Back To The Basics

Here’s a quick life update since I disappeared seven months ago…

I know I’ve been MIA, but a lot has been happening! As I mentioned in my last post, I am no longer coaching gymnastics. Back in October right after my shoulder surgery, I felt like that door was closing and another one was opening. I had no idea when or where, but I knew it was time to move on. Over the past three years, I’ve really wanted to pursue a career in teaching Pilates, but with my coaching schedule in the past, that was virtually impossible. But after I quit my job, my husband and I began researching Pilates certifications, and the Lord led me to the most AMAZING place. In January, I began my certification process, and I’m finishing my trainings this weekend! Now, I still have LOTS of teaching hours to get in before I test out to get my full certification in December, but I’m having a blast! Teaching Pilates has allowed me to reconnect with friends that I wasn’t in contact with for years! It’s been so challenging and out of my comfort zone, but this whole process has had Jesus written all over it. For the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel confident in who He created me to be. And I love having the opportunity to live out my passion of fitness and teaching through becoming a Pilates instructor.

All that being said, I still have my passion for gymnastics. Always have, always will. It will always have a piece of me. And I’m okay with that. But more than that, I have a passion for gymnasts and hopefully helping them walk confidently and successfully through challenges that I’ve faced myself. Not just in gymnastics, but also in life. This confidence isn’t found in yourself or knowing all the answers to the difficulties you’re facing. It’s a confidence that Jesus has your back. NO MATTER WHAT.

I’m writing because Jesus reminded me of this in the most tangible way tonight. Long story short, the past three years have been the most difficult, yet most beautiful years of my life. In the past three years, I’ve struggled with ENORMOUS amounts of anxiety and fear. My family completely fell apart. Everything I grew up with for over 20 years suddenly collapsed. I started realizing the amount of anxiety I had wasn’t just because of the situation my family was in, although it amplified it to the max. I became keenly aware of the anxiety that has plagued me my entire life.

Add to that, I was planning a wedding and about to get married in the midst of all this. My sweet husband… I’m so thankful for his unconditional love and support through that time in my life. He is the most incredible gift God has ever given me. He’s the beautiful part of that story.

And so is Jesus. Now, coming out on the other side of things, I see Jesus’ love through it all. Even though it felt like He up and left me, He never did. He used my pain in that season of my life and made something beautiful out of it. He showed me my anxiety. Not to shame me. Not to hurt me. But to free me. He spoke to me during that time and I remember His words so clearly: “I care more about your freedom than your comfort.” I’m so thankful He was patient with me. In my crying, in my doubting, in my worst days, He was there fighting the battle against anxiety with me. And He still is…

All that to say, I still struggle with anxiety. It’s a billion times better than it was, but it likes to rear it’s ugly head from time to time. And some days that leads to me really struggling to understand God’s love.

You know the song you learned when you were a two-year-old, “Jesus Loves Me”?

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

For the past few weeks, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Maybe I just need to sing that song over my life again. Jesus loves me. But that’s so simple. That’s ridiculous…” I honestly kind of laughed at the thought.

I didn’t sing it. It was a fleeting thought. But it came more than once. And I dismissed it every time.

Fast forward to today. Hillsong Young & Free came out with a new album a couple of weeks ago. I really started digging in and listening to it today in my car. And it’s INCREDIBLE. Sean had a work meeting tonight, so I just hopped on my computer and wanted to play some music. I pulled up the album on Spotify and was scrolling through the songs.

#7 – Jesus Loves Me.

Um… What? I looked up the lyrics and lo and behold, it was a modern day version of the classic “Jesus Loves Me.” I felt Jesus smiling at me laughing a little. “Simple and ridiculous, huh, Tyler?”

It’s the simplest things sometimes. He’s the still small voice saying, “I love you.” And tonight, I want to remind you that He loves you, too. In your gymnastics, in your everyday life, He loves you. He’s got your back.

Sometimes we need to go back to the basics…

“Jesus loves me, this I know.”


I’m back! Sorry I disappeared for the last month. I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery, and it was super difficult to type with one hand. My mom came into town for the first few days to help Sean take care of me, but for the past three weeks, it’s just been me, Sean, and the pups. Oh yeah… and my physical therapist who I have to see quite frequently so he can try to rip my arm off. At least that’s how it feels sometimes. Anyway…

The past month has been extremely difficult. For many reasons. Figuring out how to do life with one arm is tough. Like, I know my other arm is still there, but I can’t use it fully. Ugh! It’s been so frustrating! Sean had to wash my hair and still has to put it up for me (which seriously tests my patience because I really like to be in control of my hair). He had to help me get ready in the morning. He still has to make my bed for me on the couch at night because I can’t sleep in a bed quite yet without hurting. But as hard as this has been, I’ve discovered how incredibly amazing my husband is. I mean, I already knew that when I married him, but he just continues to get more and more amazing. He has truly taken care of me and loved me so deeply through this healing process. And this healing process is still another two months! Help me!!!!! But for real though. Sean is the most amazing human on planet earth. And I love him with everything.

Also in the past month, I made the decision that it was time to move on from coaching. I knew this day would come, but honestly I didn’t think it would be this soon. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you have to make the best decision for yourself.

