I grew up going to the local church. Even though as a child I didn’t know much about a relationship with God, I believe He was with me through high school and college. And I definitely went the wrong direction a few times, but I know God was with me and kept my morals intact even though I wasn’t necessarily acknowledging Him.
After college, I moved to California to train with the USA volleyball team and got involved in a Bible study there for the teams along with some sports ministry outreaches. A teammate began a Bible study for the women’s team in 2010, and I started to hear about what a real relationship with God looked like and what it meant to commit to Christ’s will. God put it all on my heart, and I was burning with questions.
Over the next few months, I had a lot of questions to answer and one night with a few friends, I decided to really put my faith in God. It was like a screen door just blew off my heart.
God took me through a time afterward of major growth. My identity was wrapped around the sport of volleyball, and I allowed one area of weakness to control how I felt about myself: my serving. There was so much fear of failure, I was worrying about it 24-7. I had a breakthrough one day after listening to a sermon by Francis Chan about struggles; I felt like God just wanted me to trust His timing and believe He was stirring something and building something in me.
After trying a ton of different serves, I did this jump float and it felt so natural. I put the serve in that next scrimmage and played with so much freedom and joy. That was the turning point. God began showing me how to play with Him, not for Him. That’s what brings me the greatest joy.
The biggest thing the Lord taught me during the Olympics is not to think ahead or reflect on the past but to stay in the present with Him. I had learned so much from my past, and the character-molding made me who I am in the present. He brings me peace in the moment and keeps me there instead of moving into the future and worrying about what’s ahead.
— Christa Dietzen, USA volleyball player