“She is clothed with dignity and strength and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
Athletes clothe themselves in the attire best suited to compete in their sport. But swimmer Missy Franklin and gymnast Laurie Hernandez are most concerned with clothing their hearts and minds with the attitudes of Christ: humility, service, love of others, dignity and strength. And so, they both resonate deeply with Proverbs 31:25.
For Missy, going through injury has brought on a whole new perspective of Christ’s strength, and how that plays out in her swimming.
“It’s been incredible to see, you know, in my weakness, His strength… I pray before every session at a swim meet and there’s some days, I think there’s two in particular that I can remember, two different meets, where I remember praying and saying, ‘I don’t think I can make it through this without You. I need you right now and I’m asking for this more than anything. I need you.’ And in both those two races He just showed up so much more than I could have ever dreamt of or ever expected.”
“With strength and dignity” has become a mantra for Missy. She feels that this verse speaks to so many different areas of life, so many different circumstances. She tries to apply it every situation. “It’s easy to win “with strength and dignity,” you know, it’s easy to be successful “with strength and dignity.” It’s hard to be disappointed “with strength and dignity,” it’s hard to lose “with strength and dignity.” Going through those times, it’s like, “ok, I need to remember what’s important here and I need to remember to act the exact same way right now that I would be if I had just gone a world record in a best time.” And that’s been a whole new challenge in itself.”
One of Missy’s sponsors, Speedo, added a reminder of that verse –“With dignity and strength” to the straps on her goggles. Missy shared, “That is just so cool because every time I put them on before I race, it reminds me Who I’m racing for, what I’m racing for… thinking as long as I race this race with strength and dignity, I’m going to be proud. I’m going to be proud of myself; I’m going to be proud of the results. To me, that’s what’s going to make me happy… So even though the goggles are small, it’s kind of cool to actually have a materialistic object that I can remind myself of that.”
Laurie Hernandez feels the same way. “I'm a big believer in saying everything happens for a reason because God has the reason but he's just not telling you…the plan God is giving me right now, I just have to take it and run with it.”
Laurie feels strongly that the Lord has a specific path for everyone. Her job is to work hard at the things she can control and trust that God has the best plan for her future with whatever comes out of it. “When I hear [Proverbs 31:25, that's me in a bible verse. I don't fear the future anymore; I’m just letting everything unravel and seeing where I end up. I’m coming in, training as hard as I can. If I make it, that would be amazing. But if I don’t, then that’s a different path God wants me to take and I know that there are better and great things God wants me to do. “
Both of these athletes rely heavily on God’s word in shaping their lives. You can do the same. Check out the Struggles and Triumphs daily devotional on You Version, and join a number of athletes as they share about how Christ has worked in their lives.
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