Filmore Bouldes is one of those people whose life makes you want to live fuller, love deeper, and create more. I first ‘met’ Filmore through mutual friends + Instagram. His style, eye for photography, and heart drew me in, and through knowing him, Filmore has challenged me to push myself as a creative, as a believer, and as a friend.
Through getting to know Filmore, it was obvious to me that his life has inspired so many more lives than just mine. His life is a beautiful example of what it looks like to be rooted & flourishing. I asked him to write a little bit about what it means for him to live colourfully, a life rooted, a life that flourishes. I hope it will inspire you, challenge you, awaken you the way it did for me… (click ‘continue reading’ to read Filmore’s post)
“You’re only good as your last game.” This is a phrase that I heard often as a kid growing up playing basketball. For those of you that aren’t familiar with cheesy sports clichés, this stems from a philosophy in the sports world that says your value is based off of your performance. Good player = high value, Bad player = low value. This is the value system of the sports world, and sadly, I know about this far too well.
In grade school, I was known for being a stellar basketball player. I had aunts and uncles that would often say things like, “Filmore, don’t forget about me when you’re in the NBA.” Or “I can’t wait until you make it big.” One aunt even suggested that I learn golf because that’s what all the NBA pros do in their spare time. While I never took her up on that offer, this particular praise and admiration was something I grew accustomed too as a young snaggletooth kid.
However, this wasn’t always the case. As I grew older, all of the people that I use to be significantly better than began to catch up with me. A lot of kids grew taller and I stayed the same height. They were getting stronger, and I hadn’t hit puberty yet (don’t laugh, I’m serious.). The accolades and trophies that I once received regularly were now few and far between and the dreams of being an NBA player seemed out of my reach. Although I was fortunate enough to play in college, it was glaringly obvious that I wasn’t one of the top players on the team. Those days were long gone. Slowly but surely my value began to diminish with my performance.
The realization that I wasn’t good enough was tough for me. Insecurity sprouted, and I lived in a perpetual state of discouragement. I would call home from college, hoping that my mom could help me cope with these feelings – and while she always had encouraging things to say, the dissatisfaction in my soul still lingered.
You see, because every since I could remember my identity was rooted in the game of basketball. Therefore, my significance as a human was contingent upon my performance on the court. The value system of the sports world was how I chose to define my worth. Maybe some of you reading this can relate – for you it might not be a silly game like basketball. But maybe your performance in the classroom, on the job, or in a relationship is how you measure your worth.
Far too often, who we are is rooted in what we do. That’s why in America we always ask questions like “What do you want to do with your life?” or “What do you do for a living?” We lived under the premise that our self worth is intrinsically connected to what we do. This is dangerous. When who we are is rooted in what we do, too much is at stake. Every day we go into work, class, or practice, our worth is dependent upon how well we perform the task at hand. Talk about pressure.
But what if we aren’t here to earn our value? What if our worth in life isn’t rooted in our ability to succeed? What if there was more secure identity to live from?
About three years ago I began embarking on a journey that answered these questions for me, which eventually led me to get a tattoo that says “beloved” on the inside of my arm. It was inspired by a quote from a guy named Brennan Manning. He once said, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
Now I don’t know what you believe about Jesus, the bible of Christianity – But this is what I do know – Often, we think we are the ones that determine our worth. We look to our talents, our relationships, and our careers to give us that worth and we strive to show the world that we matter by proving ourselves worthwhile. But these efforts our flawed because they all look to the individual to provide self worth. This is exhausting and a burden we were never intended to bear.
When I began to discover that my true self was one beloved by God, and not Filmore the basketball player, I realized that my worth isn’t achieved it’s received. My Father’s love for me is where my worth is derived and He will never change his about me. My identity was now rooted in a source far more trustworthy than my own performance. My significance didn’t come form what I did, but who I was to God – His beloved. The affirmation and approval that I sought in sports was freely given in the embrace of God’s love. This is freedom.
The freedom we were indented to live in arises when our identity is settled. Ultimately, this is a soul that knows and trusts that it is love and valued without condition. This is one that is free to pursue their dreams with everything because they will never be crippled by the fear of failure. This is a soul that will flourish the way it was intended to. This is someone rooted in his or her identity as one beloved by God – the true self.
Regardless of what you believe about God, the question of identity is one every human must answer. My hope that you will discover that there is already One that has answered that question for you.”