This decision wasn’t easy. It was actually heartbreaking. I absolutely adore the girls I coached for the past year and a half. And it’ll be tough to not see them everyday. But after lots and lots of conversations with Sean, we decided it was time for me to pursue the other desires I’ve had in my heart for a while now. More about that later.

I say all that to say that disappointment has been like a shadow on my life lately and it just won’t seem to go away. My hope is getting tired and weary. My heart is struggling to make sense of it all. Even in the Message Version of the Bible it says, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick…” (Proverbs 13:12). And I feel like that is the perfect description of me right now. Heartsick. The second part of Proverbs 13:12 sounds a lot better: “…but a sudden good break can turn life around.”

But… God! Where’s that good break! I need it! I need it like water in a desert! I mean, come on now. In one month, I’ve had surgery AND now I don’t have a job. I feel like I’m falling apart. Not to mention I haven’t even been able to try to find something else to do because I’ve been in a dumb sling. And I’m still recovering. For what seems like forever.

Even in all this pain (physical and emotional), somehow I still feel a glimmer of hope. I certainly don’t know all the answers. But one thing I am certain of is this: God, my Father, will take care of me. He’s not surprised by any of this. It hasn’t thrown Him for a loop like it has me.

How do I know this? Because He has always taken care of me. Even in my darkest moments. Even when I’ve felt like He wasn’t there. Like He had forgotten about me. He always has a plan and a purpose. Do I believe that He’s the one who has caused all this pain? Absolutely not. But I do know there is purpose in the pain. But what does that mean, exactly?

In the Bible in Romans 8:28, it says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God…”

I love God. I really do. And my goodness am I thankful that He causes everything to work together for my good. Because He loves me. So even though I’m not quite sure what this next season of life has in store for me, I know He does. I know He has a plan.

Honestly, this post doesn’t have a whole lot to do with gymnastics. But I think it very much can be applied to gymnasts. How many times in your gymnastics career have you been disappointed? Maybe it’s something you did. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was something completely out of your control.

I feel like disappointment is part of any sport that strives for perfection. Because when we start to put the standard of perfection on ourselves, we get disappointed. Everytime. Because we as people just aren’t perfect. But I’m here to tell you today that if you’re facing disappointment right now like I am, whether it’s in gymnastics, school, or maybe just life in general, there is hope. I’m waiting for it too. But I can tell you it’s coming.

Some of you might be reading this and going, “Um… how do you trust in something you can’t see? How do you know that God is real? And if He is real, how do you know He has good plans and not bad plans for you?” First of all, I know because the Bible tells me so. And I believe the Bible. Second of all, I know Him. Have I seen him? No. But I’ve felt Him. I’ve felt Him in ways that bring more comfort than any human or thing could ever bring.

If you don’t believe me, let me give you a challenge. This might sound weird, but do it anyway. When you’re by yourself, maybe in your room, maybe in the shower, I want you to talk to God. Talk to Him as if you would talk to a friend. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to show you His love. Ask Him to bring you His comfort. And He’ll show up. I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you exactly what it’ll be like. But He’ll show up. Trust me.

My prayer for you is that you will experience love, peace, and comfort like you’ve never experienced before. God is there with you. Even in your disappointment. You just have to be willing to let Him into your life. He’s a perfect gentleman. He won’t barge in. But if you ask, He’ll be there in a moment. Because He loves you, too.

Confidence vs. Pride

When I was eight years old, I remember my coach telling my mom that some of my teammates were saying that I had been bragging. My eight-year-old heart was devastated. I was so embarrassed. I never wanted to brag about my gymnastics. I never wanted to hurt my teammates feelings.

I remember walking in the gym that day so sad and scared and embarrassed. I was scared my teammates didn’t want me there. I didn’t want to look them in the eye. I was so discouraged.

From that point on, I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything about myself that could hurt my teammates. And in my little brain, that meant not saying anything positive about myself. I thought being humble meant being negative about my gymnastics and myself. When people found out I did gymnastics and asked me if I was good, I could never look them in the eye and say yes with confidence. I was always hesitant. I hated those questions. They made me afraid I was going to hurt someone.

I was afraid to own the fact that I was a good gymnast my entire gymnastics career because of that one moment. And that one moment made me buy into the lie that I had to be negative about myself to keep from being prideful.

I still struggle with this today. Sean, my husband, tells me all the time to stop being so negative about myself. But it’s like second nature to me at this point. Sometimes the words come out of my mouth before I even realize what I’m saying.

I’m really trying to work on this myself because negative words are SO destructive. What you say about yourself is what you eventually start to believe. And when you don’t stop, you just keep digging out your negativity hole. It gets bigger and bigger and soon, you’re stuck in the hole. You look around and all you see are the negative things you’ve spoken about yourself. The positive begins to disappear.

What I’m learning as I get older is there is a very big distinction between being prideful and being confident. Pride is thinking you’re all that. It’s believing you’re better than everyone else. And a lot of times, pride involves vocalizing that belief.

Have you ever been around someone who just talks about how great they are all the time? They talk about all the skills they’re getting, how much stronger they are than everyone else, how they’re skipping a level because they’re just so good. I think we all know someone like that. And that’s pride. Pride isn’t fun to be around. It builds itself up and tears everyone else down.

