Athlete, You are Created in the Image of God


Athlete, You are Created in the Image of God

Dean Thornton

Psalm 139:13-14‬ (‭NIV)‬‬

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Just 10.5 seconds … 10.5 seconds from point A to point B on a track. It’s within that time I felt the most understood in my whole entire life – as an athlete – but not as a person. 

Sprinters in track and field only have a short time to make an impression, a short time to really show everyone that they are the best at what they do. For me, 10.5 seconds was the culmination of my track career, the statistic I knew no one could take away from me. 

A moment in time where I felt for once normal, now an All-American.

Off the track I felt everything but normal. I felt my peers at school, my family, congregates at church, had it all figured out – the solution to what normal was as a person. It took a long time to learn that many don’t have life all figured out. 

In the song “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls, it talks about how one may feel that they don’t want the world to see them, because they do not think that society is ready to understand them. For as long as I was a student, “my world” was school and being on campus with my peers, in a bubble.

My lens that I was looking at life through at the time, made me feel like I could only be understood as an athlete, because being just Dean wasn’t enough. 

In school if you don’t seem to have it all together, you are quickly cast out, and for me, unknowingly dealing with mental health issues and social skills issues, I felt invisible. People fear what they don’t understand, and if they don’t understand you, one can quickly become an enemy. 

In today’s verse the psalmist David talks about how God created each one of us uniquely and perfect to Him in our mother’s womb. In today’s society so many of us try to hide our imperfections in order to appear perfect, but it’s all for naught because we are already made perfect in Christ. 

I have come a long way in my mental health journey and I consider myself in a healthier place in my recovery journey now. God has shown me my purpose in life and through that I feel that I can help others who have gone through the same. I can be happy with the man I see in the mirror, because God created me and all of us in His own image, and it’s because of that we are enough.

(If you are also struggling with mental health, here are some resources you may find helpful: you find yourself in crisis, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline, at 988, or at 1.800.273.8255.)


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