Coming in second is not an easy place for anyone to be in. Coming close but not quite living up to expectations—it's a feeling we are all familiar with and something gymnast Shawn Johnson had to grapple with in front of the entire world as she competed in the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games.
Even though she came away with one gold medal and three silvers, for her coach and the media, she didn't live up to expectations.
And that pressure continued to weigh on her. Until one day when she was preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games, something happened to Johnson that would change her life.
“It’s one of those moments that’s really hard to explain and really hard for a lot of people to understand," Johnson explains in a YouTube video. "But in that one moment I felt like God was telling me, ‘You’ve been so distraught over this decision, and have been putting yourself through all of this, and your family through all of this, and you’ve been afraid of disappointing a lot of people, and not been yourself. But it’s okay to follow your heart and put it behind you.' In that instant, I felt the entire world being lifted off my shoulders."
She continues, "God is the answer to everything. Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross so that when I stood up there and I was given that golden medal, yes, it’s a monumental and amazing experience and wonderful thing, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Yes, I can work my whole life to be a CEO of a company, or to make a certain amount of money, or to win 12 more Olympic gold medals, but it’s not the purpose in life, and He will always be my greatest reward and my proudest reward.”