“With this book, Tim encourages readers to keep moving and stay strong while battling life’s obstacles.”—Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers
Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.
In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny.
Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted him in life-changing ways.
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About the Author
A.J. Gregory is known for more than thirty-five book collaborations, some New York Times bestsellers, with fascinating high-profile figures from celebrities to scientists. She is also the author of two books, Messy Faith and Silent Savior, which chronicle finding faith in the middle of unavoidable and sometimes harsh realities. A.J., her husband, and three kids call New Jersey home.
Read an Excerpt
I’m grateful for the life experiences I’ve had—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs. As I’ve done things a little bit dif- ferently, the world has tried to force me onto a roller coaster of identities, defining me by my circumstances and not who I really am.
Was my identity found in the highs when I won the Heisman and later when the Denver Broncos were making a play-off run? No. Was my identity found when, a year later, I was cut? No.
One day, according to the world, I’m on top of my game, adored, praised, and respected. And the next, I’m at the bottom of the heap, cut, criticized, and torn down. You know what I’ve learned in the process? How important it is not to allow either the highs or the lows in life to determine who you are.
It’s tempting to define ourselves or to measure our worth by the external—by how much money we have, by how we look, by the applause of others. The list is long. Think about this. Who are you when everything is going great—when the money is in the bank, when your home life is peaceful, when your future seems certain? And who are you when your world is shaken—when your bank account is overdrawn, when your relationship is on the fritz, when you haven’t a clue what tomorrow holds? Sometimes it takes a challenging time to really find out.
While many know about my career highs, few know the details about the lows. Like having to learn that God’s plans are better and bigger than mine, feeling torn about the future, and working through my dreams being shattered after getting cut from three NFL teams. I admit, writing this book hasn’t been easy. It was tough to relive some painful moments. But I’ll say that in those places of doubt and even of darkness, I’ve realized that who I am has nothing to do with wins or losses, applause, or negative criticism. It has to do with whose I am. Knowing this, I can live out what the king of ancient Israel wrote in Psalm 16:8:
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
While in this book I share parts of my personal life and football journey in the NFL, this is not a memoir. It’s about the truth I’ve discovered along the way. And, it’s also about some amazing people I’ve been inspired by in life as well as through our foundation’s W15H (pronounced “wish”) outreach pro- gram. Though our mission is to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need, they have, without fail, given those very things to me. While I wish I could tell you about every single child and family I’ve met who has inspired me, I’m excited to be able to share a few stories with you.
Here’s what you can expect to find in this book. The first seven chapters will reveal some of the lows I’ve experienced, glimpses into my life and parts of myself that I’ve never shared publicly. They’ll also uncover the lessons I’ve learned through that time, like what it means to stay grounded in the face of doubt, fear, and criticism; why others matter; and how our objective in life is not to be like everyone else.
The final three chapters move in an outward trajectory, focusing on how we can impact others in our journey of faith and purpose. When we are grounded in whose we are, not only can we handle the storms that come, but we can also begin to move forward in a more purposeful direction. We can begin to live in a new way. We can impact others even when our circum- stances look bleak. We can use our stories to help others in their own.
Look, I’m not perfect. I’m on a faith journey just like you are. I have good days. I have bad days. Sometimes I get it right. Other days I struggle. I know that when I’m settled in my identity, I live at my best.
While this book doesn’t offer cookie-cutter answers or a concrete plan about what to do when you stand on shaky ground, my prayer is that it strengthens your faith, gives you hope, and shines light on your dark places. My prayer is that after reading this book, you can walk away inspired, armed with courage, ready to tackle life, and make a difference.
Table of Contents
1 Cut 7
2 Who Am I? 25
3 Facing the Giants 45
4 The Voices of Negativity 65
5 God's Got It 83
6 The Others 105
7 Who Said Normal Is the Goal? 123
8 Stand Up 143
9 The Power of Doing Something 163
10 What Matters Most 185
Q&A with Tim Tebow
Q1: What does your book's title Shaken mean to you? Why did you choose it?
The reason I titled it Shaken was because in life you're going to have highs and lows. There are going to be great times, and there are going be tough times. So, who was I when I won the Heisman Trophy versus when I got cut three times, well, maybe four times in the NFL? Was I the person that was praised by presidents or the person that was debated and scrutinized by most of the media? So, who was I? Am I that person who I was at the high or am I that person who had all those lows?
