In middle school I went to an FCA Bible meeting and the speaker there challenged us, saying, “If your parents and your pastor and the people that you’ve learned all the things about the Bible and Christ from — if they told you tomorrow that they were giving up on it, is your faith your own? Would you continue believing on your own, even without all of these people who initially led you into this understanding and this lifestyle?”
That question really kind of rocked my world because I had never thought of having to stand on my own two feet in my own faith like that. And I don’t know that it was a pivotal moment where I said, “Yes, I definitely could do that,” but it was something that would come up and challenge me at different moments as I grew as a Christ-follower throughout high school and then into college.
Whether it’s in sports or whether it’s in my faith, I think that I’ve always had the greatest growth when I’ve been really challenged like that.
My sport is a very public thing, and I feel like the most vulnerable place for me is on the starting line of a race. You’re out there, everyone’s watching, and you have a lot to prove in that moment — and the race hasn’t quite started yet.
In contrast to that, I feel like my faith is something that is so individual, it’s never measured against another human being. It’s where I don’t feel vulnerable. It’s where a lot of my self-worth and a lot of my understanding of what is important to me, what I want to achieve in life, comes from.
I really feel like my faith is often what props up my running, instead of the other way around. You can win the World Championships and then still place last in the 800 meters. There’s not nearly as much consistency to rely on in an athletic career as there is in a faith.
I know that this world is so fickle. It gives so much, but it takes so much. And so I think the older I get and the more I experience, I realize that you really can’t rely on anything in this world to be a stable foundation.
In my life, Christ is the most amazing constant because He’s always the same, He’s never going anywhere, and the value that I have — when I see my life through His eyes and see the value that He gives me — that doesn’t change. Whether I’m a great athlete or whether I decide to retire and become a mom, or if I want to have a different career, my value doesn’t change.
—Jenny Simpson, USA Olympic runner