Shawn Johnson gave a touching narrative of her encounter with God when she was practicing for 2012 Olympics, after which she decided to quit from the games on June 3rd the same year.
Testifying in a film by I Am Second, a multimedia movement which inspires people to put Jesus Christ first, she shared disappointments in her life from missing targets and not being able to achieve perfection in the eyes of the world.
She said her heart sank when she realized she would not be able to match up to the score attained by her American teammate Nastia Liukin in 2008 Olympics, and would only get a silver medal.
"I remember being given the silver medal on the podium," Johnson recounted. "The person who did it, he gave me a hug and said, 'I'm sorry.' It was kind of like a validation in my heart that I had failed. I felt like I had failed the world. I felt like since the world saw me as nothing else, that if I failed at being a gymnast, I had failed at being a human being."
Though she won one gold medal, Johnson said that at the time, all of the compliments she received from people did not equal the loss she thought she suffered by only taking in one gold medal, when the world had expected her to win all the four.
Then, when Johnson became the youngest 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant, she was subjected to more acclaim and critique for how she looked and what she wore.
Her inner life took a downward spin and she became depressed. Later, as Johnson was preparing for the Olympics in 2012, she found herself back in the same routine as in 2008. She was working hard to please her sponsors and the world.
"I was giving my heart and soul and getting to a place that I was not proud of, all for that gold medal again that I distinctly remember in 2008 not being the greatest thing in the world. I think it's just kind of that validation that there's always more," she continued.
Then one day as Johnson was standing on a balance beam for practice, she felt that God spoke to her, telling her not to worry about the things that were pressing her and to leave all that behind.
"It's one of those moments that's really hard to explain and really hard for a lot of people to understand. But in that one moment, I felt like God was telling me, 'You've been so distraught over this decision. You've been afraid of disappointing a lot of people and not being yourself, but it's OK to follow your heart and to put it behind you.'"
"In that instant, I felt the entire world was just lifted off my shoulders."
Shortly afterwards, she quit from the Olympics and put her hope in the Lord who she says is more than enough for her.
"God is the answer to everything, and Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross so that when I sit up there and I was given that gold medal, yes it is a monumental and an amazing experience and wonderful thing, but it's not the end-all be-all. Yes, I can work my whole life to become a CEO of a company or to make a certain amount of money or to win 12 more Olympic gold medals, but it's not the purpose in life. He will always be my greatest Reward and my proudest Reward," she concluded.