Christian athlete and Marine aviator are two things first lieutenant Aaron Zimmerman wanted to be known for. Aaron comes from a family that absolutely loves lacrosse, and he says, “if my family had its own crest, it would include a lacrosse stick.”
Aaron’s story is one that deals not only with the struggles of how we want to define ourselves, but also how God is continually working in our lives, chipping away at the rough edges, molding us, shaping us, and ultimately crushing our idols of identity.
For Aaron, that meant going from high school All American in lacrosse, to playing from the bench as a backup at the Naval Academy. Then as a Marine, a medical diagnosis would ground his aspirations of being a Marine aviator.
As you listen to his story, here a few questions to ponder:
- Aaron says his lacrosse dreams slipped into an obsession that had “too much power and became an idol.” Is there an activity, aspiration, or relationship that has crossed into something you idolize?
- He acknowledges “not allowing people to speak into my life as would have been beneficial.” Do you allow trusted loved ones or those in a good Christian community to speak into your life? If not, why?
- Aaron initially asked God, “If I wasn’t making flight school and my Marine Corps career an idol like I had lacrosse, then why did you take it away from me?” How does a right relationship with Christ help counter feelings of disappointment or loss?
- Once officers and enlisted leave the military, there can be a struggle over a lost sense of identity. As a leader, how would you encourage those you lead to not make their military service their identity?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.