The first time my dad shamed me into riding a roller coaster, I couldn't wait to get off. Roller coasters aren't always fun.
This week, Tim Tebow's roller coaster ride took a serious dive. When he came to the New York Jets a year ago, he was the toast of the town. Then they barely played him. This week, they released him. And as of right now, there are no guarantees another team will pick him up.
It's been a wild ride for the quarterback known for his trademark – one-knee "Tebowing" prayer. Heisman Trophy winner as America's outstanding college player. Called on mid-season to quarterback the faltering Denver Broncos – and leading them to the playoffs. Drafted to play in the "Big Apple."
Then "see ya!" from the Jets.
Discouraging. You bet. Tim Tebow even said that himself.
Devastating? I doubt it.
Because even when the ride is crazy, Tim Tebow's coaster never leaves the tracks. He's anchored. He knows who he is without football.
And that's hard. To know who you are when you can't do what you do. When suddenly the company you worked so hard for decides they don't need you. When an illness or a disability robs you of your ability to work anymore. Or even when the children you've lived for leave you with an empty nest.
I still remember the day years ago when that doctor told me there was a dangerous growth on my vocal cords. He sentenced me to weeks of voice rest to see if surgery could be avoided.
I'm a speaker. It's what I do. And sometimes, I have to admit, it's been who I am. Suddenly, I had to contemplate losing the ability that, in many ways, defined me. If I could never speak again, would I know who I am?
So many of life's "I.D. cards" are like that. Loseable. The youthful beauty. The "Adonis" body. The fleeting accomplishments. The applause. The title. Even the one who promised to love you "till death do us part."
After Tim Tebow was released by the Jets, he tweeted a glimpse of where he's found his identity. It's from the Bible: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
A team may dump you. A friend. A boyfriend or girlfriend. A spouse. An employer. If they're where you get your worth, they take it with them when they walk out the door. We need an identity we cannot lose.
That boyhood roller coaster really jerked me around. But no matter how rough the ride, it got me safely to my destination.
That's the test of where I'm staking my value, my identity. Will it carry me all the way to my destination? Even when the bottom drops out.
That's why I'm going with Tim Tebow's "trust in Lord" I.D. After all, we are in the Bible's words, "God's workmanship," "created by Him and for Him" (Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:16).
Thanks to Jesus, I've landed who I really am. My Bible tells me I am "complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10). Complete. Nobody on earth gave me my worth. Nobody on earth can take it away.
I feel so safe, staking everything on the One who said, "I know (My sheep)...I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from Me" (John 10:27-28 - NLT).
I know He won't dump me. He died for me.