Confidence builds you up while building other people up in the process. It sees your short comings, but in spite of them says, “You can do this.” Confidence is seeing the negative and throwing the positive in its face. At the 2016 Olympics, Laurie Hernandez was getting ready to compete beam finals, and she was so nervous. But right after she saluted, she told herself, “I got this.” If you watch the video, you can even see her say it to herself. That’s confidence. Right when she started to get nervous and doubt started to creep in, she said to herself, “Nope. I got this.” There was no pride involved. Just confidence in herself. And she won the silver.

Now, let’s think for a second how her beam routine might have ended up if she had let her fear and nerves take over. Sure, she might have done the same beam routine. Maybe even still have gotten the silver. But I personally believe that if she hadn’t set her mind straight, she would have done a beam routine that was shaky and full of nerves and fear. And I think it would have been evident, resulting in lots of wobbles, maybe even a fall. I truly believe that’s the power we have over our mind. And she proved it.

Think about yourself for a minute. Where do you land when you think about your gymnastics? Do you have the tendency to be negative about yourself? Do you tend to talk about how great you are all the time? Or do you look your challenges, mistakes, and fears in the face and say, “I got this”?

Words are powerful. And because your words (or thoughts) can either build you up or destroy you, I want you to take some time to evaluate yourself. Really think about times you’ve been negative, prideful, and confident. Take yourself back to those moments and think about how you could have responded in a way that would have built you or your teammates up instead of tearing all of you down.

You have a choice every day you walk in the gym. You can choose to be negative, you can choose to be prideful, or you can choose to be confident. The choice is yours. So, what will you choose today?

Whose Gymnastics Are You Focused On?

When I was a gymnast, my mom used to ask me, “Whose gymnastics are you focused on?” So often I would come home from practice and tell her all about my teammates, and it usually had to do with one of three things: envy, jealousy, or comparison.

Let’s talk about the difference between these three things for a minute.

Envy is wishing you had something someone else has. For example, in the gymnastics world, it’s easy to be envious of the girl who gets five new skills a day, but it takes you a year to get five new skills. You wish you could be like her.

Jealousy is a fear that someone else will replace you. For example, maybe you are the best gymnast on the team, and because of that you get most of the attention. But then all of a sudden, someone else starts to get more attention. Your coach starts to point them out instead of you. And you become jealous of her. You become afraid that she is going to take your place. Jealousy is extremely common in friendship amongst teammates as well.

Comparison is comparing what you have or can do to what someone else has or can do. Comparison causes you to either think very negatively about yourself or to think very highly of yourself and believe you are better than everyone else. For example, you see your teammate get a new skill that you don’t have yet. You compare yourself to her and say, “How does she have that skill and I don’t? I must be an awful gymnast.” Or maybe you are the one who gets the new skill that your teammates don’t have yet, and it causes you to say, “I have this skill and they don’t. I’m so much better than they are.”

Do you see how all three of these can be destructive not only to you, but to your team as well? Envy, jealousy, and comparison are all nasty! But it’s something we all struggle with. Especially as girls. Especially as gymnasts.

I want you to think about yourself for a second. Which of these three things do you tend to struggle with the most? Maybe it’s only one. Maybe it’s all three. Whatever you struggle with, I have good news for you! You can overcome! You can become a gymnast who focuses only on your gymnastics while supporting your teammates without envy, jealousy, or comparison!

Now, I didn’t say it was easy. These three things seem to come naturally to us as human beings, so it takes a little retraining of our minds. Instead of thinking of yourself as better or worse than your teammates, here are some things I want you to begin to think of yourself as:

SUPPORTER. You are your teammates’ supporter. How amazing does it feel when you have the support of someone? When you have someone who supports you and your dream, it makes all the difference in the world. And you can be that for your teammates. Everyone needs support. So choose to be that support for them.

ENCOURAGER. In combination with being your teammates’ supporter, you are also their encourager. It feels so good to know you have someone there to encourage you when it’s a great day and pick you back up when it’s a rough one. But not only are you your teammates’ encourager, you’re also your own encourager. It’s time to start encouraging yourself! I have a gymnast that I currently coach who literally talks to herself. When she’s getting ready to go for a skill, she audibly says, “You’ve got this. You’re gonna go.” And I love it! I love how she drowns out the negative with the positive. Maybe you don’t say it audibly, but in your head, remind yourself that you’ve got this.

CONQUEROR. You, my friend, are a conqueror. Everyone has their own struggles. What you struggle with isn’t what your teammate struggles with. You have your strengths and weaknesses, and so do they. So instead of focusing on your weaknesses and their strengths, I want you to focus on how you can conquer your weaknesses and help your teammates do the same. After all, you are a team. You all need each other! Your strength might help someone else in their weakness. But if you’re too busy focusing on how terrible you are you’re never going to help anyone. Especially not yourself.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post on negativity and how it’s contagious. Well… so is positivity and encouragement! I want to challenge you to be the example. Even if no one else is doing it. Choose to be the supporter. Be the encourager. Be the conqueror. When your teammates see your example, they’ll soon follow. It’s contagious! They need you. And you need them.

