Have you ever said those six little words in the title to yourself or a friend? It’s amazing how the simple things can have a dramatic impact. Today, we are speaking to Olympic snowboarding champion Kelly Clark. Kelly shares with us how these six words changed her life and the impact they continue to have not only on her, but also on her sport.
4word: Kelly, will you share your testimony with us?
Kelly: Growing up I always thought that when I was successful, I would also be happy. I won the Olympics when I was 18 years old, I had accomplished everything that was in my heart, and it was great, but I was not fulfilled. I was living the dream, but I was not happy. I found myself just going through the motions. I was just really over it. I was over life and I did not think anyone cared what I did.
I went to an event starting out my 2004 season and overheard some of my competitors talking. One of them had fallen and failed to make finals. Her friend joking said to her, “It’s all right, God still loves you.” There was something about that comment that I could not ignore. I thought to myself, if God loved her, perhaps He loves me.
I found out that girl was staying in my hotel, so I went to her room knocked on her door and said, “Hi, my name is Kelly, I think you might be a Christian and I think you need to tell me about God.” I guess I had an idea that being a Christian was about being religious and being good. She basically said that following Jesus was about relationship, not religion. I took a few months to search it out. In the spring, I had come to the conclusion that God was real, that He loved me and that I wanted to live my life with Him.
4word: How has your faith become your foundation as you are called to be a snowboarder? In what ways has your faith changed your snowboarding?
Kelly: It is easy to get your identity from what you do. I think I looked for my self- worth in my snowboarding for a long time. And if you have ever been there, you know it is a tough place to be. I became dependent on my performance to determine how I felt about myself at the end of the day. Developing my sense of significance apart from what I did opened up snowboarding to me in a whole new way. It was something I got to do- not something I had to do.
4word: Have other Olympic athletes asked you questions about your faith? How do you share your faith with them?
Kelly: I have found that people don’t care what you know till they know that you care. I always try to live a life of consistency so people know what they are going to get. Based off of my relationships I have with the people in my industry, if there is ever a need spiritually, I am usually the person they end up talking with. I think we are meant to encounter God and be an encounter to others. So it is a privilege to be in a place where someone could “meet” God through me.
4word: Many people struggle with trusting in their own efforts for success, compared to trusting God. How have you managed this tension?
Kelly: For me, success looks like faithfulness. There are so many things that I can not control out there. I want to be able to look back and see that I made the most of my opportunity. I have found that God is into what is in your heart. He just wants your heart.
4word: What are you passionate about?
Kelly: I love life! I love what I do, I love people. Its been amazing to pursue God and pursue what is in my heart. I have a passion to see other people take what I have done and go further than I have gone. I hope that I am able to inspire people to dream big and believe that nothing is impossible.
4word: How can 4word support you and other Olympic athletes?
Kelly: We need all the prayer we can get! I always say that behind every great athlete is a team of great people. And that team starts with prayer.
Where does your identity come from? Do you need to discover, or perhaps re-discover God’s love for you?
A three-time Olympic medalist – gold in 2002, bronze in 2010, bronze in 2014 -Kelly Clark is a trailblazer and dominant force in the sport. Arguably the most influential female in the halfpipe snowboarding world, Kelly Clark moves the sport where she would like it to go. She continually pushes the innovation and amplitude of her riding to new heights to make history and set new records. Her bag of tricks have won her over 60 career events- the most for any male or female snowboarder in history. Follow Kelly on Twitter.