I'm so thankful because of my relationship with Jesus Christ and being adopted in the family of God that I don't have to live the highs and the lows and the roller coaster that the rest of the world lives because I know where my identity lies. My identity lies as a child of God, and that is something that will never be shaken.
Q2: Why did you decide now was the right time to share some of these personal experiences?
It's something that God put on my heart. I've been traveling for the last three or four years speaking all over and being able to see so many people in today's society that are searching for a firm foundation. They're searching for identity, and I feel like this book is about identity, about not being shaken. To have a firm foundation as a child of God is something that so many people are longing for and wanting because they're searching for something more. There's got to be more out there. What is it? Well, I can tell you what it is. It's a relationship with the God of this universe, who loves you so much. That's what is it. That's what you're searching for. That's what you're longing for, and that's what you need.
Q3: You've had to deal with issues of self-identity, such as fear, doubt and criticism on a much bigger scale than most of us. What is the biggest lesson you've learned?
I'm a people pleaser by nature, and I want to make everybody happy. But at the same time, it's not fulfilling to make everybody happy. What is fulfilling is to stand for something that's right. Now that doesn't mean you're going to be perfect. We're going to fall and we're going to mess up every day, but we can at least try to stand for something. When you stand for something, then you won't fall for everything else around you. For me, my goal is to be able to impact as many people as possible for something good, for something right, to be able to leave a legacy of something bigger than myselfnot for winning games, not for scoring touchdowns, but that Jesus Christ has changed my life. You can love God, and you can love people. There is more to this world than money, fame and power. You can have an impact, no matter who you are, no matter what platform. No matter how big or small of a role model, there is someone watching you. There's a life that you can change. There's a life that you can impact.
For me, it's to be able to see that every life matters. Every life mattersno matter where, no matter how big, no matter how small. I've been able to see that in so many of the trips that we've taken around the world. That has been something that has been so eye-opening to me. I share that concept with everyone I come in contact with, so that we can unite around people. We can unite around one nation under God here, and we can unite that everybody matters. I think in this day and age right now, it's important. People need to be able to see something bigger than themselves.
Q4: How do the things you've learned about identity differ from what our culture teaches?
Wow, I think our culture right now is a culture that is trying to find itself. They are trying to figure out what is it? Is it social media followers? Is it trying to be popular? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it power? They are searching for identity and so many of us have been there, and we'll get back to that place of what is our identity? Who are we? More importantly, whose are we? For me, I find my identity in a relationship with Christ.
I've also seen that in so many of my role models. So many people that have gone before me that I've been able to see, wow, I want what he has. I want what she has. I've seen what they have and wow, they have peace no matter where they're at. They have assurance no matter what they're going through. It was fun in this book to be able to highlight role models of mine that have been able to find a firm foundation in whose they are no matter what life throws at them.
Q5: What does it mean to you to stay grounded?
I think staying grounded is one of the hardest things we will ever do in our lives. How do you stay grounded?
It's always back and forth. To be able to stay grounded, we need to live with open hands that everything that we have has been given to us by the Creator of this universe. He can take it, and He can give it back to us. He can take some things, and He can give us new things. When a door closes, a new one is going to open.
Where we start to lose it is when we start to grasp onto what we think is ours. No, this is mine. No, that is my career. That's my money. That's my platform. But really, no, it's Yours, God. It's not mine. You might lend it to me for a little while. You might let me hold onto it. You might let me use it for a little bit, but that's not mine; it's Yours. Thank You for letting me use that for a little while. I think that's what staying grounded means.
Q6: In what ways have you found reaching out to others as an important part of the process of getting and staying grounded?
Ah, I think it's huge. I think that's what the church really is. It's not a building. It's not the logos out front. It's not the denominations that we're part of. No, it's the people that we get to do life with. It's the people that have courageous conversations with us. It's the people that love us. It's the people that invest in us. It's the people we get to do life with. And we also get to share with them. It's being able to have those people in our lives who we're able to inspire and they're able to inspire us. When we're down, they pick us up. When they're down, we pick them up. Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Q7: How important is serving others to your identity?
Well, I feel like the closest that we get to fulfilling our calling is making a difference in other people's lives. I feel like it's different for everybody. Our purpose and our calling are different. We're all called to do different things. But some way, somehow, it has to be impacting other people. If not, what are you doing? How does it have an impact? How does it have an eternal impact? It has to be investing in other people, somehow making a difference in their lives. When we do that, I really believe that we will fulfill why we're here and what we're supposed to do.