So let me ask you, whose gymnastics are you focused on?

Injured? Remember These Things…

Injuries are awful. I hate them. I hate the uncertainty. I hate the waiting. I hate the patience they require. But goodness do we experience a lot of injuries as gymnasts.

I remember going to a doctor’s appointment one time and the doctor asking me to tell her all the injuries I had had. I looked at my mom with a look I’m pretty sure said, “Are you kidding me?! We’ll be here all day!” But, I sat there and did my best to go through each and every injury I had ever had as a gymnast. And let’s just say that’s a VERY long list.

If you name it, I’ve probably had it. Not to mention the two tears I currently have in my shoulder from spotting. So I’m having surgery in a month to fix that up. Basically all I’m trying to say is I’ve been there. I was pulled out of my level 10 state meet because I found out the week before I was supposed to compete that my back was fractured… for the third time. I missed an entire season because of a tear in my shoulder (completely unrelated to the ones I have now). I competed level 9 Eastern Nationals on a fractured arm (not recommending you do that.)

But injuries are something you have to be able to navigate as a gymnast. You have to learn to take care of your body. You have to learn to be patient and actually listen to your doctor… even though it’s not fun. At all.

I’m writing this to encourage you today. I want you to know that when you’re facing an injury and aren’t allowed to do anything, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to get through it. But there are some things you need to remember as you wait patiently for your injury to heal.


  1. It won’t last forever.

It’s so easy to get caught up in being miserable and bored because you can’t do anything. And because of that, it’s really easy to just ignore your doctor and do what you want. Please don’t do that! In the grand scheme of things, this injury is only a very short part of your gymnastics career. And if you push it too much, you might end up prolonging your injury even further, and I can tell you right now that you DO NOT want that! It’s much better to be patient (I know it’s hard) and listen to your doctor. Give your body the time it needs to heal. It won’t last forever. And you might even heal faster than expected if you do what you’re supposed to do! But it might last longer than you want it to if you jump back in too soon.

  1. You only get one body.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the body you have now is the only one you get in this life! And it has to last! I know it might feel like a good idea to take your boot off your broken ankle so you can test it to see if it’s better yet, but DON’T DO IT! You need that ankle to last until you’re 100 years old! And if you push it now, you’re probably going to live in pain for a big chunk of your life. And it’s just not worth it. I promise you, you do not want to live in pain. And you do not want to have to have surgery because you didn’t take care of your body. I’ve been through both. It’s not fun.

  1. You have time to get stronger!

I know, I know. Conditioning isn’t fun. But in this sport, it’s 100% necessary. Use the time you would usually be spending on skills to keep your strength up, and maybe even gain a little! Your skills will be so much easier when you do get to come back if you keep on strengthening your muscles. If you get lazy and depressed because you “can’t do anything”, you’ll lose a lot of strength and your skills will be that much harder when you’re released to start training again. This time can be so beneficial if you’ll actually use it to your advantage!


Sometimes it’s tempting to lose hope and give up when you’re injured. Especially if it means you miss out on competing for a season. But I promise you’re going to be okay. I remember waking up with back pain every single morning, so much so that bending over to brush my teeth was excruciating. And I was only seventeen! I was so scared that I was going to have to live with that pain for the rest of my life. Now my injury did require surgery, but I remember a few weeks after surgery bending over to brush my teeth and all of a sudden realizing I wasn’t in pain anymore! It was amazing! But I had to be patient. I had to do what my doctor told me I needed to do.

Thankfully, most gymnastics injuries don’t require surgery like mine did, but they ALWAYS require patience. If you do what your doctor tells you to do, if you do your boring physical therapy, if you’re patient throughout the healing process, you’re going to wake up one day and realize that you’re not in pain anymore! Doing your skills will be fun again because they won’t be painful! So choose to be patient. I promise it’s worth it.

Excuses, Excuses

Oh, excuses. Let me be the first to raise my hand and say that I am totally guilty of making excuses. And if we’re really honest, everyone is! Excuses are our cop out of things we don’t want to do. It’s amazing the excuses my brain can come up with sometimes. It’s so easy to come up with a reason why we can’t or won’t do something. Especially as a gymnast! We face so many things as gymnasts – fear, injuries, soreness, exhaustion, etc. The list goes on and on. And those are legitimate things. But, it’s super easy to let those things become excuses.

So what’s the balance? How do we deal with these real issues and not let them become a crutch we use to get out of the things we just honestly don’t want to do?

Here are the three most common excuses I hear as a coach (and made as a gymnast) that I want to confront.


  1. “I’m scared.”

Now, I’ve talked a lot about fear in other posts, but I want to mention it here as well because it’s a big one! And it’s also a silent one. How many times have you avoided a skill because you’re scared? You spend the whole workout pretending like you’re actually working on something, when really all you’re trying to do is avoid that one skill. And you’re hoping and praying that your coach doesn’t notice because you’re “working” on something else.

