How Michael Phelps found purpose

Image: How Michael Phelps found purpose

Famous swimmer Michael Phelps has discovered the only thing that gives true direction.

Michael Phelps is one of the most acclaimed Olympic athletes of all time. And earlier this week, he won his nineteenth gold medal.

But a few years ago, Phelps, despite all his success, was not happy. He temporarily retired from swimming, something that had given his life structure and purpose since his teen years, and now his life lacked meaning, and he had no idea how to turn it around. Drugs and alcohol took over, he received several punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol and he spent days in his room considering suicide, believing his reputation was ruined.

That was when God stepped in.

A saved life

When Michael was at his lowest, a Christian friend, Ray Lewis, an NFL star, encouraged him to check into rehab. Lewis also passed on a copy of Pastor Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life.

As Phelps recovered from his addictions, he began reading the book and reflecting on his life. And he called up Lewis, saying, “Man this book is crazy! The thing that’s going on…oh my gosh…my brain, I can’t thank you freaking enough, man. You saved my life.”

Purpose for life

As Michael recovered and read the book, God used the words Pastor Rick Warren wrote to give direction and purpose to his life. Finally, Michael could see that God had a plan and purpose for his life, and he has begun pursuing a relationship with Jesus.

When gold isn’t enough… faith is

As the athletes compete at Rio, all of them will be striving for gold, and for many, even a silver or bronze will be a disappointment.

But even when people do win gold, as Phelps proves, that’s not enough. Even nearly 20 gold medals didn’t give him the purpose, direction and meaning that God did.

In fact, 1 Peter 1:7 tells us that there is something ‘of greater worth than gold’ – faith.

We may not be Olympic athletes, but all of us have goals and dreams for our lives. What happens when we don’t achieve those goals? Or, what happens when we achieve those goals and don’t feel the purpose and satisfaction we thought we’d feel?

The only thing that can really give us purpose and direction in our lives is the pursuit of God. Faith is the only thing worth more than anything else.

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