LOS ANGELES — Christian celebrities who attended the Hollywood premiere of "Run the Race" spoke to The Christian Post about why it's important to find one's identity and value outside of work.
“Identity is not who you are in the world’s eyes it’s who you are in God's eyes, and for me that's what it's about,” beloved Christian athlete and co-executive producer of the film, Tim Tebow, told CP.
“Run the Race” star and longtime TV actor Kristoffer Polaha said he thinks his generation is bombarded by social media which makes it more challenging to discover their own identity.
"I think with Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and this cultivated life where you get to basically say, 'Hey, look how amazing my life is,' and then [you] feel like you're not pretty enough, or smart enough, or handsome enough, or skinny enough,” Polaha said. “If you put your identity in these things that fade so quickly, that tends to cause a lot of pain and ultimately a lot of hurt.”
Polaha, who's also a professed Christian, said he encourages people to ask themselves: “'Whose am I?'” and to “find your identity in Christ.”
For his friends who aren't Christian, he said he wants them to one day experience that inner confidence that comes from knowing who one is in Christ.
"It changes the way that you move through life. Because instead of riding on every high and low and putting your identity on how successful you are, especially in Hollywood where one minute you're getting offers and you're making so much money and the next, the phone's not ringing,” he said. "And if you put your identity in that pursuit of success, the pursuit of fame or pursuit of money, you're going to hit bottom fast and hard, and I think it kills people. I think we've seen it enough times in our popular culture.”
Miss Universe 2017 and Tebow’s fiancée, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, is one who knows what it’s like to have a lot of worldly success but admitted that her public achievements are not the things in which she places her value.
“I grew up in a Christian home; I grew up with a Christian family and for me, finding my identity has always been in Christ.” Nel-Peters told CP. “Things don't always go the way that you plan it out to be, but you know that He has a plan for your life.
"Miss Universe was amazing. And it's a year that I will treasure forever. But I'm not defined by that. I'm not defined by a title!” she stressed. “It gave me a platform to be able to do and stand and speak up about the things that I am passionate about and that I have a heart for. I feel like what we do with the platform that we get is what defines us way more than the platform.”
“Woodlawn” star Caleb Castille has a role in “Run The Race” and shared his own struggles with identity.
"This has been my struggle over the past year because I actually was diagnosed with alopecia. And as an actor it's like, 'Oh my gosh, it's my face. It's my hair. It's your image,’ and all that stuff. As soon as that happened to me I was like, 'OK, what am I really putting my identity in, is it in my flesh?'”
“'Jesus said, 'put no confidence in the flesh.' So I really was checked on a lot of those areas over this last year. I think for every young person, I would encourage them to find their identity, literally in Jesus and nothing else. That can sound cliché, [but] no, it really is your stronghold. It really is putting it in that solid rock,” he maintained.
Popular rocker and outspoken Christian Brian Head Welch also chimed in on the subject while on the red carpet.
"The beautiful mystery of Christ in you, that's our identity,” the co-founder of Korn declared. “So I can look like this and then there's all these nice guys here in suits, it's Christ in you, the hope of glory — that's what we all have in common.”
“Run the Race” is no showing in theaters nationwide.
Tanner Stine ("NCIS," HBO's "Here & Now") stars in the movie as Zach; Evan Hofer ("Kickin' It") as his brother, David; Mykelti Williamson ("Fences," "Forrest Gump") as the boys' coach; and Frances Fisher ("Titanic") as their surrogate mother. Supporting cast includes: Kristoffer Polaha, Mario Van Peebles and Heisman-winner Eddie George.
The film was co-executive produced by Trey Brunson, Erik Weir, Erik Dellenback, Joe, Kosakowski, Bill Reeves, and Tim and Robby Tebow.
Directed by Chris Dowling ("Where Hope Grows") and co-written by Jake McEntire, Dowling and Jason Baumgardner, the film is brought to audiences by Reserve Entertainment and 10th Leper Productions.
For more information, visit RuntheRaceMovie.com.