Did I just touch a nerve? Like I said, this is a BIG one! Unfortunately for the girls that I coach, this doesn’t work very often. Because it wasn’t so long ago that I was in their shoes doing the exact same thing. So I am VERY aware of this little trick. Sorry ladies! But not really. Because this doesn’t do you any good. Instead of talking to your coach about your fear and letting them help you work your way up to that skill, you just stand there. And you do nothing. And that, my friends, will do absolutely nothing to help your gymnastics.

Maybe you’re afraid to do that skill on a high beam. So instead of avoiding it completely, you could talk to your coach about a game plan of how you can work your way up to the high beam. Maybe today you do it on the low beam and by the end of the week you set a goal to do it on the high beam. Most importantly, you don’t just stand there and do nothing. Open your mouth and talk to your coaches! They understand that fear is real! And they want to help you.

  1. “I’m tired.”

Listen, I know that being tired is a reality. And it really does affect your gymnastics. But let’s be real. We’re tired almost everyday. Especially late in the afternoon when it’s time for practice. You probably were up until midnight the night before doing homework (because you got home late from the gym), woke up at 6am for school, spent all day in classes and taking tests, and now you have four hours of gymnastics ahead of you. Um, can I have a nap please?

Just like being scared, this requires communication on your part with your coaches. Don’t just be lazy! If you are really especially tired one day and feel like you can’t focus on anything, talk to your coach. Now, this doesn’t mean you ask if it’s okay to not do your skills at all that day or if you can go home and curl up on the couch. But maybe you ask if you can lower your numbers for the day. Ask if you can do drills instead. Perhaps you ask if you can spend a little more time on conditioning where you don’t have to focus quite as much. Whatever it may be, there’s always something beneficial you can be doing, even if it’s not your usual full out practice. And do whatever you choose to the very best of your ability.

  1. “I’m hurting.”

This one is really important. Please hear me: If you are injured, listen to your doctor. Don’t push through the pain. Let your body heal. But if it’s just convenient to say something is hurting because you just really don’t want to do that particular skill that day, that’s not okay. Use wisdom in determining if you feel injured or if maybe you’re just a little sore from yesterday’s conditioning. It’s important to know when it’s okay to push through the pain and when you actually need to stop.

Always listen to your body and let your coach know if something is hurting. If something new is really bothering you and keeping you from doing your skills fully, you need to let them know. Ask if you can do the things I mentioned above… lower your numbers, do drills, or maybe just do conditioning.

If something is continually hurting and does not get better, GO SEE A DOCTOR! Don’t just keep using that pain as an excuse to get out of doing skills. It’s important that you get it checked out so that you and your coach know what’s going on. It can be dangerous to just keep pushing yourself when you’re really injured because you become more focused on the pain than on the technique of the skill you’re doing.

Speaking as a coach, it’s very difficult to help you as a gymnast if you just continue to hurt without having a professional determine what’s wrong. If there’s an injury there, we want to help you take care of it. We want you to heal! But we can’t do that if we don’t know how to treat it.
You are a smart young woman, so use wisdom! This is your gymnastics. No one can read your mind or feel your pain. Use your words and communicate with your coach! Don’t be afraid to talk to them. You have to take care of YOU. And they care about you and want the best for you. So be honest with them.

If you want to progress and succeed in your gymnastics, it’s time to get rid of excuses. You can do this! I believe in you.

Fighting Negativity

We’re all guilty of having some negativity in our lives. And I really hate how easy it is to fall into this trap. Ever noticed that if you hang out around someone who lives and breathes a negative lifestyle that all too soon you begin to be drawn into that same negativity yourself? Bravo if you haven’t. Because whew, you have a lot of self control. Ever had someone speak something negative about you? At first you might be mad about it, but if it’s said often enough, you then slowly start to believe those words spoken over you. And as you start to believe it, you start to become it. Not because that’s who you are, but because that’s who you believe you are.

Why is it so easy to go down the path of negativity? And why is that path so easy to stay on? First of all, like I said before, the people around you have a MASSIVE impact on you. That’s just the way humans are. We start to become more like the people we’re around. And if those people are negative people, well hello negativity. Second of all, I think being negative is so easy for us because we think that if we believe the worst, then maybe we won’t disappoint ourselves. It’s like a protection mechanism. If my hopes are too high, then I could disappoint myself, my parents, my coaches, etc. But if I set the bar really low for myself, there’s no disappointment.

So how do you escape the negativity that swarms you? What do you do when your teammates start down that path of negativity and it seems so easy to follow suit? What do you do when your coach tells you you’re not good enough, or that you’re never going to be the level you’re working so hard to be able to compete? Or even worse, they tell you they’re disappointed in you?

Let me stop for just a second and say that even as I write these words, it breaks my heart knowing that some of the words I just wrote aren’t just examples of negative words. For many of you, those words are a reality. And they hurt. They sting. They make you feel worthless. And I want you to know that I hurt for you. I’m here to stand with you and fight against those words. I’m here to tell you that no matter what negative words have been spoken over you, YOU ARE LOVED and YOU ARE WORTH IT. People are flawed. They say hurtful things. Their words cut you to the core. And I am so sorry. I am so sorry you had to stand there and take those words in. I am so sorry that you’ve had to endure the pain and heartache that comes from feeling devalued and never enough. My hope and prayer is that as you read this, your heart heals and the wounds from those painful words slowly begin to disappear. Because those words are not who you are. You are so much more than a gymnast. You are a beautiful young woman who has potential beyond her dreams. And I pray that your eyes are opened to the hope and joy that comes from becoming someone who pursues positivity.

