What a sporting summer! Wimbledon’s Meteoric Murray, Formula One’s Highflying Hamilton and Euro’s Pugnacious Portugal make way for Rory McIlroy and other top golfers as Troon takes the world stage for British Open Golf, shortly followed by the Women’s Scottish Open at Irvine’s Dundonald Links! And didn’t Wales do us proud reaching the semi-finals of the Euro’s! It feels like we’ve hardly blinked between the end of last season and the new football season kicking off shortly. You’ve got to smile at how seriously grown men (and women) take attempts to kick a bag of wind into a rectangular fishing net.

“I jump into a sandpit for a living!” Jonathan Edwards used to say. You might scratch your head at the aims & antics of sports. Sweaty people ‘knocking their pan out’ to get a small ball over a net, into a hole, goal or through upright posts; muscular movers throwing spears, shot-puts, discs & punches; flipping & twisting high divers & smiling mermaids body sculpting in water! I love the ‘Sychronised Swimming’ & marvel at the movement & positions teams shape into, always with beaming smiles!

Screen-Shot-2016-07-11-at-11.29.38-400But spare a thought for those who spend years of daily discipline with the dream of participating in Rio 2016 only to fail at the final hurdle. And if one’s identity is totally wrapped up in reaching a that goal, where do you go when the bottom falls out of your world?

Faith in a God, who unconditionally loves you ‘Whatever’, can help you find your primary sense of value ‘within’ rather than ‘without’. If your sense of value is entirely tied up in achievement & winning, then losing will feel like the ‘end of the world’; whereas if you know that you are truly loved for ‘who’ you are, such knowledge can provide the springboard to a fulfilling life able to better handle seeming failure.

Swimmer ‘Penny Heyns’ describes the difference such experience of God’s Grace can make in your attitude to work & activity, “I love the sense of satisfaction that I get when I’ve done a swimming workout or race, and know that I gave my whole being and heart to God in every moment of the swim. It’s the best worship I can offer him.” So where does your identity lie? What’s the best worship you can give God today?