I believe, why I believe it, and do I really believe it is real?
However, instead of leaning on God during this time and finding out who I am in Christ, I wrapped my life around this girl. My identity as a person was in her and in shooting. Since I was mainly motivated by two people — a girl and myself — my performances were really good at times when things were going well. If things would get rocky between this girl and me, my performance would often suffer. I was completely enamored by her and she eventually broke my heart because God wasn’t the center of our relationship or my life.
During this time I became involved with Athletes in Action at the University of Arizona. I learned that Jesus should be the center of my life and that I need to find my identity in Him. It is tough rewiring your thought process that you’ve had for so long, but I discovered that it’s worth it. The moments when you encounter God are the most rewarding moments you will ever experience!
I attended AIA’s Ultimate Training Camp in the summer of 2008. At the camp you learn five principles about incorporating God into sport and what that looks like. At the end of the week you partake in a 24-hour competition of many different sporting events called the SPECIAL (Scriptural Principles Exhaustion = Confidence In the Almighty Lord). You basically experience physical fatigue in such a way that you have nothing left but to rely on Christ to get you through. It’s amazing! That is where I realized I had to give my entire life to Christ…not just a piece of the pie.
These hard times caused me to turn to God, which has made me the man I am today. The Biblical truths I’ve learned over the last three years have taught me healthy ways to deal with obstacles and adversity. These truths have also allowed me to live and compete freely because I know that “life is an away-game and heaven is home.”
— Gebben Miles, USA Sporting Clays Champion