  1. Remember who you do this for.

Do you only do gymnastics to please your parents? Do you train hours upon hours just to please your coach? Or do you do gymnastics because YOU love the sport? Do you love the thrill of getting a new skill? Do you love the feeling of conquering a fear? Do you come alive when you compete your favorite event? Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some bad days in the gym! But if you’re doing the sport of gymnastics for anyone but yourself, I would say some reevaluation needs to take place. Let me take a moment to speak to those of you who are in this difficult spot. My prayer for you is that you become bold enough to search your heart for the things YOU are passionate about. Not your parents. Not your coach. YOU. I hope you take up courage to pursue the passions and gifts that are inside of you. And know that it’s okay if it’s not gymnastics. Like I said before, you are so much more than a gymnast. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Now, if you’re someone who really does gymnastics for YOU because you love what it’s all about, awesome! You are in a really great place! Now let’s get back to overcoming that negativity. I was one of those people who LOVED gymnastics. Like I said before, there were most definitely some rough days that made me want to go crawl in a hole, but I really loved gymnastics. But so often in the gym, I remember getting drawn into negative conversations I shouldn’t have been having, getting discouraged because my coach was upset with me, or feeling defeated because my teammates belittled me. And I was too shy to do anything about it. I would go home and cry as my mom hugged me.

I wanted to please my coaches. I wanted them to be proud of me. And when I felt like they weren’t, it devastated me. I know you know the feeling. In those moments, if I had remembered why I did gymnastics and who I was doing it for, I think it would have changed things. I was so concerned with pleasing the people around me, the joy of gymnastics often was lost.

Don’t let that happen to you! Remember why you love this sport! Remember why you got out of bed early on a Saturday morning to go to practice even when you really just wanted to stay in bed. Remember what drives you to do what you do. Stop focusing on pleasing everyone else. Everyone has bad days, even coaches. And sometimes they say things they wish they could take back. Unfortunately, there are some coaches that find their identity in being a coach and therefore project that onto your success as their gymnast. But that’s their problem. Not yours. If you really love this sport, remember that this is YOUR passion and joy. And don’t let negativity start to slowly steal that away from you.

  1. Fight back.

Now, when I say fight back, I don’t mean start a knock down drag out fight with your teammates or coaches when they’re negative. The fight I’m talking about is more mental. Sometimes it takes some bravery. And let me just say, this isn’t an easy one. It takes some trial and error and LOTS of practice. Give yourself some grace as you give this one a try. When your teammates start to go down that road, it’s okay to say, “Hey guys, let’s try to be more positive.” And it’s even okay to walk away if they’re not ready to start this process of positivity themselves. You can still love them and respect them, but you don’t have to be a part of that.

Now, negative coaches are a little trickier. I believe in respecting your authority, no matter what. But respecting them doesn’t always mean agreeing with them. Maybe you didn’t do a skill you needed to do today, and all of a sudden your coach tells you that you’ll never be ready to compete that season. That you’ll never make the changes you need to make to get better. You don’t have to say anything. In fact, it’s probably better not to. But that’s when you have to remind yourself of what’s true. “I CAN do this skill. I WILL make the corrections and changes necessary to get better. Just because I didn’t do it today doesn’t mean I can’t tomorrow. I’ve got this.” Shake it off and move on.

Respect your coach and remember that you are strong. Not just from all that conditioning, but mentally, too. You’re stronger than those negative words. That’s not who you are. You may have made a mistake that day, but that doesn’t define you. Yeah, your coach may have gotten frustrated, but it’ll be okay. If you gave it your all, then that’s all you can do. And if not, maybe apologize and do your best tomorrow. But ultimately, not doing that skill or whatever happened to frustrate your coach does not define you. Remember gymnastics is a part, and maybe a big part, of your life. It’s not your whole life.

  1. Relax.

Relax?! What!? This is gymnastics! Yeah, I know. And it’s something I wish I had learned when I was gymnast way back when. I allowed myself to get worked up over the smallest things (and still do sometimes) to the point I was so emotionally drained that I had nothing left to give. That’s not healthy! And I feel like it’s something we’re so prone to do as gymnasts because we do a sport where the goal is perfection. But what I realized as I got older is that REAL perfection does not exist. Gymnasts will ALWAYS fight for perfection. Which means they’ll always come up short. And yeah, there may be some college gymnasts who get a 10.0, but the majority of us get below that perfect ten.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working to become the best gymnast you can be by making your skills the most perfect they can be. That’s the sport of gymnastics. But when that perfection pursuit begins to destroy the love you have for this sport, that’s when you have to take a step back and relax a little. You have to find balance. Because it’s when that balance is lost that mental chaos ensues and negativity becomes the only voice in your head.

