Anderson soccer, track star makes the most of every opportunity to share the gospel
By Faith Hyatt, 110forChrist.com contributor
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. – When searching for positive people that represent the Christian community, a very wonderful person came to mind. She walks the halls of Anderson County High School with so much happiness, and just lets her light shine. She never fails to greet people with a smile, and spreads the Word of God any chance she gets.
Olivia Griffin is a student athlete at Anderson County. She plays two sports; soccer, and track. She says that some of her passions include serving the community, raising money for the Backpack Buddies, as well as working at Craft House Pizza, as a waitress. She claims that she is super outgoing and loves to listen to others stories, and interact with other people. She started her own podcast to spread the Word of God called “Liv Outside the Bubble.”
After seeing what kind of a person Olivia is, it’s not hard to see why she’s such a joyful presence to be around.
“I was saved when I was 9, at church camp, so I understood at an early age how important the Gospel is, and the importance of Jesus in my life,” she says.
She began speaking at Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), when she was in sixth grade, and, in her words, has been. “on fire with God” ever since.
As we all know, the coronavirus shut everything down in 2020. Olivia reflects on how that time affected her.
“I was left to deal with every emotion I’d been avoiding such as comparisons, feelings that I wasn’t good enough…these thoughts I was ignoring by being busy.”
Because the lockdown left us with nothing to do but think and be isolated, we each had different ways of coping. She says her way was taking daily walks in her hayfield and was undistracted by her phone. Social media was no longer a worry for her. “I began to find peace with God, and reflect on His goodness. Now, several years later I am still learning how to find ultimate satisfaction and peace with Him who created me.”
Each person has their own way of seeing God, whether it be a place, or song, or person. Olivia says, “Nature was my church when everything shut down. I would go on runs to the creek, just to be reminded that God speaks the most when we go back to the simple things.”
As well as being an amazing person, and student, she also carries out her faith by playing sports. She was named first team all-region in soccer this past year, and has qualified for state meet in the 300-meter hurdles the last two years for track. “Working on that 300m record, we’ll see what happens,” she said.
God gives us an opportunity to spread the Word and demonstrate our faith through sports. Being a part of a team you build relationships and share a lot about who you are with your teammates. You also can learn so much from each other, which is why Olivia is so influential as an athlete, and person. By letting her light shine to the community, we are able to see what an amazing person she is, and we should have more people like her in this world.
“I love connecting with my teammates, we truly become like a family. Through countless hours on the bus, thousands of high fives, and ‘great jobs,’ God has blessed me with such an encouraging and supportive community, from the amazing coaches, to trusted friends who never fail to brighten my day,” she said.
I asked an Andersn County soccer teammate of Olivia’s, Leah Rennels, to share how she has impacted her life, and the team’s environment.“She was always a source of positivity for the team. She made all the younger players, especially, feel comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns about the game or the team’s environment. She was one of our captains and a strong leader on and off the field,” Rennels said.
Olivia is a senior this year and has impacted the lives of not only students, and teammates, but also the staff members at ACHS.
“Olivia is a force of nature that somehow manages to stir people to action and motivate them to make the world better in some way while doing so with incredible grace and poise and a servant’s heart. Olivia encapsulates what it means to be joyful in all circumstances and to love your neighbor as yourself,” says Anderson County teacher Heather Adams, “She holds herself to incredibly high standards both athletically and academically while also ensuring that she remains a positive role model for everyone she encounters. It’s obvious to everyone who knows and loves her that God’s favor surely rests on her and the best thing about her is that she doesn’t keep it all to herself. She shares the redemption of the Gospel with everyone she meets and leaves every place better than it was when she found it. In short, I wanna be Livy G when I grow up!”
Olivia as a senior has had a lot of experience as an athlete who follows Christ, and she leaves us with one great piece of advice we should carry with us through our daily lives. She says to “desire what God desires for you.”
Olivia relates showing tremendous amounts of effort in a sport and proving it indeed does pay off to do so, in the same way that God sees us. “Because in a sport sometimes just showing up and giving your best effort proves your dedication. I think our faith works a lot in the same way. God simply just needs us to show up every day with a willingness to contribute to the Kingdom. In the same way that we lend an assist for the game winning shot, I believe God is right there beside us, cheering us on through every play and inspiring us to give our best effort despite the circumstances,” she says.
One thing is for certain about Olivia, and that is that her positivity shines a light as she walks the halls of the school. Olivia says, “The way I remain so positive is my attitude. Start with an attitude of gratitude; Be mindful of how God has blessed you.”
Because God really has blessed every one of us, and He uses people like Olivia to show us how amazing life can be if we just allow Him to be in our lives.
Olivia says, “God never intended for us to walk this journey alone, and I am forever grateful for the championship winning team I have standing beside me on the field.”