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Simone Biles: Filling the God-Shaped Hole in Life
April 25, 2017
The world promises us happiness in so many things. Wealth. Success. Popularity. Awards. The list goes on and on.
Most of these things aren't inherently bad - and they can in fact contribute to our happiness. We have certain needs that these things can fulfill.
However, sometimes we try to use these things for purposes they were never intended for. Sometimes we let money or popularity take the space in our lives that can only be filled by God.
There are many celebrities who have everything that is glamorized by pop culture - and yet they are incredibly unhappy. The God-shaped whole in their lives is empty - and this God-shaped hole is the centerpiece that holds everything else together. Like a mansion built on sand, a "rich" life that is not built on top of God will quite likely fall apart.
One famous example of this is Michael Jordan. Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. He was paid over $30 million per year, and he won NBA Championships time and time again. Nobody can dispute that his career is incredibly impressive and inspiring.
But unfortunately, Jordan's personal life was not so great. In the middle of his playing career, he left his wife and kids. He also faced a terrible gambling addiction. Despite his wealth and notoriety, Jordan had some major self-imposed issues in his life. Issues that would not be present in a life firmly grounded in Christianity.
Another great example of this is Arnold Schwarzenegger. From bodybuilding, to the acting, to politics, Schwarzenegger seemed to achieve success in every possible way. But much like Michael Jordan, he faced a self-imposed personal crisis when his wife left him in 2011 after finding out he was the biological father of their housekeeper's son. Schwarzenegger tried to remedy the scandel, telling his wife that he "still found her to be incredibly sexy."
Had Schwarzenegger filled the God-shaped hole in his life, this wouldn't have happened. He would have realized that marriage is binding, sacred, and so much deeper than finding your spouse to be "incredibly sexy." He still has his fame and his fortune, but with a broken family, I don't think his life as a whole is worthy of envy.
Tiger Woods is yet another celebrity whose world came crashing down because of sexual scandel. Not only is Tiger's family broken, but he hasn't won a single major tournament since his scandelous behavior was revealed in 2009.
These celebrities tried to live "the good life" with a God-shaped hole in their lives, and they all failed. This begs us to ask the question: In a society where celebrities can be so corrupt and misguided, who can we look up to as a modern-day role-model??
Enter Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
Raised by her grandparents in Spring, TX, Simone Biles provides a stellar example of what Christians should strive for in every aspect of their lives. At just 20 years old, Biles made history at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, as she became the first American gymnast to ever earn four gold medals at a single Olympic Games. Her success was so remarkable that her USA teammates gave her the honor of leading them with the American flag at the Closing Ceremonies for the Olympics.
But what's even more impressive is how Biles has become a devout Christian in the midst of her professional success. Her grandparents instilled in her a love for the Catholic faith that helped her lead the life she truly desired.
The goal of being a good Christian is not to simply avoid crisis and mortal sin - it is to fully blossom into the person God created you to be. This idea is reflected in the life Simone Biles has led. In the very first chapter of her autobiography Courage to Soar, Biles says, "My grandparents, Ron and Nellie, have always taught me that the first step to making dreams real is to ask for God's guidance."
That's a Pinterest-worthy gem if I've ever heard one - and I think it's no coincidence that this extraordinary young Christian woman has managed to have a vibrant family life away from her gymnastics career. Biles' entire life is worthy of admiration and praise.
All of us are seeking this complete and fulfilling life Simone Biles has led - and to do that requires more than just the knowledge of Christian virtues. Knowledge is power, but only if we act on it! Still, we know that even at the most challenging times, it is possible, and we can model our lives after that of Simone Biles to become gold medalists ourselves. Gold medalists for gymnastics, gold medalists for good, gold medalists for God.