I will say this again: You are not defined by being a gymnast. When you allow yourself to be defined by your success or perfection in gymnastics or by what your teammates or coaches say about you, negativity will be right there to follow. It will always remind you of how you’re not perfect and because of that you’ll never get there and you’ll always struggle with that skill and blah de blah de BLAH. YUCK! Let me just go ahead and tell you… You aren’t perfect. AND THAT’S OKAY. I’m certainly not. Never have been, never will be. And neither will anyone else. You are loved just the way you are. You are beautiful even in your imperfections. And don’t let negativity tell you otherwise.

How To Conquer Your Fear

Fear is a word that causes something to rise up within us. There is never a warm fuzzy feeling that accompanies fear. Fear always has a negative connotation attached to it. And it is something we all face as humans. Fear is an instinct. We even rank our fears, because, for most of us, we don’t have just one. Have you ever been asked the question, “What is your worst fear?”

Typically when most people think of fear, they think of things like heights or spiders or snakes or public speaking. But if you’re a gymnast and the word fear is mentioned, skills start popping up in your head. Am I right?!

Fear is frustrating! Especially when you can’t explain exactly what you’re afraid of. Maybe it’s your acro series on beam. Maybe it’s your release on bars. Maybe it’s a mental block that you just can’t seem to get over on something that seems like it should be so simple. Fear is part of gymnastics. Gymnasts do some scary stuff! But all of us want to overcome our fears. We don’t want to just sit there and do nothing.

First of all, I want you to know that having fears is okay. It’s natural! Fear doesn’t mean you’re weak. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get that skill. It doesn’t mean that you’re stuck. You can overcome.

And you will overcome! I want to teach you the method I used as a gymnast to overcome my fears. And trust me. There were A LOT of them. And sometimes, this method wasn’t a quick fix. Sometimes this method took days. So be patient with yourself. Every step forward is a step toward conquering your fear!

  1. Decide.

Sometimes as gymnasts, we think that one day everything will just magically feel perfect and the fear will be gone. So until that perfect moment, we just wait. THEN when that moment comes, we can do it! WRONG. I hate to burst your bubble, but those moments never come. Unfortunately, fear doesn’t magically disappear. I wish it did. But it doesn’t.

What I can tell you though is that you have control over your fear. Sometimes we think our fear is so much stronger than it actually is and we start to let it control us. And when that happens, the breakdown comes. The tears start flowing. And we cry ourselves into exhaustion.

But there’s a better way! And no, I didn’t say easy, but it is SO much better. You have to decide. There comes a point in our fear that we have to decide which way this is going to go. Is fear going to control us? Or are we going to choose to control it? Once again, making this decision doesn’t make the fear disappear. But what it does do is put you in control of that fear. It’s still there, but it doesn’t get a say anymore. Make the decision before you get on that beam or before you climb up on that bar that you ARE going to do it. No matter what.

  1. Commit.

So now you’re up there. You’re heart is racing. But you’ve already decided that this is the time. This is the turn you’re going to do it.

Now, decisions mean nothing without action. The decision is just a step toward taking action. Once you’ve decided that you’re going to do it before you get up on the event, now it’s time to follow through by committing to the skill.

When you’re standing up on that beam or in front support about to cast up to a handstand on bars (can you tell my biggest fears were on beam and bars??), now is the time to commit. You’re NOT going to do another timer. When your fear says, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING????” in the middle of the skill, your decision and commitment are strong enough to kick in and say, “GO!” But you HAVE to be REALLY committed.

Easy, right? Ha! Not really. But it gets easier! The first time is always the scariest. After you commit once, committing to it the second and third and fourth time gets easier and easier. But you have to decide and commit that first time.

  1. Conquer.

This is my favorite one! Once you go the first time, you’ve conquered!!!! Now, the fear may not be completely gone, and you might have to go through the decision/commit process a few more times, but ultimately you have conquered the worst part of your fear! Your fear isn’t keeping you from going for it anymore! And that’s HUGE!

You are a conqueror! You are so much stronger than your fears. I challenge you to decide and commit to overcoming the fear that’s holding you back. I believe in you!


I want to hear about your challenges and successes! Please feel free to message me with more questions about overcoming fear OR to share a fear you’ve overcome!

Do You Perform For Love?

Let me tell you a little bit of my story…

My mom enrolled me in gymnastics at eighteen months old, and we took “Mommy and Me” classes. From that point on, there was no turning back. Gymnastics was my life. It consumed my every breath. I started homeschooling in the fourth grade so that I could devote more of my life to training.

I also loved Jesus. I received Jesus into my heart at an early age and desired to follow Him and serve Him and glorify Him through the sport of gymnastics. I had dreams to stand on the Olympic podium one day with a gold medal around my neck and give all the glory to Him. But although I loved Jesus with everything, I learned to “earn” love instead of just receiving what had already been given to me.

I was always told to not let gymnastics become my identity, but there were definitely times it did indeed define who I was as a person. I remember thinking at one point, “ I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t a gymnast.” My purpose, in my teenage mind, was being a gymnast for the glory of God. I thought that if I always performed to the best of my ability, the Lord would be proud of me. I never grasped that my real purpose in life was simply to love and be loved.

I don’t think I was ever directly told, “The Lord loves you because you’re an incredible gymnast,” but I don’t think I was ever told, “Hey, even if you didn’t do gymnastics, even if you didn’t do anything, the Lord will still love you just as much.” My life was a performance. If you did well, you got recognized. You won first place. You qualified to Nationals. And if I worked my butt off and made it to the top, all the glory went to God. If I worked my butt off and didn’t make it, I knew the Lord was still proud of me for doing my best for His glory.

Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with that view. You work hard; God gets all the glory. The Bible even says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “…Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” But in “doing everything for the glory of God,” I missed the foundational truth that I wasn’t loved for “doing.” I was loved for simply “being.”

Perfection is the goal of gymnastics. You’re always striving for that unrealistic goal of getting a perfect score. As a gymnast, you eventually come to the conclusion that getting a 10.0 on everything is just not possible. But that doesn’t mean you won’t try your hardest to get as close as possible. Your sport, and your life if you train thirty hours a week like I did, become about striving for perfection. Day in and day out. Over and over and over again. Tears, frustration, and pain are what drive you. And then every once in a while, your hard work pays off. You get that skill. You win that competition. You’re overcome with joy! But then, it starts all over again the next day. A new skill, a new competition, a new goal to strive for. Naturally, you begin to learn that you earn by striving. You receive by doing something. And eventually, that became the story of my life.

Because of the very nature of the sport to which I dedicated my life, I never saw anything wrong with striving for perfection. I even let it bleed over into other aspects of my life and labeled it “excellence.” I remember crying during my schoolwork so many times because I didn’t fully understand the math concept I had just learned three minutes earlier. I gave myself no grace or room to fail. But that was okay because I was “doing everything for the glory of God.”

When your life goal becomes perfection, pride and arrogance begin to take root. You take pride in the things you’ve done or accomplished, and those “things” begin to define you. Then, when you feel as if you’ve failed or done nothing noteworthy, you label yourself as not good enough. You label yourself as a failure. And as this pattern continues, pride takes over. Piece by piece.

I noticed this pattern in my life when I became an adult. Every time I made a mistake, I felt like a mess. I felt unworthy. I felt as if I had some serious cleaning up to do. The perfection I had strived for in gymnastics wasn’t just because I was a gymnast. Perfection had become my goal, my aim in life. And if I didn’t hit the bull’s-eye, then I had failed. I had essentially started “scoring” all the areas of my life. My relationships: 9.3. My dating relationship: 8.7. My job and my work: 9.5. My love for God: 9.2. Showing God that I love Him: 8.5.

I looked at these areas of my life and if they weren’t close to a 10.0, then I could do better. I projected this idea of scoring onto the Lord, and if the Lord thought I could do better, then that meant I wasn’t doing well enough. That meant, in my mind, that I wasn’t good enough. And I started to wonder if I ever would be. I started thinking that I had to do something to improve my scores. What could I do for the Lord so He would raise my scores and see me as “enough” again?

It’s so easy to get caught up in a life of performance. I certainly did. Maybe it was how you were raised. Maybe an A on a test isn’t good enough, and if it isn’t an A+, you get a lecture, or worse. Maybe if you don’t win first place in a sport, you feel worthless. Maybe a parent or coach even told you that you were.

One of the biggest struggles of my life has been trying to understand how God isn’t like that. I was told, “Your Father doesn’t operate like that. He loves you for you. You don’t have to do anything to earn His love. In fact, you can’t earn it. And you don’t have to perform for Him to show Him that you love Him.” It made no sense to me. I had so many questions. “How do I love God then? How does He know that I love Him? Why does He love me? I’m certainly not worth it. Have you seen me? Have you seen the mess I’ve made? Why would He love me?”

The words “I don’t understand” came out of my mouth so many times. Proverbs 3:5 had never been so real: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” “What? Don’t lean on my own understanding? Then how do I understand?!” As confusing as it was, there was a certain peace in knowing that I didn’t have to understand. But there was so much fear attached to that word trust. I had been relying on myself and trusting myself and my knowledge for so long that I didn’t even know where to begin with just trusting. Trusting the Lord, trusting in His character, trusting in His love, trusting the people around me that the Lord had placed in my life.

It seemed so much safer to just trust myself. Fear came crashing in full force. I spent almost a year of my life absolutely terrified. “What if I trust and then end up making the wrong decision? What if I make a mistake and the Lord is disappointed in me?” But that’s what trust is. Trusting by understanding and knowing isn’t trusting. I have to trust that the Lord loves me. No matter what. And it’s not based on doing. It’s based simply on being His daughter. I have to trust that the Lord has strategically placed people in my life to speak the truth over me. If they’re all saying the same thing and I’m stuck over here in my head thinking that I’m right and they’re all wrong, then I’m just being plain prideful.

I’m learning that trusting is an integral part of life. Its not just part of some worship songs. It’s not some nice little phrase we say. It’s peace that we’ve wrapped in fear. It’s so simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy. Trusting isn’t about understanding first. Trust comes first, then the understanding. The Lord is faithful. He’s been faithful to my heart. He will continue to be. And He’ll be faithful to yours too.

Are you like me? Do you let your gymnastics performance bleed over into your performance in life? Do you need to trust Jesus with your gymnastics? Do you need to trust Him with your life? I promise you can. Because He’s trustworthy.

He loves you for YOU. Not for your performance.